8-year-old writes ‘I Remember Dad’ book to tackle grief after father’s death

Braylon Cotton’s dad died in a car accident in 2016 when Braylon was 3 years old

An 8-year-old Oakland County boy deals with grief and discusses the loss of his father in his book.

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. – At the age of 8, a Farmington Hills boy is already a published author.

Braylon Cotton is writing about a subject near and dear to his heart, a topic that’s hard for even many adults to process.

Cotton is tackling the grief of losing his father, Nick Thornton, in a car crash five years ago.

“I Remember Dad” is Cotton’s first book. Every page features a cherished memory with his dad.

Cotton reads his book aloud with pride.

“I remember my dad and I practicing basketball and now people tell me that I play just like him,” Cotton said.

Cotton is talented on and off the basketball court.

“My favorite subject in school is like writing and math,” Cotton said.

It’s his passion for reading that sparked an idea to write a book of his own. Once a week his mom, LaToya takes him to the library.

“I think it was around last Christmas when we I got a new book from a young child author from Chicago and it was about bullying and things like that. And I remember we were riding in a car one day and I asked him I said, ‘Braylon, do you want to write a book?’” LaToya said.

They instantly knew what the book would be about and the writing came easily.

LaToya said she is still surprised at how much her son remembers about his dad.

“He would say, ‘My dad used to wear long socks, I need long socks on’ so the book pretty much wrote itself over the years because it’s all his ideas and all the things that he remembered put together,” LaToya said.

Some of the memories in the book are from when Cotton would bake cookies, dress up in Halloween costume and play sports with his dad. Other memories include visiting his dad’s grave.

Braylon knows sharing those moments isn’t just helping him, but other young children grieving.

“People might have lost their mom or dad or somebody that they really love. Maybe this book can help them out and they could tell a story about their dad or mom,” said Braylon.

LaToya continues to tell Braylon how proud she is of him. She said his father would be proud too.

“He would like that I put in a lot of effort into the book and me and him are spending time together in the book,” Cotton said.

“I Remember Dad” will officially release December 12. You can preorder here or order on Amazon.

November is Children’s Grief Awareness Month.

Read: More local news coverage

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.