The Bonneur family is truly inspirational. Paulette Bonneur is a dedicated mother, higher education professional, small-business owner, author and entrepreneur. Her husband is a military veteran. Their 4-year-old daughter, Harper, is already a book author. The list goes on.
Born small with big dreams
When Paulette was pregnant with her first child, Harper, she was on her way to a wedding when her water broke, but Harper was ready to make her debut. She came four weeks early and because she was born premature, she was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Paulette was also born premature.
Because of their experiences, Paulette and Harper know firsthand that just because you’re born a bit small, doesn’t mean you can’t make a big difference.
Giving back to preemies at Children’s Minnesota
Today, they make outfits for other babies who graduate from the NICU. In their recent donation to Children’s Minnesota on Nov. 20, 2020, Paulette and Harper donated 50 onesies that say “Class of 2020” on them.
They collected donations from different organizations, bought the supplies and handmade each one of them!
“It was definitely interesting. Because they’re for preemies, the onesies are so small,” Paulette said. “I had to use an iron and when I got done with the last one, I felt very accomplished.”
Paulette and Harper’s book: “Everybody Love Your Body”
One night when Harper was younger, her parents told her to go put her pajamas on for bed, she came out of her room naked. She started dancing around, singing a song about her body.
At first, Paulette and her husband didn’t know what to make of their daughter’s behavior. But then they realized, “If that’s what you [Harper] want to do, you should do it. She likes her body, that’s good,” Paulette said.
The naked dance became a routine in the Bonneur household. “When she’s singing the naked song, you can’t help but laugh, and sing too,” said Paulette. Paulette explained they talked with Harper about her body – that only she had control and authority over her body, what different parts of her body do, and so much more. “That’s what inspired the book.”
Paulette took this idea and, along with Harper, wrote “Everybody Love Your Body.” A body-positivity book that aims to teach young girls about some of the awesome things our bodies can do.
Harper is the main character in the book. “We know representation matters, especially in the wake of what was happening in Minneapolis,” said Paulette, referencing the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed.
Spreading the message of body-positivity to patients at Children’s Minnesota
In their November donation, Paulette and Harper also gave 31 copies of “Everybody Love Your Body” to Children’s Minnesota. Through their book, they wanted to give kids in the hospital the message that kids can do anything. “I hope people see that Harper was in the NICU, and she’s doing this now. In general, kids can change the world,” Paulette said.
It’s important to share the message of body positivity with kids. Paulette explains, “Building and fostering confidence in our kids at a very young age is important.”
They also donated 19 copies of “No Thank You! No Extra Germs for Me!” – a book by 5-year-old author, Mya Williamson, that teaches kids how to social distance during COVID-19. The reason Paulette wanted to include this book in their donation is simple. “I wanted to share other kid-preneurs and mom-preneurs that are doing good out there,” Paulette said. “And, representation matters. As a kid, I didn’t see people who looked like me in books or on TV.”
Switching to Children’s Minnesota
Paulette has had four cornea transplants in her lifetime, so she knows the importance of good health care. “I know having a good medical team is really important,” said Paulette. And that’s exactly what she wants for her children.
Recently, they noticed Hunter’s head was flat on one side. They got connected to the Children’s Minnesota specialty care center in Minnetonka in order to get Hunter the help he needs. “Hunter’s physical therapy is going really well. Everyone at Children’s [Minnesota] is so nice,” said Paulette.
This year, Paulette decided to switch both of her kids to receive all their care at Children’s Minnesota. “Children’s [Minnesota] knows what they’re doing because they work on children.”
We want to thank Paulette, Harper and their family for their donations to Children’s Minnesota and the impact they’re making on young kids everywhere. In total, they donated 50 onesies to the NICU, 40 Harper & Hunter LLC., adult face masks, 31 copies of “Everybody Love Your Body” and 19 copies of “No Thank You! No Extra Germs For Me!”