Local teen author helps children learn healthy habits with new book

By Barbara Latkowski

Some habits are hard to break, but it’s never too late to learn something new for local teen author, Rhythm Dang.

The 17-year-old has just published her first book, Poutine Routine, to help young children learn new healthy habits.

“I always see young children nowadays with their iPads watching videos. I thought of somehow using this technology to our benefit,” Dang said.

“With my online picture book, children can learn good habits, while being entertained by colourful pictures. And it’s interactive.”

It all started when Dang herself received a tablet from her father.

“I saw Kindle and there was such a large collection of books. Since I was a child, I have always loved drawing and writing. I always enjoyed performing and creating. I’ve always had a creative side. So, I saw this as an opportunity to put something out there, something that is my own,” Dang said.

“My mother suggested that I write a book. During the pandemic, I felt that kids were not able to get together with their peers and develop social time.”

Dang recently graduated from Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener and says that as a teenager, she missed out on a lot of the ‘normal’ experiences.

“My first dance was my prom. I missed out on all of those experiences,” she said.

But learning good habits, from working out to scheduling her time, has helped Dang feel more accomplished.

“By adding these good habits, I use my time more effectively, I feel more present. But this wasn’t always there for me,” Dang said.

When Dang was 10-years-old, she and her family moved to Canada from India.

“That shift really impacted my childhood and development,” Dang said.

“Back then, I didn’t know what having ‘balance’ was. At 14, I knew that I had to make a change. And because I added these good habits into my life, I am happy. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist. But at the end of the day, it’s also about the small accomplishments too. I don’t take anything for granted.”

In high school, Dang was enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program.

“It was academically rigorous with little time to engage socially. There was a lot of pressure,” Dang said.

“But adding healthy habits into my overall wellness, really impacted me.”

With her new online book, Dang said she hopes children will learn to develop a routine and live a more balanced life.

“Technology is not a bad thing. I think it is the way in which it is used. Teens often feel they are missing out and are checking to see how many followers they have. This is a time when they are trying to find their own identity,” Dang said.

“For kids, I think technology is great. They can use their iPad to learn.”

With her new book, Dang hopes to help parents work with their children to develop good habits.

“So, far, I’ve been hearing good things. I think people appreciate the pictures and the brightness. And parents are really enjoying it too,” Dang said.

Since completing Poutine Routine last month, Dang looks forward to studying at the University in Waterloo in the fall.

“I will be studying bio-medical sciences. Since I was a child, I always did well in maths and sciences. I hope to get into healthcare in the future,” Dang said.

And as for her creative side, Dang said she has a couple of future book ideas.

“I am thinking about writing about my immigrant story,” Dang said.

“I am excited about these projects because I love writing and drawing. It’s all hands-on.”

As for healthy habits, Dang hopes she can help make a difference for children and parents.

“I really hope they have a moment like I had, to feel the need to live a more balanced life,” Dang said.

“We only have one, so it should be fulfilling.”

To purchase Poutine Routine on Amazon visit here or on Instagram: @potineroutineellie

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