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In the early 2000s, I spent several years studying Vedantic scripture under Swami Bodhananda Saraswati at the Sambodh Society in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As I listened to the Swami speak to a roomful of adults, I often thought about how his powerful, universally relevant lessons could be taught at a child’s level.

One day, Swami Bodhananda was talking about the futility of trying to find happiness in material objects. With twinkling eyes and a wide grin, he gently poked fun at American materialism, how obsessed we become with buying something we think we can’t live without. “By the time you get it loaded in the trunk of your car,” he said, “you lose interest in it.”

I laughed, along with everyone else in the room. And in the next second, I knew there was a children’s story in his teaching. So, the book All the Happiness There Is was born. It is the story of a little girl who chases happiness through acquiring a series of things that bring her only temporary satisfaction, before she learns that true happiness can only come from inside herself.

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