Young author-illustrator strives to help kids learn life lessons

November 03, 2011|By CHRIS COPLEY |
  • Cheyenne Harris of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., wrote her first children's stories when she was 15. She later took a box of markers and illustrated one of them herself and published it. She is working on a series.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

In her 21 years, Cheyenne Harris has had a few challenges to tackle in her life. Her parents divorced, her father was institutionalized, her brother developed cancer, and Harris ballooned in weight and developed health issues.

But the Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., resident also has a caregiving, nurturing streak. She looks beyond her troubles to something larger: She wants to offer life lessons to children who might not get them.

"Life doesn't wait, and you never know when you're going to die," she said recently in the living room of her family's home. "You got to try to do what you can before you die. That's why I do children's books."

Harris has written and published two full-color, illustrated, children's books through PublishAmerica in Baltimore. She published them using a one-word nom de plume, Cheyenne. The books are part of a planned series called "Life's Little Lessons," aimed at children.

"Children need to be taught everything, but parents can't always teach their kids," Harris said. "If a child reads my books, they'll learn what they need to know."

"Mitzy's Race" tells the story of a pink mouse living in a treehouse in the woods. The book encourages readers not prejudge others simply because of their appearance. The main character in "Bud the Spud" is a potato in a trash can who shows another character that accepting responsibility is a better way to resolve problems than fighting.

The Herald-Mail Articles