Welcome readers, youth eco-activists, nature explorers, dancers, and budding totem mages to the Totem Magic website!

I was inspired to write Totem Magic: Going MAD for kids ten and up for a few different reasons. The first one that comes to mind is that I am very concerned for the state of our natural world and especially the endangered species we share it with. Totem Magic: Going MAD weaves a fast-paced and fun story around the grim phenomena of climate change, habitat destruction, and endangered species by edu-taining you with real and imaginary environmental solutions and attitudes in a fictional world where endangered species have their own magical protectors (totem mages).

I also wrote this book after noticing that many of the youth I work with aren’t connected to nature in a way that promotes compassion and stewardship. This “disconnected from nature” phenomenon was given a name by a sharp observer named Richard Louv. He called it nature deficient disorder (NDD). NDD is a modern affliction caused by the indoor childhood epidemic. In other words, kids are spending more time than ever indoors—in front of electronic screens—and less time outdoors exploring and playing in nature. The more I work with the victims of an indoor childhood, the more I want to inspire them to make discoveries in nature and enjoy free-play outdoors in a way similar to my own fun and adventurous childhood. So I decided to mitigate NDD by engaging youth out in nature through my work with the California Conservation Corps and by doing some creative storytelling.

Another reason I wrote Totem Magic: Going MAD was because it became obvious to me that the “wildlife conservation community” is not nearly as ethnically diverse as the neighborhood I grew up in–and the world around us. ALL people should have access to and be engaged with nature! ALL people should be guardians of the wild! It will take EVERYONE to save our planet from the catastrophic species extinction event that we are currently experiencing. The characters in Totem Magic: Going MAD look a lot like the diverse group of youth that I work with in the CCC. That’s what makes Totem Magic: Going MAD a multicultural eco-fantasy: the character makeup looks like ALL of us. ALL types of people in my story are fighting to save ALL of nature. But…unlike us, all my characters are using pretty bizarre magic to do it.

I am donating the profits from my book to groups that help the youth in their communities get access to organic food and playtime outdoors, to wildlife care centers, and groups that promote ethnic/racial diversity within the conservation movement. It makes me very happy to do this, and these dedicated groups need lots of donations to keep doing their great work! During the first six months, I split all the profits from sales of my book three ways among: the California Conservation Corps Foundation (www.cccfoundation.net), the Hawaii Wildlife Center (hawaiiwildlifecenter.org), and The Save Lucy the Bat Campaign (savelucythebat.org). Please check out these three wonderful organizations so you can see how the profits from Totem Magic: Going MAD are being used to help make the world a better place!

Here’s a video that I’d like for you to help me distribute: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaxcXCbt0Rw It’s my novel’s promotional video. It’s also a dance video. Please share on your favorite social media platform and “like” it on YouTube.  The more books that I sell, the more money I am able to donate to wildlife care centers and groups that promote ALL types of kids to get outdoors. I will talk more about how I donate all my sales profits in a minute. First more about the book.

Help me continue to donate big to groups who are working toward helping wildlife and our youth by purchasing a book today and spreading the word about Totem Magic: Going MAD. In January 2014, I will pick three new organizations to donate my profits to for the following six months. Suggestions are welcome if you know of an awesome organization that is doing this type of work. Keep in mind that whatever group you suggest must be a non-profit and fulfill at least one of the following criteria:

  • They rescue and care for wildlife (wildlife centers) or…
  • Promote ethnic/racial diversity within the conservation movement or…
  • Educate youth about endangered species and how to save them or…
  • Create access and opportunities for kids to go outside and explore nature (especially urban kids).

My hope is that by reading about magical protectors of endangered species (totem mages), kids will want to go outside to explore nature and become guardians of the wild. The more copies of my book I can sell, the larger the donations I can make to wonderful groups who show compassion for nature. So, please, help me get the word out there about Totem Magic: Going MAD! I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of Vulchy and Connie, and that you become inspired to learn about their totem animals: the turkey vulture and mountain lion. And who knows, maybe after reading it you will realize that you are a totem mage, too! If so, what is your totem animal?

