Kid Idols! Dylan Siegel's Million Dollar Friendship

Our children grow up in a world where they’re expected to play, to perform, and possibly to mind their manners. And by all means….#lethembelittle. BUT….do they feel empowered? Inspired? Do they know that they can really do something great…no matter how big or little that thing might be?

Too often, the world can make you feel so small with its comments, “You’re just a kid”…"You’re too little" pushing you into irrelevance, weakness, or worse when what you really need is to know you can be great.

Our Kid Idols series offers up some truly amazing role models across all fields who inspire us with their passion, their talent, and their refusal to be “just a kid.” Share these stories with your own children and show them that they can be little and mind-blowingly awesome.

When Dylan Siegel was just six years old, he wrote a book. That would be amazing enough, but that’s only the beginning of a truly incredible, inspiring story.

The book is called Chocolate Bar, and its publication (with the help of Dylan’s mom Debra) came about because the boy wanted to help find a cure for an extremely rare condition that afflicts his best friend, Jonah Pournazarian.

Four years ago, Dylan’s mom was driving her son home from a playdate at Jonah’s house when Dylan started asking questions about why Jonah was sick. She gently told him that Jonah had a rare condition that he could die from, explained that there was no cure, and that doctors needed money to find one. Dylan said he wanted to help. “I said, ‘Great! I love that!’” Debra stated in an interview with the Kind Word Podcast. “‘Do you want to do a bake sale? Do you want to do a lemonade stand?’ He looked at me like I was insane. What horrible ideas. Later that night I was putting him to bed, and he said, ‘I thought about what I want to do for Jonah.’ I didn’t even think he would bring it up again. He said, ‘I’m going to write a book.’”

The next day, Dylan took out his markers and wrote and illustrated a storybook he dedicated to Jonah. The Los Angeles first-grader penned the adventure based around the words he and Jonah use to describe the awesomeness of their friendship: chocolate bar.

With a humble beginning at a school event in 2012, Dylan sold 200 copies of his book plus 100 custom wrapped chocolate bars (donated by Whole Foods Market), making over $5,000 in just a few hours. Now the $20 book, which has been sold to readers in all 50 states and in nearly 60 countries, has topped $1 million in sales, all of which have gone directly to the University of Florida research lab working to find a cure.

Only one in a million people have Jonah's condition. It’s a liver disorder called glycogen storage disease type 1B. The malady makes it difficult to process glucose and requires Jonah to follow a strict regimen where he must consume a special cornstarch mixture every three hours... one missed feeding could lead to seizures and even death. His mom and dad, Lora and Rabin, tend to their son around the clock.

Dylan and Jonah are now 10 years old, and are still BFF’s. The boys look forward to the day when Jonah will be able to eat one of the chocolate bars that has come to his aid, but for now the search for a cure continues.

Thanks to one enterprising young author, that cure is closer than ever before.

Know of any real-life superhero kids? Share with us!

Cover image by Michael Smiy

Tags : kid idols   

Anya Henners
Very sweet
Vanessa Bertelli
So sweet. Real hero.
Kira Smirnova
Love this so much.