Student Darion Harding: Not Your Average Children’s Book Author

Darion Harding grew up in an environment where nobody pushed him to think about his future. Most of the people around him lived day by day, and he knew he didn’t want to live like that.

Harding knew he wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a published author. That dream recently came true when his story about a kiwi bird came to life in a children’s book.

Harding, now 25, started writing the book, Can Henry Make It, in between classes at North Hennepin Community College when he was 20. Harding said he never intended to write a children’s book and that it “just happened”. He was writing short stories and dramas and started to write about an animal. That work snowballed into a manuscript for Can Henry Make It. He also credits his sister’s children as motivation for the book.

The story takes place in New Zealand and follows a lost kiwi bird, Henry, as he tries to fit in with other creatures that have wings. He eventually realizes that it’s okay to be different. The story is meant to deliver a strong message and, according to Harding, relate to all readers.

“I wanted to encourage not only kids, but all readers, that no matter who they are, or what they are: they are important,” he said. “You never have to hold yourself back because of what others expect you to do or be.”

Once Can Henry Make It was published, Harding knew that it wasn’t over. He knew he had to get out and promote his work. He’s visited several elementary schools to read his book and had it reviewed by critics.

Harding, who’s a young African American man, thinks other young writers can relate to him.

“I don’t look like the typical writer,” he said. “With that in mind, my hopes were that I could inspire someone to go after their goal, no matter what others think they are capable of.”

Harding grew up in Brooklyn Park and said he had a good childhood because of his mother, who kept him in check.

“You can say I grew up in the ‘Hood’,” he said. “But I knew I didn’t want to be defined by that. That’s one reason why I work so hard.”

Harding is currently attending Metro State for Screenwriting. He has many dreams including writing for TV and making a successful film adaptation. For right now, he’s focused on writing his Henry series. The next book in the series, Henry’s Best Christmas, is also available.

People can buy both books at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, both in physical and electronic form.

Harding said young writers should not be discouraged. He was in the same boat and kept pursuing his goal. He knows that his writing can only improve from this point on. He wants his readers to come along with him on what he calls his journey.

“If you think you are good and want something, go out there and be great at it,” he said.