And… yes, that was me (the big nature dude) dancing on the California Conservation Corps’ viral video. Leonard Patton, Antwon McCoy and I danced many times together after that video was recorded. I think dancing is a great way to connect to one another. You should try it if you haven’t already!!!And you can watch that video again or one of my many other videos featuring corps members on my youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/TotemMagicGoingMAD?feature=mhee

Check out my blog by clicking on the blog tag up top and visit my book’s Facebook page:  facebook.com/TotemMagicGoingMAD

Totem Magic: Going MAD is available in many forms!

You can order it at ANY bookstore by name or ISBN number: 9781604946819.

In print from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Totem-Magic-Going-John-Griffith/dp/1604946814/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336840123&sr=8-1


On Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Totem-Magic-Going-MAD-ebook/dp/B00702F0L0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1336842961&sr=8-2


On Nook:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/totem-magic-john-griffith/1108228371?ean=2940013924741


On E-reader:  http://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/john-griffith/totem-magic/_/R-400000000000000649983


Thanks for being part of this “MAD” and magical effort to learn about and save endangered species! See you outdoors!








34 Responses to Home

  • Raquel says:

    I love the book and dig the site! Thanks for all the great wildlife links!

  • Linda says:

    I just finished the book and love it! Congrats and hope for many many readers to experience it. I especially was effected by the zombie Herbert’s, as Hawaii is the endangered species capital of the US and needs more Totem Mage’s to look out for the unique and threatened species that remain.
    Mahalo nui loa John!

  • There’s no bounds to what a 3C’er can do! Congrats on your book, wow. Wishing all the BEST to you, what you are doing is great, you will be blessed.

  • H. Moreno says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book and share it with my grand-daughters!

  • Rocky Barrera says:

    Congrats & thanks for your work. I look forward to reading and sharing with my Granddaughters, Nieces & Nephews. We must do all in our power to reverse the trend of ‘Separation’ between people, the rest of creation & our spirituality.

  • Jerry Martien says:

    I’d also like to get my hands on the book, but another way than amazon. Is there a way to get some copies into one of our local stores, say northtown or booklegger?

  • Sarah says:

    John, I absolutely loved the book! I will be getting more copies to share with my nieces and nephews, who I know will love the book as much as I did. Your website is awesome and informative and I look forward to reading what your next post has to say :)

  • Jerry Martien says:

    Got a copy at my local bookstore. Found it immensely generous, goofy, gross, wildly imaginative and good-spirited. Thanks, John.

  • John, I haven’t taken a look at the book yet, but it sounds wonderful. Learned about it on the Hawai’i Wildlife Center website (I live only a mile away from the Center). I work energetically with land and the Earth as a whole (see the websites), and what you’re doing dovetails beautifully. Helping to create a healthier, more evolved, more respectful world is what it’s all about. I have a brand new granddaughter, and when she’s a little older, your book will be on her reading list.

  • Jennifer says:

    Great read John! Thank you for writing it. I have passed it on to some of my daugther’s friends in the neighborhood. I wrote a review of the book on my blog. Feel free to share.


    • John says:

      Thank you sooooo much, Jennifer. I especially loved this paragraph in the review “Connie, a black girl, is a strong character who doesn’t take crap from people, witches or monsters. Her strength throughout the journey helps Enrique to notice his own in spite of his fear. So when Vulchy vomited green puke on the vampire to escape death, I cheered with pride. In the end, it’s Vulchy becoming his totem mage that lifts his wings in ultimate self-confidence. Totem Magic, Going Mad is an engaging read for teens and adults that mirrors the complex themes of bullying and environmental degradation present in today’s world.”

  • Marina Claire Delune says:

    Wow, a guy who loves and protects the environment who can both write and DANCE! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/john-griffith-dance-california-conservation-corps_n_2854910.html?utm_hp_ref=comedy

    John, you need to be cloned for every woman alive.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I can not wait to read and share your book! Im already thinking “Can I come work with you?!” Just from the bio above! You hit the nail on the head! I’ve spent 14 yrs in the Air Force and the last 8 yrs teaching diversity, equality etc. My passion is with our youth and affecting change through and with them; clean green enviroment, organic healthy eating and therapeutic outreach through nature and animals…. “High tech, low touch” we are creating a social retardant in our youth with all the social media, texting, gaming etc…. Awesome that you’ve found a way to encompass it all! Fan already! Oh and the dancing video is adorable! We need more open, creative minded people like you! Ok im going to shut up now and go buy/read the book! :)

  • J Sweezy says:

    this guy can dance!

