The Phoenix is a unique children’s book series about a boy who transforms into a superhero to help his friends when they experience real life problems any kid can relate to, with lessons relating to the 7 Degrees of Change. With an exciting and diverse cast of characters, this new series will focus on themes of Empathy, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship, and Trustworthiness.
Joe is a kid just like you. He loves to hang out with his friends, play with toys, and loves school. What makes him different, however? He has Asperger’s Syndrome, which can make it difficult for him to figure out social cues. That’s where his friends Derrick, Beth, Satomi, Jacquie, Winnie, Keith, and Dionne come in. Whenever se he sees a problem, he asks each of his friends what the problem is, and transforms into The Phoenix to figure it out and save the day!
This book is dedicated to my parents, Kim and Paul, who have taught me lessons on character that are being taught here in this book. To them, I am eternally grateful.
-Matthew J. Norcross
Jacquie is new in school, but doesn't feel like she fits in due to her disability. Luckily, Joe transforms into The Phoenix and teams up with his friend Nehemiah to teach Empathy, a character train in which you understand another person's thoughts, feelings, and condition from their point of view, rather than from your own.
In other words, it makes you try to imagine yourself in their place in order to understand what they are feeling or experiencing. Empathy is a very important character trait to learn in today's world, because there are certain things some people can't do and it makes them feel like they can't fit in with others.
Yusuf has taken a purple crayon without permission. With the help of his friend Satomi, Joe - a.k.a. The Phoenix - teaches Yusuf the character trait of Respect. The dictionary definition of Respect is a "feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements." Having respect for others can let them have respect for you as a result. Respect can't be bought and paid for. You have to earn it. In order to earn respect, you have to give other people respect in return.
For example, when someone has a different opinion other than yours, you have to accept it. More importantly, there is one important person you have to respect... yourself. That means putting on new sets of clothes every day, grooming yourself, cleaning up your room when needed, taking good care of yourself every day, and recognizing everyone has a a special gift or talent.
Responsibility can have many meanings. The most important meaning of Responsibility is doing what you’re supposed to do. In fact, entrepreneur John D. Rockefeller once said that every right "implies a responsibility, every opportunity an obligation, every possession a duty." Responsibility can especially mean planning ahead - whether it be for big school projects and doing your very best on schoolwork, tests, or quizzes.
Another important meaning for Responsibility is holding yourself accountable for your own words and actions. When your child learns the values of responsibility, they can learn to set a good example for their peers. The book Nehemiah's Playroom, a part of The Phoenix children's book series with the subject character Nehemiah’s messy playroom, teaches the example of the responsibility of doing what you are supposed to do..
Fairness can have many meanings. One meaning is being impartial or treating people without favoritism, while another more important meaning can be treating people fairly. In the case of this particular story, one example of treating people fairly is sharing and taking turns.
Trustworthiness can have many meanings. One of the most important is being honest or truthful or honest to your peers or family members. For example, whenever a friend lets you borrow their favorite toy and you make a promise that you’ll bring it back to them (as demonstrated with Cameron making a promise to Satomi regarding her doll in this story), you have to keep that promise in order for someone to trust you.
Also, whenever you make a mistake, you have to tell the truth about the mistake you made, even if it means risking getting punished or having a privilege being taken away from you
Caring for others is perhaps one of the most important lessons anyone can learn when it comes to Character Education. Whenever you feel concerned or interested in someone in need, that can actually make someone feel liked by others - as was the case with Beth when she skinned her knee after falling off her bike.
Her best friend Joe - after transforming into the Phoenix - was there by her side when she needed him most.
One of America's Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, once said, "A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society." And that is just an example of what it means to be a good citizen.
In fact, the dictionary definition of Citizenship is the "status of being a citizen of a particular country." However, Character Counts defines Citizenship as doing your share to make your school and community better.
In the case of what Cameron did in the book Cameron's Vote, it can mean helping your peers respect their country or community by reciting things such as the Pledge of Allegiance. But, more importantly, it means following local or national laws, getting involved in community affairs, and - more importantly - voting. Being a good citizen and actually getting involved in your community is one of the many ways your can fulfill the character traits of the 7 Degrees of Change!
Joe is your average boy dealing with common problems any kid might have. And he happens to have Asperger’s. Whenever a problem arises, he asks one of his friends what the problem is, and it always calls for the work of his alter ego, a superhero called the Phoenix. He’s unlike any other superhero, because his superpower is teaching the 7 Degrees of Change!
Beth is one of Joe’s best friends and his next-door neighbor. Her parents come from a military family, with both of her parents joining the army and fighting in the Iraq War when they were both fresh out of college. She has learned a lot about responsibility as a result of the fact that her parents are soldiers.
Satomi is new in town, having immigrated from Japan just a few years ago. Her father works as an executive at a large video game publisher and toy manufacturer based in Kyoto, and has been promoted to the company’s US division. Her mother is a celebrity chef, and started an authentic Japanese restaurant focused on Teppanyaki cooking She’s trying her best to grow into the culture of her new home, And all her life has been taught a culture of respect that she tries to teach to her friends.
Cameron is no stranger to learning how to become a good citizen. Her father is a police officer, and does everything he can to protect his city. Her mother is a security guard. She has mastered teaching the kind of citizenship lessons she’s learned to Joe.
Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, Jacquie has one brother named Frank, while her parents are both professors at major universities. Jacquie was born with a sickness that has forced her to move around in a wheelchair. But, that hasn’t stopped her from teaching her friends what responsibility means, whether it be taking responsibility for your own actions as well as other issues.
Caring about people should be everyone’s priority, that’s Keith’s motto. Born and raised in Joe’s town, he serves as one of his friends and neighbors. His single father works as a neurologist, and ever since his homemaking mother passed away, Keith has always wanted to follow in his footsteps.
An immigrant from the Philippines, Winnie is new at Joe’s school. Like Satomi, Winnie loves sharing the culture of his home country to his friends. His mother is a judge, while his father is an attorney. Both have taught him the value of fairness in his life, which in turn can be very valuable to Joe.
One of Joe’s classmates, Nehemiah is an athletic, and very competitive boy. But more importantly, he shows a lot of Empathy toward his peers. Sometimes he can be a bit of a showoff, but he’s always there for his friends, no matter what happens.
Yusuf is an immigrant from Algeria. His parents decided to move to America, because they wanted him to live a new life of freedom and opportunity in the United States. Both of which now run a small bookstore and coffeehouse on Main St. in Heathgate. His classmates think he’s nothing but a troublemaker who does nothing but ruin everyone else’s day, but all he wants is to make sure he’s liked by his classmates, and often has trouble finding out exactly what can make him achieve that goal.