Kaavia James has captured hearts since the day she was born with her larger-than-life personality. With an Instagram account that has amassed 1.5 million followers, the three-year-old’s hilarious facial expressions bring endless laughter to timelines. Now, she’ll be the basis of the first-ever picture book collaboration authored by her multi-hyphenate parents, NBA athlete Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union-Wade.
“SHADY BABY,” illustrated by artist Tara Nicole Whitaker, will follow the adventures of its titular character, a Black girl who articulates how she feels and what she stands for via her tickling mannerisms. The purpose of the book is to teach kids how to tackle their emotions through text and artwork that connects with them.
“SHADY BABY is a powerful, funny, and super-cute Black girl character who always keeps it real,” said HarperCollins which will publish the book on May 18. The first book will follow Shady Baby on her way to the playground “after a long morning of being fabulous.” There she will learn how to fight back bullies with her friends by her side.
“We are beyond excited to share our first joint passion project, ‘SHADY BABY’ with the world,” said the Wades in an exclusive statement. “Inspired by our daughter, Kaavia James, we wanted to change the narrative for the word ‘shady’ and disassociate the negative connotations with it.”
The couple’s daughter is known for her “shady” side-eyes and no-nonsense persona, but her parents want the little readers of the world to know “shadiness” is indeed a gift.
“Here, ‘shady’ is her super-power, her moral compass and inner strength that she shares in an effort to guide the other children to choose kindness and compassion and to stick up for themselves and others. It was important to us to share this story with the world and make sure it not only was centered around a little Black girl, but also depicted the diversity of our global community,” the Wades continued.
HarperCollins will also publish an original board book by the book’s co-authors after the release of “SHADY BABY.”