Just as University of Arkansas – Fort Smith student Amanda Key of Fort Smith is pursuing her dream of bettering the environment by attending UAFS, she is also trying to help children chase their dreams.
Key recently published a children’s book called “Special Delivery – Future Message for ALL KIDS,” a book that inspires children to pursue their aspirations. Written as a rhyme book from the future, the book details the different kinds of kids needed to help the future world, as well as a list of important tips and reminders that will help children as they grow. Key has published two different editions of the book – a full- color version and a coloring book version.
The book started with a poem that came to Key in a dream, influenced by a rhyming game she would play with her daughter.
“I woke up and thought, ‘I have to write this down,’” she said.
As Key thought more about the poem, she realized its potential to become a book that could send a powerful message to children that may feel their dreams are out of reach.
“I was like a lot of these kids growing up,” Key said.. “There's a lot of poverty in this city, and that can really affect how children view themselves and what they think they can accomplish in life,” Key said. “I was raised by a single mom and was on the free lunch program all throughout school. I want to advocate for other children who are in the same position. They can accomplish just about anything if they really want it and work hard for it.”
The book started as a coloring book Key published last year, but Key she fleshed out a children’s book version of the text with the help of expertise at the university. After learning more about the ins and outs of publishing, she enrolled in the digital imaging and typography class at the letterpress studio at UAFS, which helped her improve her book’s readability.
“When I originally made it, I made the text in all capital letters until my professor told me there’s research that kids have problems reading words in all caps,” she said. “I learned a lot of other things, like page bleed, that helped make the book better.”
Following its publication, Key donated copies of the book to local schools in Fort Smith and with plans to donate to more. When the book was read to her daughter’s class, Key was overwhelmed by the response.
“The way that the kids responded and shared their dreams with me was just an amazing feeling,” she said. “It touched my heart.”
As a geosciences major, Key hopes to find a job in Fort Smith after graduation that will help protect the local environment. She also plans to write additional children’s books with the goal of getting youth interested in math and science.
For more information about the book, visit https://www.facebook.com/amandajokey.books.