Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Luke Moyer

Sailors have many options to spend the little free time they get on deployment; they can play video games or watch movies, but Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alex Perez uses his precious minutes to make children’s books for his family.

He wants his kids to change the world, and he is writing a guide for them to do just that. Perez currently has two books in the works, one for his daughters and nephew and one for kids closer to middle school age.

Perez, from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, has been drawing since he was in the 1st grade.

“It was always a hobby of mine,” said Perez. “I would watch cartoons as a kid and just start drawing the characters.”

Whenever Perez drew, he would usually stick to characters from his favorite shows, including Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon. He sometimes drew his own cartoons, but he never thought about writing children’s books until he had kids of his own. Being away from his family while deployed led him to the idea of making a kids book for his daughters and nephew.

“[My daughters] love playing as superheroes, but I keep telling them they don’t need any powers to change the world,” said Perez.

He wanted them to understand that treating people with respect and looking out for one another can be just as heroic as having super strength or being able to fly. Eventually, he had the idea to make a book that explained it to them, a book he calls “A Hero with No Powers!”

The book stars his daughters, Isabel, Ivette, and his nephew, Ian. It explains what being a hero entails. Each page features an illustration by Perez and a short lesson to show the kids how to grow as a person. The small life lessons are simple, but provide a good base for values like treating others with respect and staying positive through adversity.

Perez first decided to make “A Hero with No Powers!” for his family, until he realized publishing his art could help with a cause.
“The reason I’m [publishing] them is to raise money for kids with autism,” said Perez. “My sister’s oldest son [Ian] was diagnosed with autism. She’s going through a hard time, and I want to help out some way.”

If his book goes as well as he hopes, Perez plans on releasing more. Though this is the first story he is trying to publish, he’s constantly working on different projects. Whenever he finds time in his schedule, he pulls out the green notebook he keeps in his pocket and works on his art.

“Medical is busy all the time,” said Perez. “Sometimes I have to take 15 minutes and just draw or write a little.”

Finding the time isn’t always easy, but Perez is used to working in stressful environments. He came to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) after spending a year in Afghanistan. He said that making books for his kids makes him feel closer to them.

“They’re my pride and joy,” said Perez. “They’re my motivation to keep going.”

Perez hopes his work will encourage other Sailors to take some of their free time underway to follow their own passions.

“Maybe [Sailors] will. start expressing themselves with writing or drawing or music,” said Perez. “We really need that, especially here, where we are stuck on the ship. You have to use your brain and create something else.”

Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, John C. Stennis is operating as part of the Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.

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