Author Joe Khoury embraces this singular truth: if you want to change the world, you start with children. Mr. Khoury has recently released the first book in his new series, “Mia & Anthony and the Hidden Treasures.” The first volume of the children’s books series, “A Big Brave Heart,” explores the concept of courage and what it means to truly be brave. In each subsequent release, Mr. Khoury plans to examine what’s most important to children, helping young readers gain new insights about their own feelings.
As a child growing up in Lebanon, Mr. Khoury experienced life-changing losses; both of his parents died from cancer. The tragedies he suffered as a child informed his core values — the importance of family and kindness. Few children live in a cocoon of complete safety from life’s difficult challenges or unfortunate circumstances, which is why Mr. Khoury hopes to reach young readers with his stories that demonstrate resilience in the face of difficulty.
In each of the series books, young readers will enjoy a different focus. In “A Big Brave Heart,” Mia and Anthony, school-age twins, are challenged by their father to perform one brave act each day and then to write about what they’ve done in their diaries. Readers will identify with Mia and Anthony’s shyness as well as their initial insecurity, but they’ll also delight as the twins discover the courage that they didn’t know they possessed — so different from the bravery they associated with their superhero idols.
In “A Million Ways to Care,” Mia and Anthony practice acts of kindness and learn how caring takes many different shapes. In “Our Very Special Family,” the twins examine what makes their family so unique — and so wonderful. Young readers will be able to reflect on the things they genuinely care about as well as why their own family is so very special and unique too.
As Mr. Khoury wrote each book, it was important for him not to be overtly didactic or overly preachy to his readers. Instead, he reflected on his own childhood perspectives as well as the perspectives of his own children. He wants young readers to see themselves in Mia and Anthony and be able to relate to them and the situations they find themselves in. Each book features a story that is inviting and accessible as well as impactful.
In recent years, Mr. Khoury discovered a few of his mother’s handwritten notes. The power of the written word resonated with him and helped him feel connected to what he holds most dear — family. His writing resonates with his own children today and is sure to inspire young readers who will connect with Mia and Anthony who, like them, are growing up in a complex and challenging world. But like the twins, young readers can also find courage, kindness and love for family within themselves.
The series is a powerful tribute to what it means to live a good life. Look for available titles on Joe Khoury’s website or at your local public library.