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Teen Author Urges Young Readers to ‘Stand Beautiful’

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in Local

IMG 2903Chloe Howard has faced hard things in her 18 years. She was born with a club foot and has gone through several intense surgeries, yet she was always told by her parents "that I was beautiful and special and that God made me for a purpose," she said.

It wasn't until she was assaulted at her small Christian school that she saw her foot as something negative. When two girls forcibly removed her shoe and showed her foot to friends, they turned what Chloe always thought of as uniquely hers into an object of shame.

The police got involved and, eventually, the two girls stood trial. No asking for forgiveness, to apologizing, no moving forward. She was "Chloe the Victim," she says in her new book "Stand Beautiful: A Story of Brokenness, Beauty & Embracing It All," recently released by Zondervan. Until Chloe met Bono after her dad entered and won an online contest. Yes, that Bono.

That Bono said, "You stay available for work, and the work will wash over you."

"That kickstarted my true healing process," she said recently during a trip to Grand Rapids from her Southern California home. "It brought me out of the pit I'd been hiding in."

Since then she's written two books, given a TEDx talk, spoken before crowds, been on television and radio, and met one of her heroes, the surfer Bethany Hamilton.

For a girl who spent a lot of time reading, it was a little harder to be on the other side as a writer. But write she did when Zondervan approached her with two book ideas: one for a young adult book and other for a picture book, both titled "Stand Beautiful," the movement Chloe spearheaded (www.beautiful.chloehoward.com).

The young adult book addresses her assault, her journey to healing, and how God has helped her "stand beautiful." Pictures are included.

"When I think about my 14-year-old self, I would tell her that she wasn't alone in what she was going through," she said. "The younger Chloe is so much stronger than she thinks, and she's bigger than the label of 'victim.' She has the power to be resilient."

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Her picture book "Stand Beautiful" features a giraffe—based on a real giraffe at the Santa Barbara zoo—with a crooked neck and a host of other animals and friends who feel less than perfect. One little girl, who hides her foot in a boot, encourages them all to "Stand Beautiful!"

"Following my assault I needed to hear the message that I wasn't alone," she said. "I really wanted that message brought to me in book form even though I had supportive friends and family. One of the best ways to share a story is through a book."

Chloe Howard, now 18, is heading off to a Christian liberal arts college in the fall to major in communications. She'll continue speaking and sharing her story.

"I have no way of knowing where Stand Beautiful will go, but I know that God will keep showing up and I'll keep standing up," she said.

Purchase both versions of "Stand Beautiful" at Baker Book House and other retailers.
Author Information
Ann Byle
Ann Byle is a freelance writer and owner of AB Writing Services. She writes for a number of publications including WMCN, Publishers Weekly, CBA Christian Market and Grand Rapids Magazine, and is author or coauthor of several books including The Baker Book House Story, The Call to Care: A Compassionate Response to Caring for Vulnerable Children (2018) and Christian Publishing 101 (2018). She and her husband Ray, a science teacher, have four young adult children.

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