A funny thing happened as Danielle Chammas was finishing up her first two children’s books.
She had conjured the rhyming verses and dotingly crafted every accompanying illustration, girding each page with lessons on finding self-worth and the hard task of embracing mistakes. The painstaking work had thrust her, finally, onto the precipice of living up to promises she had held her whole life long.
And then: paralyzing panic.
“I had every insecurity you could think of — What if people don’t like them? What if they get a bad review? — and I caught myself and thought wow, Dani, if your goal is that people’s confidence should come from within, that they shouldn’t be so scared of mistakes that they can’t live their lives, then you have to embody it, too. So I just put these books out there and haven’t looked back.”
What came out were two books for the first-time author, a Del Mar native and Torrey Pines High School alum who practices psychiatry and palliative care in the Bay Area. Her days at TPHS had been filled with writing and drawing and all manner of creative pursuits, but eventually she settled on keeping those passions as a hobby. Dreams of making a children’s book never truly diminished, though, and eventually her end-of-life work coupled with the birth of her daughter two years ago stoked that long-simmering fire.
“There comes a point where you see so many young people die before they could get around to doing x y, z, and it just hit me, what am I doing, I’m the same age as these people, life is too short to keep my bucket list in the background,” she said. “Something got lit under me. The juxtaposition of having a young kid and watching young people die made me realize, ‘There’s no time to waste, this is your life, do it now.’”
Her little books tackle the biggest of themes, delivering messages as useful for young minds thrust headlong into a social media world as they are for the parents trying to…