(Available June 2022)
About the Book: January 1, 1923 – Rosewood Florida, a thriving African-American community in the Jim Crow South, was torched to oblivion by the infamous spark of one white woman’s lie. Six innocent victims and untold gallons of blood and tears were left in the wake of the weeklong racist rampage that followed. Terrorized families were left homeless and on the run. Exactly one hundred years later, another spark has begun to burn: Hope. Here in the still wild heart of remote northwest Florida, race and ecology intersect in the small Gulf coast town of Cedar Key, where the past, present, and future of our relationships with each other and the planet converge. With hundreds of souls still without a resting place in both Rosewood and Cedar Key, the first victim of the Rosewood massacre, Sam Carter, is determined to find a way Home with help from the Native ancestors. Meanwhile, three descendants--Sam’s great-grandson, the great-great-granddaughter of Seminole Indian matriarch Polly Emateloye Parker, and the son of the leader of a local Ku Klux Klan group--form an unlikely alliance as they learn to open their hearts and minds to increasing signals from ghosts of the past. By heeding nature, spirit, and their own sense of instinctive connection, they all work together to begin to change the patterns of history.
About the Author:
Shana Smith was born in Hilo, Hawaii and moved to Gainesville, Florida with her parents and sister as a teenager. She attended the University of Florida and Eckerd College, receiving a Master's degree and Ph.D. candidacy in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida. She has lived for most of her adult life between her "two hometowns" of St. Petersburg and Gainesville, Florida. For the past twenty-five years, she has been known to many across the state of Florida and the U.S. as the children’s musical persona “Shana Banana” (www.ShanaBanana.com), winning national awards from Parent's Choice, iParenting, NAPPA, and Just Plain Folks, and receiving two first-round Grammy nominations.Shana and her husband Dan, daughter Grace Ohana, and son Benjamin Albert have settled in Gainesville, where they run their meditation- and yoga-based Gainesville Retreat Center (www.GainesvilleRetreatCenter.com). The Center offers a place for retreats and the opportunity to enjoy the peace of nature. It attracts many renowned teachers and practitioners and is the home of Florida Sanbo Zen. Shana is an avid and longtime practitioner of Zen, and is an assistant teacher for Florida Sanbo Zen.Shana's first book, "Meditation for Moms and Dads: 108 Tips for Mindful Parents and Caregivers," was the result of navigating Zen practice while raising her two children. "Islands of Cedars" is her first novel, directly inspired by her love of wild Florida and her wish to celebrate its best qualities while mindfully bringing awareness to current environmental threats, racial inequity, and a need for balanced history. She currently working on her next historical fiction novel, based in Micanopy, Florida.
"This novel is a story of this complicatedly entangled country and community called 'America' --- with its natural beauty and its stark humanity, its lights and shadows, the violence and agony both hidden and exposed, but also the grace, the consolations, and hopes for redemption." --Ruben L.F. Habito, Zen Master/Author, Dallas, TX
“Author Shana Smith has caught time in a bottle with Islands of Cedars, her lyrical, penetrating portrait of a small Gulf Coast community. The book is a wondrous hybrid: part social novel, part fantasy, part biology lesson and part eloquent plea for racial and environmental justice. Living in harmony with Nature but not always themselves, the characters pulse with life and we come to care greatly about what happens to them. A beautiful, loving, life-affirming read.” ~ Burt Kempner, author of The Five Fierce Tigers of Rosa Martinez and the School of Animal Magic series.
Based on my work in peace, conflict resolution, social/restorative justice, and the interconnectedness of all of life, I am so grateful to Shana Smith for writing this amazing story that must be told! --Heart Phoenix, President of River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding
An astutely written historical and scientific story full of modern day relevance, set in a picturesque small Florida Gulf coastal community dependent on clean water, hard work and a healthy estuary. And yet, it is still working to resolve a dark cloud of pain and despair stemming from racial injustice. Shana, What you are writing about needs to be told more often and with great care, and you have done just that. --Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson, Florida Springs Clean Water Advocate
About the Book: Meditation has long been the domain of the child-free seeker. Time and again, fellow parents lament about their lack of time to do even basic self-care, never mind meditation. This sense of lack feeds into the concept that a sincere, regular meditation practice and parenthood cannot co-exist.
