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Amber Hankins Publishes Children’s Book With an Important Lesson

Writer / Shay McCoy
Photographer / Michael Durr

When Amber Hankins set out to write a book, she didn’t know what the content would be but knew she wanted it to center around her daughter. Hankins, one of the co-hosts of WISH-TV’s segment “Life.Style.Live!,” always had the desire to write a children’s book. She sat down two years ago and put pen to paper, and the result was “Curly Q’s, Curly Q’s, Go Away!” Through her book, Hankins encourages young children to embrace who they are and to love the skin they are in. Her daughter Avery has naturally curly hair and grew up struggling to accept it. Now as an 8-year-old, her mother’s book has given her confidence and Hankins says it has been “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Amber Hankins

When it comes to the relationship she has with her daughter, Hankins says Avery loves being a part of the story and helping it come to life. She hoped that what was once a bedtime story that she told her daughter would end up resonating with other children, and let it help them accept the uniqueness of themselves and those around them. She knew the story would make life a little more beautiful, and teach others to gain a new perspective on what makes people special.

Hankins has always loved writing and that is what influenced her to seek a career in the news broadcasting industry. She was drawn to the concept of the news as storytelling, and saw it as an opportunity to tell new stories and ask questions that get to the root of issues. However, she wanted something more and her book was a way to dive back into her passions. Becoming a mother also changed her perspective on many things in life and she aimed to create something that families could pass down to the next generation. Now that she is an author, her background in news has helped her develop a story and tell it well.

Reception for “Curly Q’s, Curly Q’s, Go Away!” has been enthusiastic, and Hankins loves to go to book signings to connect with those who have been impacted by the story. Young girls and their moms will approach her saying they were hoping for a book like hers. Even older women say that they wish they had this kind of book when they were younger because of the powerful message of self-love and acceptance. She knew that the story would be beneficial for young children, but also realized it resonated with adult women who have felt different because of how they look. Hankins says “we are always trying to be someone else,” and when we stop comparing ourselves we can embrace our unique features.

Amber Hankins

Hankins’ writing process began at her mother-in-law’s house where she fulfilled a New Year’s resolution to start writing a children’s book. She wrote notes of the overall original concept and message of the story, doing numerous rewrites and also conducting research to learn more about what makes a children’s book powerful and impactful. Rhyming is used frequently throughout the story to connect children to the message, and the illustrations are light and colorful. Hankins decided on Kids at Heart Publishing, a company out of Cambridge City, to help her figure out where to begin. They are dedicated to the process of children’s books and helped Hankins’ vision. She had specific ideas on what she wanted the illustrations to look like, and the illustrators worked from photos of Avery to create an accurate representation.

Hankins hopes that little girls and boys will be able to grow up with her book, and be able to teach their children and their children’s children the powerful message of embracing the qualities that make them special and beautiful.

“We all have something about ourselves and about our bodies that we don’t love,” she says, adding that it is especially easy to use social media to compare ourselves to others.

She hopes readers come away from the book realizing life would be boring if we were all the same, and she encourages her daughter to appreciate who she is. Now that she has a 3-year-old son, she would love to eventually write a book for him someday to spread the message of self-love.

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