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Waa’aka’: The Bird Who Fell in Love with the Sun

By Cindi M. Alvitre , Carly Lake


“Waa’aka’ was born when the earth was soft and the waters were new. It was the beginning of time.” So begins Cindi Alvitre’s vivid and multifaceted telling of a traditional Tongva creation story from Southern California. Waa’aka’ follows the title character, a beautiful bird who falls in love with Tamet, the sun, and tries to follow him up to the sky. Accompanied by richly colorful illustrations from Carly Lake, the book touches deftly on themes like the unintended consequences of greed and the importance of working together. A rendition of one of California’s oldest tales, Waa’aka’ is a beautiful children’s book in the classic style.


About the Author

Cindi Alvitre is a mother and grandmother, and she has been an educator and artist-activist for over three decades. She is a descendant of the original inhabitants of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. In 1985, she and Lorene Sisquoc cofounded Mother Earth Clan, a collective of Indian women who created a model for cultural and environmental education. In the late 1980s she cofounded Ti'at Society, sharing in the renewal of ancient maritime practices of the coastal and island Tongva. She currently teaches American Indian Studies at California State University, Long Beach.

Carly Lake is an artist, illustrator, and art educator. Her illustrations have been published in magazines, storyboards, comics, and the chapter book Candice Can Go. She lives and makes art near the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles, CA. She invites you to explore more of her work at

Available for pick-up at Waa’aka’: A Storytelling and Art Experience on Sunday, August 8, or during the Rancho’s open hours Wed thru Sun, 1 to 5 pm.


Waa’aka’: The Bird Who Fell in Love with the Sun

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