DJ Kutmaster Spaz’s personal story fosters empathy in new children’s book

September 26 – “Kamoho the chameleon plays hide and seek”

By Kelly Gray Marrotte; illustrated by Kelsie Kalohi $ 12.99, self-published Derrick Kamohoalii Bulatao was born and raised in Windward Oahu. It was a difficult life. Young Derrick was as smart as the other kids, but when it came to fitting in he had three goals against him.

First, he suffered from dyslexia, a neurological disorder that prevented him from reading, writing and spelling. He also suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Dyspraxia, aka Developmental Coordination Disorder. ADHD made it difficult for her to pay attention and keep quiet at school. The DCD made it particularly awkward. And he stammered.

Schools did not have programs for children with these problems. Young Derrick was sent to classes of students who, in the politically incorrect term of the day, were “retarded.”

Children and teens can be cruel creatures. They had a lot of insults for the children who didn’t belong. Young Derrick heard them all, but he didn’t believe them.

He “broke through the various obstacles” and learned on his own the skills he needed to become a professional remixer / DJ and host. Winning a “cup” competition earned him the title of “Kutmaster”. To that he added one of the insults he was taunted with and became Kutmaster Spaz.

“Spaz” for short.

In a new children’s book, “Kamoho the Chameleon Plays Hide & Seek”, written by Kelly Gray Marrotte and illustrated by Kelsie Kalohi, Bulatao shares his childhood experiences and the life lessons he learned from them with young readers. and their parents.

“I took ‘Spaz’ as a DJ name to show them that you can take a negative and turn it into a positive,” he explained. “Also for me to never forget where I come from and to always try to help others.

In the years since this crucial transformation, Bulatao has built a career as a DJ, media producer, production manager, promotions manager, voiceover talent and actor. He is the CEO of DIS-N-DAT Media, teaches digital media at Maryknoll Middle School, and actively promotes the benefits of a positive drug-free and tobacco-free lifestyle.

He also works tirelessly to reduce bullying, and he hopes the new book will be a vehicle for that.

The story follows Kamoho, a sympathetic young chameleon from Jackson, who is intimidated by other young chameleons because he is in special education classes. Several of them include him in a game of hide-and-seek that doesn’t go well, but Kamoho later makes an important discovery that helps him keep going and find true friends.

The story ends with a life lesson that all children will find useful no matter where they are in the social hierarchy of their school.

“Derrick was a kid who was bullied, who couldn’t stand up for himself. Spaz is the person who was finally able to stand up and give a voice to those in need,” Bulatao said. “So I love it when people call me ‘Spaz’.”

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