Almost 5 years ago, a 10 year old girl came into my life who had been disappointed by those meant to nurture her. She spent nearly half of her first 10 years under CPS supervision and bounced between a variety of family members for her primary care. In 2018 she came to live with me and was officially adopted in 2019.
It quickly became my focus to show this smart, funny, talented girl she had special gifts to offer the world and teach her to let nothing inhibit her. She uses art and writing as an outlet to express herself. We spend much of our free time drawing, painting, working on creative projects, mixed in with nature walks. During these walks we frequently talked about using our life experiences to somehow help others.
Out of that came the inspiration for DRAW YOUR HAPPY. The book highlights some of her artwork and inspires kids to tap into their own creativity. She shares a short story about a variety of things from her own life that make her happy. Each story features a drawing that represents the narrative. On each corresponding page is a prompt with some suggestions for the reader to draw something from their own life.
The book was originally conceived to help kids focus on using their creative energies when facing a difficult time, whether that be illness, divorce, foster/adoption, or any type of childhood trauma. The point is to use art expression to focus on the happy things in life. This drawing book is appropriate for any young budding artist. The drawing prompts are intended not only to offer drawing suggestions but to also help readers focus on positive thoughts and feelings. Our desire is to provide a creative outlet for kids struggling, whether that be a physical ailment, emotional trauma or life adjustment.
People frequently say that adopting her was so wonderful and that I changed her life. The truth is what she did for me is just as powerful. She brought me balance and a focus to help her believe in herself. My desire for her to be confident in her ideas and talents has pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am better for it.
Alyza is now a 9th grade student attending high school in South Carolina. We hope to touch and inspire many through the beautiful sharing of her heart through this book. We have donated books to a number of children’s charities in our mission to reach struggling kids, but it is perfect for any young budding artist and a great Christmas gift.