Shady Baby will be released by HarperCollins Publishers on May 18

By Sam Gillette
January 28, 2021 11:00 AM
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Last year, Gabrielle Union-Wade published a bestselling kids' book inspired by the arrival of daughter Kaavia James. Now, she's teaming up with husband Dwyane Wade for a Kaavia-inspired picture book collaboration!

Shady Baby celebrates "a powerful, funny, and super-cute, Black girl character who always keeps it real," according to the press release. The children's book, illustrated by Tara Nicole Whitaker, will be released by HarperCollins Publishers on May 18.

"This is our first children's book we did together and we're so excited for the world to read Shady Baby," the actress, 48, and NBA champion, 39, tell PEOPLE in an exclusive joint statement. "Inspired by our daughter, Kaavia James, we wanted to create a children's book that not only had a little Black girl as the main character but that also reflects the global community we live in."

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade with daughter Kaavia
| Credit: Gabrielle Union/Instagram

"We hope to give the word 'shady' a more positive association and use it to represent one's moral compass to do the right thing and stand up for themselves and others," they continued. "It's important that little Black girls and boys get to see themselves in these fairy tales and for children of other races to see us in leadership roles."

Credit: HarperCollins Publishers

In Shady Baby, the baby girl goes to the park to relax, only to meet some bullies. She quickly sets them straight and receives love and support from the other little ones nearby.

From the start, the Wades have been captivated by their own "shady baby," Kaavia, whom they welcomed via surrogate in November 2018. (Wade also has three children from a previous marriage, sons Xavier Zechariah, 7, Zaire, 18, and daughter Zaya, 13.)

Since her birth, Kaavia has garnered more than 1.5 million followers, who love her bold and beautiful personality. "Since she was born, you could always tell what she was thinking just by looking at her," explains the press release. "Thus, her Shady Baby persona was born!"

Kaavia inspired her mom to release a line of clothing for infants ages 0 to 24 months with New York & Company in May 2019. Less than a year later, Union-Wade published Welcome to the Party, inspired by Kaavia's birth.

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade with Zaya and Kaavia
| Credit: Gabrielle Union/Instagram

RELATED VIDEO: Gabrielle Union Celebrates Daughter's Birth via Surrogate in New Children's Book: 'My Love Letter'

Back in February 2019, Union-Wade told PEOPLE that her daughter gets her sass from her mom. "She looks just like Dad, but I'd like to think the attitude is from me," the star said at the time. "She will stare into your soul and tell you about yourself through her eyes."

Both Union-Wade and her husband are excited to continue to share their daughter's strength and intelligence with the world.

"Shady Baby is not only a book that children will enjoy, but it is the book the world needs right now," editor Luana Horry said in a statement. "Shady Baby is adorable, she makes us laugh, and has important things to say!"

Shady Baby will hit bookstores on May 18.