“When Charlie McButton Lost Power”

In my home, the solution to this boredom always seems include electronic devices, game systems, tv, a movie, or virtual games. s book, “When Charlie McButton Lost Power”, it takes on the idea of what is lost when to much time is spent plugged in. Suzanne Colllins is one of my favorite authors. I love her s world and giving me books to read with them to open a discussion.

In “When Charlie McButton Lost Power”, Charlie McButton is a happy child until tragedy strikes, a Will he t work. Instead he until the battery dies. His desperation leads to a series of bad choices. When he calms down from the consequences given, he becomes open to something more rewarding: using his imagination and playing with his little sister Isabel Jane.

This will be the first book I read and talk about with my children this summer. Then when they complain and beg for more electronics, to relieve their summer boredom, I can ask them to discover something new like Charlie McButton. Who knows, they may even discover, like Charlie, that there is a world without electronics that can be fun.

“The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Ruben

For me, the beginning of this book was in Target. The book didn’t start there, I did! Initially, this was not the book I picked to review for May. Halfway through the previous pick, I was unsure if it was what I wanted to share with my readers. So without research or recommendations, while shopping for Mother’s Day cards, I chose The Happiness Project. Not over thinking what needed to be done and just getting it done was a great start and reflection of what I would take away from reading The Happiness Project.

In The Happiness Project, writer Gretchen Ruben decided to increase her happiness through a year of resolutions focused on becoming happier. Each chapter is an area she personal wanted to work with, however they are not meant to be suggestions for the reader. Instead, it encourages the reader to evaluate their own happiness and what areas they would improve. Then, if you want to do your own Happiness Project she offers the chart she used to outline as an example to create your own. There is much that can be learned and applied with The Happiness Project, even if you don’t want to do your own. Here are the 2 key ideas I appreciated.

1. Lighten up: “I wanted to become more lighthearted, especially in moments of anger. A line by G.K. Chesterton echoed in my head: “It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light.” Throughout this book, I felt like I was seeing a reflection of my own life. Gretchen’s realization that she needed to add more humor to life, be slow to anger and decrease criticism were refreshing. Now I catch myself thinking before I criticize my children or husband on a task they have preformed, trying to find the humor in a messy situation and cutting my tongue from increasingly having to bite it. This takes more work, but less of my energy. The added benefit is I am not sucking the positive energy from others! Yes, lightening up has the ability to increase happiness.

2. Being Amanda: “I have an idea of who I wish I were, and that obscures my understanding of who I actually am. Sometimes I pretend even to myself to enjoy activities I don’t really enjoy. And worse, I ignore my true desires and interests.” Through the year Gretchen had to accept “being Gretchen” and even more difficult was honestly identifying who that is. Being true to who we are is a great way to let go of guilt! So now, without guilt, these are some things I will no longer try to like: Jazz music, playing with Barbie’s, drawing, eating raw carrots or relaxing on a hot beach.

The Happiness Project explores if we really can be happier. This is not a solution for someone challenged with clinical depression or hormone imbalances. It is for those who are in the rut and ready to look inward to increase their individual happiness.

Wonder

Wonder by R.J Palacio, nominee 2014 Colorado Children’s Book Award

Understanding who we are and having the courage to stay true to self is how we can bring change to the world and ourselves. Often just doing the best we can with the challenges we face brings this change. Wonder explores not only how kindness changes, but makes us aware that everyone, even the bullies in life, face challenges. Our perception is our reality, but the person next to us can have a very different view. Will we be kind enough to not judge?

August Pullman, Auggie, is bright, witty and everything but a normal 5th grader, he was born with mandivulofacial-dysostosis, which has left his face with severe deformities. When he commits to attend public school for the first time it will not only alter his universe, but everyone he has contact with.

“But this year there seems to be a shift in the cosmos. The galaxy is changing. Planets are falling out of alignment.”

We all have to decide how to handle change. Wonder uses Mr. Browne’s Precepts as a way to see how we choose who we can become. Mr. Browne is Auggie’s English teacher. He gives his classes a Precept to write about every month. Precepts are rules about really important things. September’s precept is, “When given the choice between being right or being kind choose kind.” Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

Throughout the year Auggie and his classmates discover how they live up to the precepts given in challenging experiences. Along the way, they discover their own precepts and how experiences give us the opportunity to become. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Wonder, it is worth every minute.

Remember what Mr. Tushman, Auggie’s principals says “…sometimes a duck is just a duck!” Don’t think too much as you read, but enjoy and absorb. And if it shifts your universe a little or reawakens you please share your precept.

August Pullman’s Precept:

Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their life because we all overcometh the world.

Amanda Wilson’s 2014 Precept:

Being true to self is more important than praise.

You can’t be true to yourself if you don’t know who that is.

What is your Precept?