Local 9-year-old publishes superhero book

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 27, 2018

 Darien Belcher Jr., 9, of Macomb Township, had his first book published in May, titled “The Story of the Curse.” The story and initial illustrations were done by Darien.

Darien Belcher Jr., 9, of Macomb Township, had his first book published in May, titled “The Story of the Curse.” The story and initial illustrations were done by Darien.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — In second grade, most kids may be content with playing outside or playing video games. But not Darien Belcher Jr.

When he was in second grade, Darien wrote a book, including the story and drawing the illustrations. It took two years, but this March, Darien’s book, “The Story of the Curse,” was published and made available to the public.

Not too bad for a 9-year-old Cheyenne Elementary School student getting ready to enter the fifth grade this fall.

“It was fun and it came naturally, so it wasn’t that hard,” Darien said. “I was only in second grade, so I was not thinking of it being published. But a lot of people have liked it and I have read it to my school.”

The idea of putting a book together started when Darien was in a summer school program and his teacher asked the students to challenge themselves by creating something. Darien’s mother, Johnessa Belcher, said the challenge for Darien was to write a story.

Upon seeing the final product, Johnessa said her and Darien’s father were surprised, but knew Darien had the ability.

“I knew he was artistic and liked drawing pictures,” Johnessa said. “He has a great imagination and he wrote every single thing in that book, which was definitely a surprise. His dad and I, we didn’t help with one word.”

The story is centered around Lego Boy, which is a superhero based on Darien and named after one of Darien’s favorite toys. Lego Boy has six arms and can climb really fast, as well as fly.

Lego Boy is part of a superhero friends group, which Darien said are based on his friends. Their powers range from the power to control electricity and fire to controlling wood.

Together, the team is trying to stop “the bad guys,” with one being based on a crab and another named Slimey Boy. Darien said the bad guys stole something and the friends are trying to get it back.

Darien said he has always liked to draw, so he started there and then figured out the story.

“I drew the characters and then wrote the words around them,” he said. “I like both, but I enhanced the book with my drawings.”

Johnessa said the family had talked about publishing it, but never really looked into it and sat on it for two years. But Darien kept talking about getting it published, so Johnessa made contact with My Little Stories Publishing, which publishes children’s books.

Darien and his parents worked with the publishers on the manuscript while the company’s illustrator took Darien’s pictures and modified them for print. Johnessa said the family’s only request was to “keep the essence” of the original drawings by Darien.

Since it came out in March, Darien has attended several book signings and sold around 400 books at those signings. He will also be doing a signing at the Michigan Lavender Festival this July in Armada.

Johnessa said Chippewa Valley Superintendent Ron Roberts also recognized Darien’s achievement and said he hoped it would motivate other kids to follow their dreams and put their minds on completing a project.

“He really made the characters flow in the story and people have liked the illustrations,” Johnessa said. “People have said it is a very good book for a second grader, and not only that, but the pictures make it more amusing and the kids can see the superheroes.”

Darien has already put together a story for a second book, and Johnessa said they are hoping to have it published by Darien’s 10th birthday. The goal, Darien said, is to make it a trilogy based around the superhero friends.

As for what is next, Darien said he wants to be a scientist when he grows up, but also wants to keep writing.

“Being an author will probably be my side job,” Darien said.

Darien’s book can be purchased at thestoryofthecurse.bigcartel.com, or on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.