Chantilly: Exploring with ‘Dozi the Alligator’

Chantilly: Exploring with ‘Dozi the Alligator’

CHS grad pens his first children’s book.

Everyone craves a little adventure sometimes.

Chantilly High School alumnae Daniel Boris’ first children’s book. “Dozi the Alligator Finds a Family.” explores this topic through rhyme and illustrations.

Dozi, a small alligator, longs to explore the world beyond his swamp in Florida. He hides in the car of a vacationing family before they leave the amusement park near his swamp.

“One day Dozi goes from daydreaming to exploring and then he’s out in the world. It is a huge confusing place but he’s ready to do more than watch. Similar to the way children are eager to greet the world and see what’s out there,” Boris said.

He believes the book provides both children and parents with a universal storyline of “going on an adventure, taking those first few steps towards the greater world and finding answers to your questions.”

“I believe it is a great bedtime story to ask your little one, ‘What do you see outside? What do you wonder about? Where do you want to go?’” he said.

“Dozi the Alligator Finds a Family,” released in May, is the first in a children’s book series published by Heritage Builders Publishing.

The author’s inspiration for the book came from a character in his comic strip, “Hoxwinder Hal,l, which was selected as a finalist in the Washington Post’s “America's Next Great Cartoonist” contest in 2010.

It was his deep desire to share his work with younger audiences that motivated him to become a children’s book writer. As a comic strip artist, he was always a visual artist. With the exception of composing a few writing gags for his comic strip, he had never written anything. So, the thought of writing a children’s book was a little intimidating.

However, like Dozi, Boris decided to test the waters despite his trepidation.

During the next three months, he experienced both peaks and valleys in his writing. However, he did not allow the challenges to get to him. “Sometimes ideas and words flow easily, but often you just need to set it all aside and come back to it after a good night’s rest,” he said.

Boris also made a conscious decision to use rhyme in the book because the children’s stories that he enjoyed most as a child also used rhyme.

“Personally, my ultimate goal is to stoke imaginations and inspire young minds the way my favorite children’s stories did for me when I was a child,” he said.

His favorite childhood book was “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” by Julie Edwards.

Boris knew he would need a specific illustration style to bring the main character, Dozi, to life. Immediately, he begin researching artists with portfolios online ito find someone to bring this vision to life. His answer came in the form of an artist named Nicola Sammarco in Italy.

So, he contacted Nicola Sammarco through e-mail, introduced himself, and asked if he was interested in illustrating his book. Several weeks later, they were working on the illustrations.

“Dozi the Alligator Finds a Family” is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Individuals can also purchase signed copies, stickers, and post cards from

A native of Arlington, Daniel Boris attended and graduated from Chantilly High School in the 1980s.

During his time at Chantilly High, he remembers running cross-country and track. In particular, the time he ran two miles in under 10 minutes.

Currently, he resides in Leesburg with his wife, Sue, and two children, Rachel and Jake.