WASHINGTON — From the moment he hopped onto the scene at a military event at the White House, the second bunny, Marlon Bundo, has been a star on the rise.
"People kind of got a kick out of it. That we had a bunny at all, and that we bought a bunny to DC," Charlotte Pence, the daughter of Vice President Mike Pence, told CBN News.
With almost 25,000 Instagram followers and a rising fan base, Marlon Bundo did what any celebrity would do. He wrote a book.
Well, sort of.
Children's Book for Charity
Charlotte Pence is actually the author behind a new book titled, Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of the Vice President. Second lady Karen Pence did the illustrations.
"We thought it would be really fun to do a children's book that also educated kids on the role of a vice presidency," explained Charlotte.
Supporting the Powerful Effect of Art Therapy
"Tracy's Kids. I've been on the board there for many years," Mrs. Pence said.
"I first got involved when I found out there is something called "art therapy" that affected children so much so that they would ask their parents 'when do I get to go back to the hospital?'"
Mrs. Pence says she's seen the power of this specific healing all over the world from children to veterans. "It's not arts and crafts. It's not like getting your paints out and feeling good after you paint," she explained.
"These are actually therapists who guide you through the art-making process, to actually bring some of the emotion and struggles and trauma that you are actually dealing with to the surface," she continued.
Charlotte's Charity of Choice Fights Human Trafficking
The book also carries a deeper meaning for Charlotte. It supports A21, a nonprofit fighting against human trafficking.
"They have a lot of resources for people and resources for teachers to help teach people the signs of human trafficking. How to notice it and recognize it and how to report it," Charlotte described.
"And through those efforts they have rescued tons of people who have been in these terrible situations and then they've helped them afterwards," she continued.
Evangelist Christian Caine started A21 with the mission to "abolish slavery everywhere." They're certainly spreading the word, with operations in 12 different countries including the US.
"They fight human trafficking, they help survivors get back on their feet. After they are rescued but they also help spread awareness," said Charlotte.
The Marlon Bundo Parody Book
This Marlon Bundo book isn't to be confused with others.
Comedian John Oliver released a parody book at the same time the Pences did as a criticism of the vice president's conservative social views.
Oliver's book raises money for the Trevor Project, a charity dedicated to suicide prevention in LGBTQ youth.
Charlotte is not offended by Oliver's parody, and says she bought a copy of that book, too.
The young filmmaker is no stranger to bringing awareness to important issues.
"In college I was able to work on projects about mental health. My capstone project was a short film about eating disorders, where we interviewed a dancer who had had an eating disorder but ended up becoming a dance therapist to help people with eating disorders, specifically, dancers," she explained.
Beyond raising money for charity, Charlotte and Mrs. Pence, who's been an educator for 25 years, hope the book teaches about civics, too.
In the book, Marlon Bundo's day begins at the Naval Observatory. Then he heads over to Capitol Hill while the vice president presides over the Senate.
The Goal of the Book: Both Fun and Educational
The book is full of educational nuggets.
"At the back of the book we listed several fun facts about the vice presidency or the Naval Observatory or other vice presidents," said Mrs. Pence.
Marlon and the vice president then end their day with scripture, an addition important to the second family.
"[Vice President Pence's] faith is central to his life and we didn't really think it'd be a fair thing to leave it out. It's just a part of who he is and who we are," explained Mrs. Pence.
"And Marlon honestly does, when the vice president is reading, Marlon frequently will run around and nibble at his socks and so it just seemed appropriate to put it end and end the book that way," she continued.
Beyond teaching children about vice presidential duties, they hope this story helps educate people on the dangers of human trafficking and the power of healing through the arts.