Warm Springs resident and now children’s author Theo Perez recently released a book called “Celeste Goes to Warm Springs.” The book not only highlights real landmarks on the reservation, it’s also meant to provide positive representation.
“Me and the kids would go travel around and we’d take pictures of the community. And I’d be like, ‘You know what? I should try drawing these,’” Perez said. “And so we did. We went through all the schools, all their favorite places to go, places we thought would be important.”
Perez says he’s been drawing for as long as he can remember.
Once he became a dad, Perez and his son’s grandmother, Atwai Celeste Brunoe, read his kids bedtime stories. Perez and Celeste would joke about making their own book on Warm Springs.
After Celeste passed away, Perez decided to turn that dream into reality.
“So that way she could continue being part of these kids’ bedtime, you know,” Perez said. “So when we do our bedtime stories, she’s still there with them.”
“Celeste Goes to Warm Springs” is an interactive story based on the reservation. Celeste and her cousins follow Papa Theo around town, visiting real places like the school, the longhouse, Early Childhood Education and more.
“I’ve had many push and pull ideas,” he said. “I never really knew what to pull in and go through with. And this is something sentimental for me.”
Important places were just one focus and message Perez wanted to relay. He said he tried to put extra emphasis on positive representation.
“From those on the outside looking in, I really want them to kind of be able to see Warm Springs in a new light, in a positive light and be able to look at that and be like, ‘Wow, that’s really cool,’” Perez said “Or, ‘Hey, I want to go check that out. Maybe we should go down there.’”
Perez says he just met with the Barnes and Noble in Bend and it will be carrying “Celeste Goes to Warm Springs” very soon.
His plan is to have all proceeds from the book go back into the non-profit of his kids’ choosing.