Eagle Books and the method of a message

The Challenge 

Native American youth develop diabetes at much higher rates than other children.

The Native Diabetes Wellness Program (NDWP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to support community efforts to promote health and prevent type 2 diabetes.

Westat conducted extensive formative research to determine the best ways to deliver effective diabetes prevention messages. Many experts recommended reaching out to children and parents through stories.

Our Solutions 

  • Westat worked with NDWP, the federal Indian Health Service, and tribal representatives to develop Eagle Books, stories about the joy of participating in physical activity, eating healthy foods, and learning from elders about traditional ways of being healthy—all activities that can help reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • We created a series of picture books for children in kindergarten through 4th grade and chapter books and graphic novels for older kids.
  • We worked with a Native American author and artists on the 4-book series for younger children: Through the Eyes of the Eagle, Knees Lifted High, Plate Full of Color, and Tricky Treats.
  • We collaborated with a Native American illustrator and community consultants on 2 illustrated chapter books, Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream and Hummingbird’s Squash. We also help create 4 action-packed graphic novels that feature the original Eagle Books characters as middle school students.
  • In addition to the books, we developed
    • Educational and promotional items to go with the series, including a curriculum guide, songs, action figures, trading cards featuring Native American science and engineering inventions and discoveries, food and activity trackers, posters, puppets, and stickers
    • Display panels with Eagle Books illustrations for use at exhibits and special activities, such as community storytelling events
    • Promotional videos on the history of Eagle Books
    • A video on how communities can use Eagle Books’ products in health campaigns
  • We also assessed the responses of our audience (children, parents, schools, and providers) to the Eagle Books in selected communities that have used the books in schools, clinics, and other settings.

The Results 

  • About 3 million individual Eagle Books have been distributed to schools, parents, and health programs serving children ages 4 to 9 years old.
  • NDWP has used the materials we developed to support communication and outreach efforts in Native American  communities in Keweenaw Bay, Michigan; Pendleton, Oregon; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Winnebago, Nebraska.
  • More than 10,000 people have seen the books or related materials at tribal museums, local colleges, and national conferences; on CDC TV programming; or at talking circles, pow wows, health fairs and exhibits, and community storytelling activities.

Eagle Books product have received several awards.
The picture books won:

  • 2004 Printing Innovation with Xerox Imaging Awards – Silver PIXIE
  • 2005 National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) Blue Pencil First Place Award – Soft Cover Book Category

The Flying with the Eagle video won:

  • 2012 Telly Award – Bronze Health and Wellness
  • 2013 Videographer – Award of Excellence Video Production


Our Client 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)