Youth Award - Anna Banas-Chen
Rainbow the Cat Makes New Friends is a children’s book about overcoming shyness, making new friends, and finding the courage to face the first day of school. What’s most remarkable is its author, Anna Banas-Chen, was five years old when she wrote it in 2019. In an act of profound generosity, Anna has directed all profits from the book to three non-profit organizations: United Nations Children's Fund, Little Free Library, and Dakin Humane Society.
In recognition of her creativity and initiative, she has received Dakin’s Youth Award, which honors a hero, 16 years or younger, who displays extraordinary care and compassion to make a difference in the lives of animals and makes the world a kinder and gentler place.
Anna was inspired by her school reading buddy to write Rainbow, about a cat who wears a rainbow jacket when she needs courage as she adjusts to school life. The decision to direct part of the book’s proceeds to Dakin was simple. “I love animals because they are really cute, and I want to help them,” she said.
State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo was present at a Dakin gathering in 2020 to celebrate Anna’s support and stated, “I am so impressed with Anna not only with her writing skills, but the care and compassion that she has to make our community a better place, and her desire to help people and animals through her words and generosity.”
Anna has another book, Rainbow the Cat Goes to the Farm, coming out this year, but she’s keeping her future open. “I’m not sure if I’ll be a full-time writer when I grow up,” she said. “I would like to run an animal shelter and go horseback riding.”
About winning the Youth Award she stated, “I feel happy to help animals, and I’m proud.” Anna is looking forward to another milestone; getting her own first pet. That will happen when her mom decides “that I can be fully responsible to take care of a pet.”
Hopefully, that won’t be too long a wait. And that will be one lucky pet.