By Thera Martin
Local mother and businesswoman Dawn Chavous can now add a new accomplishment to her list of things she’s proud of — a new children’s book called “You are Special,” currently available for order on Amazon and elsewhere.
The book was inspired by her then five-year-old son, Isaiah. Isaiah was watching the popular Walt Disney movie “Moana,” and while watching it, he felt concerned that he couldn’t fly like one of the main characters in the movie, Maui.
Chavous says her son’s sad little face hit her in her heart.
“He actually said,‘Mommy, I’m not special because I can’t fly like Maui,’ I knew I had to correct that feeling in my son,” Chavous recalled. “I was actually shocked by what he said. He comes from a two-parent household with very active parents who tell him all the time how much he’s loved and how special he is. My husband and I pour a lot of positive thoughts and love into our children daily, so the fact that he could still have that thought in his mind really troubled me.”
The mother of two immediately went into action to clarify for her son that the movie was simply make-believe and that it wasn’t real, and tried to help him understand. It was at that moment that she was inspired to write the book, “You are Special.”
“I decided to write a book that he and my younger son Elijah and all children of various backgrounds would be able to have, so they know that they are enough, and the unique qualities about them [that make them different] are what makes them special,” she said. “Being kind to other people makes them special. How you choose to behave and [what] you choose to do in life is what makes you special. The book lets children know that they can succeed and do anything. They can’t fly, but they can achieve.”
“You are Special” is a rhyming book that is beautifully illustrated with bright and warm colors,” Chavous said. “The main character of the book is Isaiah, so he’s able to see himself on paper. We also incorporated images of his brother, and images of other diverse children and families. I think it’s a really cool book and I’m really excited about it now being available to the public.”
“The book was published by Palmetto Publishing and illustrated by Donna-Marie Duncan, who I’ve known for over 20 years,” she said. “She serves as the creative design director for my firm, and together we have also worked on other various projects for my firm.”
Chavous gave Donna-Marie Duncan her props, especially when it came to how they continued to work on the book project during the early days of the pandemic
“She’s an amazing artist,” Chavous said. “I gave her the concept. We went through the sketches, and literally it took two years to get to this point. This all came to life at the beginning of the pandemic, so my husband and I, while we both continued to work full-time, we also had to become teachers. While we were supporting our children through the home-schooling process, plus working from home ourselves, we had to find things for the children to do, in addition to their virtual learning program. 2020 was quite the experience when this whole concept first got started. As a Mom, it can feel overwhelming sometimes, juggling being a mother, a business owner and a wife. You have obligations with your family, commitments with your business and everything intersected during the pandemic because we were confined to the house. We couldn’t go anywhere. Then when you have your son telling you he doesn’t feel special, I was like, ’wait a minute. Let me pump the brakes for a minute.”
”You are Special” was a labor of love, and she hoped that when parents read the book to their children, or when children read it for themselves, they feel inspired, Chavous said. It is a book of affirmation.
“You are Special” is currently featured on amazon.com and can also be found on her website, dawnchavous.com. For more information about Dawn or her new book, you can follow her on social media on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram under her full name, Dawn Chavous.