Smartview Stories model ways that families and communities can support each other in feeling safe and finding ways forward in these times of change.
No one teaches us how to live in a body. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know the best way to use our brain? Could it be that we are born with an internal instruction manual? Might it be hidden inside each of us from birth? Within a language that many people overlook?
Welcome to Smartview Stories™ – a self-empowerment book project for children and adults ages 9-99!
Our emotional literacy stories help unlock this instruction manual and its hidden language. Our body and brain are always wanting our well-being. We can learn their language. Body sensations, emotions, images, thoughts and gestures are all ways our body uses to communicate with us. This language reveals what is going on inside of us and around us. Over time, with practice, a mutual trust develops within us. We see our life with fresh eyes. New possibilities emerge.
Within each Smartview Stories book, our three stories are Flesch-Kincaid Reading Level Grade 3, supplemental pages are Grades 4-6. The characters and events portrayed in our books are fictitious and based on real life experiences. There is an understanding that human beings are living processes. Each book includes three short stories featuring one family. A fourth story features our Inner Companions. Based on neuroscience concepts, the inner companions help illustrate our inner world.
The Poplar Family consists of Papa Sam age 37, Mama Dawn age 38, Stryder age 11, Wendy age 8, Levi age 4, and their dog Casey. Together, they enjoy biking, camping, art, singing and music. Mama Dawn and Papa Sam learned Focusing shortly before Stryder was born so that they could raise their kids with these skills. They are a typical busy family and feel blessed to be using Focusing as a way of life in community with others.
Our books bring our inner world to life via three Inner Companions: Hummah, Sleuthin, and Ashamaya. These three aspects of being human help us experience and live our life. They are with us at every moment. As we become more aware of them, we understand HOW to better support ourselves, and those around us, in all types of life situations. May this trio of inner companions inspire you in your journey toward thriving.
Our setting is Smartview Village. We base it on a lovely Appalachian tourist spot called Smart View Recreation Area along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, VA, USA. Our stories begin in 2018 when a group of people gather at the local library to find a way forward. All around them, they are experiencing cultural norms falling apart. It confuses them. What is clear is that they can help each other. Staying together as a community brings a sense of safety. They can lean on each other. The way they live changes. These families recognize the value of sharing their stories.
Wow! We finished your book! It was amazing and it was absolutely perfect for all the things we’ve been talking about! We will definitely have to re-read it and I will be sharing it with many people.
What a great gift you’ve given the world. Helping kids find the word to communicate their feelings is always a challenge. This book not only give words and ways to express feelings, it also give words and ways to express the process while you are feeling things you aren’t ready to name. It’s great for kids and also great for parents to learn the language and tools to connect with and accept feelings.
~Dolphin Thalhauser, Middle School Teacher and Mom of a 6 and 9 yr old
As more books come out we will add ebooks, audio versions, workbooks, stickers and plushies. What a journey this has been to get the book this far. Our books are now much more than a typical children’s early chapter book. Like any of us venturing out into a world where we find ourselves checking none of the above when it comes to a label, we found we needed a bit more explanation than just ‘other’. The three stories in each book come with their own supportive environment to help them thrive and flourish.
Published Sept 7, 2021 & Available to order NOW on amazon!
Awkward Moments Bloom, Book 1 features the Poplar Family. Eight-year-old Wendy is struggling at her new school. When we are in an awkward moment, it is often difficult to imagine something positive rising from the experience. Wendy shows us how she has learned to use drawing to help her process her anxiety. Her family supports her by slowing down and creating space to listen. They are not helping her solve anything. They help her trust her own process. Our Inner Companions work together from within Wendy. Lo-and-behold, awkward moments do bloom!
Smartview Stories Book 2, Walking Together
Published March 24, 2022. Both paperback and kindle versions
Walking Together, Book 2 features the Poplar Family. Movement is an important aspect of how we can support ourselves in living brain healthy lives. All three stories involve situations where Stryder or Wendy find someone to walk with them through new experiences. For the part of our brain that is uncomfortable with not-knowing, this sense of walking together brings relief and ease. In Quiet Like a Deer, Stryder finds himself awake at night with a strong inner knowing he’d like to explore. Wendy joins him. In New Moon Walking, Wendy convinces Mama that their feet can grow eyes and dance in the dark if they join Grammy and Grampy for their monthly New Moon Walk. Frustration builds up in Stryder as he plays games online with his friends in The Blame Game. Papa shows us how he gives Stryder space, acceptance and encouragement that he will find his own way, rather than a sense something is wrong. And, of course, they walk as they talk.
We will get to meet the Oak Family and some of the Maple Family in the New Moon Walk story. This story features a trail that goes along the Blue Ridge Parkway from the front parking lot of Smart View Recreation Area to Smart View Lookout.
Our Second Book is Available as a Paperback and Kindle version ebook on AMAZON.
Sleuthin and Hummah walking together in the story New Moon Walk.
Smartview Stories Book 3, Belonging
This is the last book featuring the Poplar Family before we move on to the Oak Family. Here we learn a lot about Levi. Levi is Mama Dawn’s nephew. His parents, Rick and Darla, live in Washington, D.C. which is about a 5 hour drive from Smartview Village. They both work to support education and empowerment projects in third world countries.
An opportunity came up for Rick and Darla to tour the projects they have sponsored for the past 5 years. This is the first time they have considered traveling without Levi, much less, outside of the country since he was born. Dawn is happy to take Levi in for 10 days so that his parents can enjoy this opportunity.
Now Levi's parents can experience for themselves, the people and the environment where their work projects often hover between surviving and thriving. Who knows where this might lead?
Being a Focusing book, of course, we’ll be watching for life forward flow…
“Life brings unexpected challenges for the Poplar family. I invite you to step into their story. Each character uses the simple yet profound tools of Focusing to explore their own dance of human emotions and behaviors. As they pause, listen more intently to bodily sensations, and discover personal insights, there is space for readers and listeners alike to slow down and attend to their own discoveries. Enjoy! I certainly did.”
~ Joanne Dahill, Certified Focusing Professional, Birth Doula, Birth and Parenting Educator
Our first story, Stone Play, describes Levi’s first full morning staying with the Poplar’s and how he finds a sense of belonging.
Our second story, It’s Not Fair!, is about sibling patterns, surprise, and making more space within and around us for belonging.
Our third story, Bird Song, is about how it feels when our unique gifts are welcomed and appreciated by others in our community.