Quest for the Crystal Castle by Dan Millman

book coverYou’ve just finished an inspiring book and you think to yourself, wow — what I wouldn’t give to have known these ideas when I was a kid. This sometimes happens if you come to neopaganism or any of the other spiritual paths far from the mainstream later in your adult life. Dan Millman gives the next generation of spiritual seekers the chance to get acquainted with new ways of thinking in Quest for the Crystal Castle, his second children’s book based on the spiritual classic The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.

In this sequel to Secret of the Peaceful Warrior, protagonist Danny Morgan begins his Saturday fearful that it’s going to be “one of those days” where nothing goes right and nothing interesting happens. His adventure begins soon enough as he seeks out the grandfather of his good friend Joy, a mysterious man named Socrates, or Soc.  Fans of Way of the Peaceful Warrior will remember that when Socrates is around, adventure comes unexpectedly.

Danny finds himself in a mysterious land where a beautiful glowing castle beckons. He chooses to embark alone on a perilous journey through a forest that seems fraught with puzzles that he finds himself drawn to solve. Along the way he helps new and old friends and learns about his own inner fortitude.

Crystal Castle has intriguing images and descriptions for those as young as 4 years. The bigger picture of appreciating the journey, not the destination, may be lost on those that young, but there are good lessons in kindness and courage appropriate for that age. The language is rich enough to appeal to middle school kids, too. Each page is illustrated lavishly and realistically, enhancing the idea that Danny’s adventure, too, is realistic and believable.

While listening to the lessons that are told are hardly all that is required in order to suddenly achieve the change that can happen in one’s own outlook, the book poses an argument against itself. Before Danny’s journey, Soc points out the endeavors of some ants and how it would irreparably cripple them to assist their work in moving crumbs of food closer to their mound. Would this observation also hold true for introducing spiritual insights to inexperienced young people, depriving them of the “ah-ha” moments that often come well into maturity?

Nevertheless, Quest for the Crystal Castle is a beautifully written and illustrated story that can be enjoyed again and again by every member of the family. Like its predecessor for adults, Crystal Castle has the potential to change young lives.

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