  • Tonya says:

    I saw your video and I loved it. That brought me to your site. I’m going to order your book for my kids! I am from the Chico area to but now reside in Los Angeles. Please make another dance video!!! I loved it.

    • John says:

      Thank you. We will be making dance and other videos for a long time. We have been. Check out my youtube channel. I will eventually load all the videos to this site.

  • Margaret Pena says:

    If you can dance and have amazing moves, your book must be amazing!!!

  • Melinda Schmitt says:

    I work for scholastic book fairs maybe some day I’ll see your book at our warehouse this would be a good book to send out to the schools.

    • John says:

      I hope so, Melinda. It is very difficult to get the word out about Totem Magic: Going MAD. Right now I rely on the recipients of the book profits for most of my marketing. But, yes, I do hope to meet you at a book fair someday. I’ve never even been to one!

    • John says:

      And Melinda, I would love to send you a book!

  • Hi Tom,

    My name is Ricardo Sierra and I am reaching out to ask if you would be interested in being interviewed as an expert on my panel. I was a CCC member for two years back in 1983, working in Leggett and then the Backcountry Trails Program, then spent a year at San Luis Obispo as a greenhouse specialist, revegetating the sand dunes along the Central Coast. I have also created a wilderness skills summer camp in upstate New York, and run that for the past 25 years, since 1989, teaching native American ways of connecting to the land in a deep and powerful way.

    I saw your book and info from the CCC Facebook site, which offered a link to your website, which I love! Thanks for putting that together, and I know it was/is a lot of work.

    I am forming a virtual event called The Wolverine Way: Helping Parents Unplug Their Kids & Reconnect to Nature. In this event, twenty one experts share their wisdom in 45 minute interviews that are pre-recorded, between now and August 14, with the summit starting August 21.

    I feel like your philosophy and experience would be a perfect fit, and offer insight and tremendous value to our community of parents, teachers and grandparents, for this free program focusing on solutions and skills to engage our youth back into nature. It would also offer a great deal of exposure to your work and your book, and the need for us to reconnect…

    Would you be willing to speak as part of our summit? I would be happy to spend a few minutes on the phone to tell you about the details, so please let me know if you are available and willing.

    Thanks for all your work, your writing, and for your time.



    Ricardo Sierra
    Executive Director
    Hawk Circle Wilderness Education
    P.O.Box 506 Cherry Valley, NY 13320-0506
    Home: 607/264.3910
    Office: 607/264.3396
    Check out my two blogs:
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1024694476&ref=name

    ““Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit”
    -Edward Abbey

  • Sylvia Whitmore says:

    Ordering your book this morning. Impressive human – glad to have you on the planet.

    • John says:

      Thank you, Sylvia. I am also doing a rewrite of the book. Apparently some folks had issues with all the names in the first three chapters. So I changed it. The new version should be ready in a month or two. If you already bought it, no worries. I will announce the new version when it comes out, and if you email me, I will email you the new first chapters. Thanks, John

  • Spencer Lucas says:

    I found you from a link on reddit about your “Mountain man dance.” Two hours later, I’ve read your site and what all you are involved with. You’ve made my hero list. You’re doing some incredible work that benefits the planet: nature and its youth. I submitted an AMA request for you on reddit. More people need to know the man behind the dance…Thanks for being one of the good guys and someone kids can look up to (and adults). I hope to see you on the AMA (which is an Ask Me Anything — people ask you questions –ridiculous and credible) I hope it helps your outreach.

    • John says:

      Thanks so much, Spencer. I will get on Reddit tonight and see if I can figure out how to get on AMA. I’m not the best at navigating Reddit, but this opportunity sounds well worth the try. Much appreciation to you!

  • Matthew says:

    Hi John, I really think you should get in contact with the organization TED and see if you could do the occasional talk at the TEDx events or even the main event itself. It would be a fantastic way to promote your book and you are clearly a very personable character. Good luck!

    • John says:

      Thank you, Matthew. I’ve been lucky to get some public speaking opportunities this year, so maybe it is time to look into that. I figure if I won’t folks to be compassionate about youth and the environment, I’m going to have to get good at public speaking.

  • Dries Nys says:

    Your commitment and unique combo of respect of nature/dancing makes me smile. I hope you get many more viral videos. You (and your crew) clearly deserve all the success. Keep up the brilliant work. -FROM A COUPLE THOUSAND MILES AWAY-

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