This week, Kaavia James Union Wade’s new children’s book, Shady Baby, hit shelves, and the 2-year-old debut author isn’t going to let dad Dwyane Wade or mom Gabrielle Union take her spotlight. In a new Twitter and Instagram post, as Wade and Union take turns reading from the new book, we hear Kaavia banging away on a piano in the background before she comes running over to let them know how it is: “It’s my turn!”
Today Kaavia is 👑- SHADY BABY is out now. Life lessons, antics, and love all await .
Order: https://t.co/foBzjzVhFK pic.twitter.com/NCxNihLNLo
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) May 18, 2021
If you’ve ever seen Kaavia’s Instagram, you know that this little girl is no-nonsense and will tell you exactly what’s on her mind with her hilarious facial expressions and world-class side eye — which is, incidentally, what earned her the nickname Shady Baby. And now the little girl with the big personality is set to take the literary world by storm with a new children’s book, authored by her celeb parents.
“We are beyond excited to share our first joint passion project, Shady Baby, with the world,” the power couple previously told Essence. “Inspired by our daughter, Kaavia James, we wanted to change the narrative for the word ‘shady’ and disassociate the negative connotations with it.”
Published by Harper Collins and released on Tuesday, Shady Baby follows the titular main character to the park after a “long morning of being fabulous”, where she finds children being not-so-nice to one another. So she does what she does best, throws some side-eye and lets the bullies know exactly what’s up.
Last year, Union told SheKnows that her expressive daughter is not just hamming it up for her Kaavia 1.5 million Instagram followers; that personality is on all the time. “She is unfiltered and unbothered,” Union explained to us. “I made the decision to share her with the world because I’ve shared so much of my pain of the journey of her, to having her be a part of her lives; I need the balance of, I shared so much heartbreak and so much misery. And she’s brought so much hope and inspiration for those of us who have had a different journey towards family.”
“Shade is her superpower, because when Kaavia gives you a look, it’s either you’re not respecting her boundaries or something is happening that she doesn’t like,” Union recently said in a cover story interview for People. “The main takeaway [of the book] is that she’s free to be this amazing, dynamic, shady at times, loving at times, Black little girl when the world has not been so kind to Black girls and women.”
Not only is the book out this week, but Janie and Jack have released a clothing collab with looks inspired by Kaavia and her Shady Baby vibes. From cat-eye and heart-shaped sunglasses to gingham, palm, and flamingo-printed tops and bottoms, both shady and sunny babies will look adorable.
“People see themselves in Kaav,” Wade told People about his celeb-in-her-own-right kid. “Some days you don’t feel like doing your hair. And some days you want to give people shade.”
Raising Kaavia, whom the actor and NBA All-Star welcomed via surrogate in 2018, to have a strong sense of self is important to Union.
“I was raised to assimilate,” Union told People. “I was raised to conform. But we are raising our kids to know they are worthy because they exist. We don’t want them to ever shape shift for anyone else’s approval or acceptance. We want them to be free to be who they are.”
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