St. Louis 3rd-grader writes graphic novel to help and inspire others

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – An 8-year-old author is making a difference in the lives of others after publishing a book offering good tidings when those closest to us have broken promises. 

Zara Daugherty is a 3rd-grader in the St. Louis Public School District who enjoys reading graphic novels – and now writing them, too. Zara shared with The Heartlander that her book, Broken Promise, draws inspiration from her father’s broken promises that left her emotionally shattered.

“When I was angry and sad, I told my mom what happened and we figured out a way to solve it,” the young author said. “I wanted children to know it is OK to cry when somebody breaks a promise.”

Zara says after signing books for her family, friends and teachers she feels like a bit of a celebrity and it makes her feel good knowing she has helped others. 

The 3rd-grader has been visiting a therapist for the last four years, since she says her father began breaking promises. The youngster’s mother, Mia Daugherty, says Zara’s therapist began writing a book with her daughter to help overcome powerful emotions, but Zara was adamant to write a book on her own.

“When Zara came home, she told me, ‘Mom, I actually want to write a real book,’” Mia said. “I said, ‘This is a real book.’ She said, ‘Mom, I want my book on Amazon and I want my picture on the back of the book.’”

Mia says many children face the same issue every day, and she is immensely proud of her daughter for taking a stand to assist others in the name of Jesus.

“It’s a pretty tough subject. I know with my background being in communication and marketing, I wanted to make sure we were very intentional about making sure everyone could relate to the book and it wasn’t just a negative book or speaking anything negative about her father. The book is more of a challenge. There are lots of kids like Zara. There are millions of kids across the country facing the same things she faced.

“If it’s not a parent that broke a promise to you, the highlight of the book is that Zara faced anger and disappointment. Zara used her therapy tools in the story to push through her anger and disappointment to eventually have the best day ever.”

The proactive mother says in the beginning she was unsure about Zara writing this kind of novel. She tried steering her daughter in a different direction, but says when God stepped in, she was convinced it was the right thing to do. 

“She spoke to me in such a way to where I felt like she was led by God. She was telling me, ‘This is my purpose.’ That’s when I took a step back and got out of my comfort zone and feelings. I know my daughter has a purpose and is on a mission.” 

Mia has read Broken Promise at two focus groups while Zara has read her novel to many others. Adults have approached Mia with tears in their eyes and expressed how much the book has assisted them in their personal lives.

Little Zara’s career does not stop here. The 8-year-old says she loves reading and writing so much that she would like to continue her new endeavor while making a career out of it. Zara aspires to become a renowned author someday, and has an important message to convey to everyone.

“When somebody breaks a promise, just know you can’t control what they do, but you can control what you do.”

The St. Louis elementary school student has received invitations for book signings at nearby libraries and is currently raising money to buy more author copies of her book. Zara’s book tour coordinators have set up a GoFundMe page to accept donations.

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of Broken Promise can do so here

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