Celia and the Little Boy by Irene Applebaum Buchine on A Better World of Books #childhooddepression #suicideawareness #suicideprevention

irene-buchine-portraitIrene and I met at a bookstore in rural, NH. Neither one of us knew the other would be there on that early spring day, but later it seemed fated. Irene and I soon discovered we share a driving passion to help children navigate through the challenges of life. In particular, Irene is focused on childhood depression, a topic near and dear to her heart.

Life has brought to Irene her share of challenges, including growing up with dyslexia and raising a child who suffered from depression from an early age. Her life experiences inspired Irene to write and illustrate her book, Celia and the Little Boy.

“For all the children who dwell alone in the darkness and those who can see them.”

Celia and the Little Boy tells the tale of a child trapped in the darkness and a little girl who helps him to find the light. Although it is written in a manner approachable to young children, Irene’s story has also touched the hearts of teenagers and adults. Mine included.

Through her tale, Irene evokes her personal story,  and the story of anyone who has endured the feelings of entrapment inside inner darkness. There are only three characters in the book, Celia, a little boy hiding under a porch, and an inchworm who joins Celia to inspire the boy to emerge from his hiding place. But, there is one more player in the tale, Celia’s grandfather, whose words of wisdom, and a life lived through wonderment, have instilled within Celia the knowing that the world is in many ways what you make of it. If you look for it, there is always good to be found. And, when viewed with the eyes of wonder, life can be magical. Like the seemingly simple journey of a caterpillar, or the magnificence of the stars in the sky.

As Celia shares the stories of time spent with her beloved grandfather, the little boy slowly makes his way out of the darkness and into the light. Irene’s book is beautifully written using metaphor and analogy in a way that is relatable, inspiring, and poignant.

Celia and the Little Boy travels with Irene to spark discussions about childhood depression. The book has received numerous endorsements and high praise. Justice John T. Broderick Jr. said this of her story, “Celia and the Little Boy should be required reading in every grade school in America. The simple yet powerful story it tells opens the door to feelings and empathy that are increasingly cast aside in our virtual world. Data and information are invaluable but emotional wellbeing is essential to a fulfilling life. Irene’s wonderful book will aid that journey by both inspiring and touching children.”

I agree. One day I hope it is required reading.

If you’d like learn more about her book, or follow Irene’s journey, you can find her at irenebuchine.com

Are you an author with a vision for a better world? Do you have a published book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction that uplifts and empowers readers to create a more positive inner and outer environment? If so, I’d love to hear more about it. On a “Better World of Books,” I interview authors and review books of all genres that offer a vision for a better world. If you think your work is a part of this vision, please contact Alethea. 

“I was wrong about you” #yoga #nonjudgement

Image Credit: Pixabay

It was like any other Tuesday morning, only it wasn’t. No two are ever exactly the same, just as each moment passes by us changed from the one before, whether we are aware of it or not. This Tuesday morning, though, was memorable in unexpected ways.

It began with a small mishap, a yoga mat de-potting an African violet that had been repotted after another de-potting from Millie-the-kitten-almost-cat a few days prior. Poor plant. Yet, accidents happen, and after a quick few swipes with the vacuum order was returned, or so I thought. Yoga with said mentioned kitten-cat Millie, and her side-kick Zelda-the-fifty-pound-dog, is never what I would call orderly. It’s a combination of laughter/hatha/kitten/dog yoga and one ever knows whose mat is going to be chosen for the Millie v. Zelda wrestling match yoga competition practice. This morning, though, Millie decided she’d rather spend the bulk of the class prowling the perimeter and upending every crystal and figurine in sight, while stealing peacock feathers and fishing in the water fountain for more rocks and crystals.

Millie-the-kitten-cat resting after yoga class
Millie’s side-kick, Zelda, who loves her like a daughter despite their obvious differences

But, I am digressing from the true purpose of this post, which is about what happened after class had formally ended and the collective “Om” had been uttered. Often, instead of a scurrying out the door to get to the next destination for the day, there is a lingering behind and sharing of the thoughts of the mind. Some days chatter is light banter, but today it rose from the heart. That place that reminds us we are all, in essence, the same. That we are each, in our individual way, trying to find our place in the world as human beings. Trying to live each day to the best of our abilities in this existence we call life.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Life can morph and change at any moment, both within our own existence and beyond. A fellow writer had shared her news that she would be appearing at a local bookstore the next day to discuss her book about childhood depression. A deceptively small work of fiction based upon her own life experiences as a mother with a child who went into the darkness of life at an early age.

More about my friend and her book can be found on her website

When we open up the stories inside of our hearts, our shared humanity emerges. The energy of compassion and empathy pours from our beings and outer differences are ignored. I knew my friend’s story, but the others in the room did not. From her story flowed another, equally poignant. One that I had never heard before. We often interact with others without really knowing who they are. Their triumphs and sorrows, as well as those more mundane moments are not widely known outside the space of the home, or even the individual being who may tend toward introversion. And, although we may guess at other’s thoughts, and think we can read them on their faces, we can never truly know them unless they are shared from the heart.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

When my friend shared her book and her story, another member of our yoga class shared her story about helping a different boy through his darkness. A boy, who was between childhood and adulthood who needed someone to see him for the gift he was. They had almost overlooked him when he asked for a job because of the reputation of his family. Now, they are his primary guardians. Although he is not theirs through blood, he is by any other definition their son. They have given him shelter, nourishment, and love. They have also given him unwavering support and guidance to see his gifts come to life. Yet, he was almost dismissed.

Five words changed everything. For him and for them. “I was wrong about you,” his foster father confessed after feeding him a much-needed meal and opening his ears to hear the stories in his heart. After realizing that a false judgement had been placed upon this young teen, the couple opened their door and their hearts to him, giving him a chance at a life he was not endowed with by birth. From his place of darkness, a new and brilliant light had dawned.

“I was wrong about you.”

How many times do we place judgement upon another throughout our days. This tendency of the human mind to make assumptions about other living beings has likely been a key part of our existence since the earliest stages of humanity. In some ways it helps us to survive, but it doesn’t always help us to thrive.

Photo Credit: Prexel

We are at a stage in our evolution where polarization appears to be triumphing over unity. The false belief of the “other” that is somehow lesser than ourselves appears like a virus that we carry through each generation. Sometimes it lies latent, and other times, like now, it flares in all of its diseased desire to win and overcome us.

Later in the morning, after the rest of the yoga class had left, my fellow writer friend and I lingered a little longer over cups of tea while she told me about her night at the same bookstore with her husband. And as she talked, more hope sprung within me. There had been a discussion, which is part of a larger movement taking place across this country. It’s starting small, less than a dozen Indie bookstores are doing it at this time, but I have a feeling it will quickly grow. Its basic premise, to bring together seemingly different viewpoints and spark a conversation to find unity. That common ground that is in the middle of polarity.

The store had been filled to capacity, and I wonder how many left with a different mindset than when they had arrived. How many had said, either out-loud or in the privacy of their minds, “I was wrong about you.”