Meditation Practice for Moms and Dads: 108 Tips for Parents and Caregivers is not another “how to meditate” book. It's for the parent/caregiver who has resources for "how-to" or has already experienced the benefits of meditation, but cannot seem to maintain a regular practice due to the chronic demands of care giving and householding. This book is the cheerleader for meditating parents and caregivers. It boldly claims that a thriving meditation practice is not only possible, but an absolute must for the parent/householder. It isn't an empty claim. The author, Shana Smith, is doing it. Her journey is profound, funny, and fabulous.
This book was born over two years of careful observation and recording about her own experiences merging the worlds of meditation and family life into a synergistic practice that is, in actuality, for all. The entertaining combination of tips, real-parent stories, and poetry demonstrates that parents can squelch the mindset of "I can't" to "I will," to celebrate the opportunity to embrace parenthood and worldly life itself as a vital spiritual practice rather than an impediment to one.
"This book is a must-have not only for parents and caregivers seeking a more mindful and meaningful foundation for their busy lives, but for those who know in their hearts that a meditation practice is very important in today's world." -Venerable Dhammajiva
“Fantastic! Shana offers a wealth of creative ideas, attitude adjustments, liberating insights and all the energy to try [them] on… This book isn’t about getting away from the hectic, hubbub of parental and domestic responsibilities, but rather how to stay in (inside, in-touch, informed, interested, insightful) and view it all as spiritual practicum!” - Steve Armstrong, Founding Director/Guiding Teacher of Vipassana Metta Foundation
“‘Meditation Practice for Moms and Dads’ offers a voice to the heart of Zen practice from the heart of a mother. Read along; laugh along; cry along; sing along, dance along.” -Ken Kessel, Ji Do Poep Sa Nim, Zen Teacher in the Kwan Um School of Zen
“Meditation for Moms and Dads is a delightful book to read, overflowing with profound wisdom and timely tips for those of us seeking a source of true peace, joy and compassion in the midst of our hectic lives. Shana Smith, a longtime Zen practitioner, mom and meditator, musician and marine biologist, and much more, offers vivid anecdotes and eye-opening examples of living Zen in the context of her own family life, replete with penetrating insights and a touch of humor to boot… A truly masterful work worth reading again and again.” -Ruben L.F. Habito, Guiding Teacher at Maria Kannon Zen Center; Author of Healing Breath: Zen for Christians and Buddhists in a Wounded World.
“I had been an engaged Zen practitioner for ten years when our sons Florian and Benjamin were born fifteen months apart, throwing my quiet morning meditation practice and regular seven day retreat attendance completely overboard. At that time, I would have much profited from the wisdom, compassion, humor and sheer delight of Shana’s book that I heartily recommend to new and not so new parents alike!”-Maria Reis Habito, Sanbo Zen Teacher and International Program Director, Museum of World Religions
Press Releases and News:
Primary Point, Vol.32, No. 3, Winter 2016
Article on page 22
Reader's Favorite: Book Review 4/25/2016
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Meditation for Moms and Dads: 108 Tips for Mindful Parents and Caregivers by Shana Smith is a useful guide that gives 108 tips to parents and caregivers about how useful meditation is for everyone, and shows how one can see attachment giving way to freedom, fear dissolving into freedom, and the shifts it can bring. Meditation is essential for cultivating mindfulness and comes in many forms. The book reiterates the fact that practicing meditation daily will bring infinite love and helps everyone connect with the present moment, creating peace and joy in their families. Meditation is a way of disciplining the posture, breathing, and stilling the mind. This book has a lot of answers to questions like What is meditation?, What is a meditation practice?, and How to start meditation?
I found the book extremely useful to all those who want to know more about meditation and want to start practicing meditation. The book gives tips and techniques about the wonderful combination of breathing, rhythm, sensation, and focus. It's very challenging for everyone to practice meditation regularly in this ever-changing, busy world, but the author has ideas for that too. The black and white sketches give the book a light tone and help kids connect well with the contents. The real parent stories, funny sketches, and tips makes the concept palpable and tangible to all readers. The book is a good guide and inspiration for all those who want to practice meditation in the context of family life.
Holistic Parenting Magazine Blog 5/19/2016
If you’re new to mindfulness and meditation, this short and sweet book is a great place to start! Smith understands and works with–rather than resisting–the reality of life with children, a parent’s real need to fill their cup so they can continue to serve the family as “Householder” and all the challenges–often perceived as obstacles–that modern families face. Her grace and humor throughout the book entice the reader to start somewhere, and now. I appreciated each and every one of the 108 tips, and loved that the book ends with poems. If you’re looking for guidance to incorporate meditation into a hectic family life, look no further!