Nichole Hawkins journey to becoming an author is quite unique.
She had applied to be a literacy specialist at Lauren Simone Publishing and although that didn’t work out, LSP seemed to pop up wherever she was. Like at an event hosted by Capital Flea Market, however, even then the cards didn’t fall into place. It wasn’t until Hawkins reunited with Dr. Melissa-Sue John at reSET business accelerator that everything fell together. Now she has just published her first children's book, “You are the "U" in Unique” which just released today!! I took the time to sit down with Hawkins to talk about her unique writing career and what led her to Lauren Simone Publishing.
Nichole Hawkins began her writing career when she wrote this book in April of 2021. For Nichole, this book was a lightning bolt moment. During the pandemic, she had been working on her media presence which led to her being asked to hold story time live events. It was during these story times was when she developed her tagline and also realized just how important needing a sense of connection was. Hawkins had never really considered writing a book and it wasn’t until the pandemic where she supported other authors and held her story times that she began feeling inspired to write.
For Hawkins, writing this book seemed predestined. So much so, that when it came time to write the second draft it was a near replica of the first one because the story had become so ingrained within Hawkins, it had become a piece of her.
These little pieces of Nichole can be seen woven within the story. In fact, part of the reason she wrote the book was because she wanted to prove to others and herself that being you is enough. "All of your idiosyncrasies are okay and you don't have to act like or be anything other than who you are. Embrace your true self and do not dull your light, ” says the author.
It also made her reflect on all the times children seemed confused or asked why when she told them they are special. Hawkins wanted to give them a reason and show that even if they are twins they aren’t exactly the same and to feel empowered by their uniqueness.
The other pieces of Nichole come from the characters who are all based on children that crossed her path in daycare. These semi-fictional characters were being birthed through their names and stories. CocoaMocha is the nickname Nichole’s own grandmother gave her. Maysun was named after both her sons who are born in May.
Her son is Jamaican American like the character Lauryn, whose named after a little girl from her daycare. Her son's literary character is Able, who has a very old school, hip hop vibe about him, and the name was one Nichole considered. This book not only reflects different pieces of Nichole and children who have crossed her path, but two characters are also based on the illustrators family who happen to connect beautifully to other children Nichole has cared for.
This book is for ALL children, but especially for those who feel like they have to be anything other than themselves. To the children who need to hear it’s okay to let your light shine. All children need to hear this early and often. That no matter what situation a child may be in, although it may seem like we are subtracting a piece of you “that is not taking anything away from the wholeness of who you are.”
That's what this book is all about: being unabashedly you.
Want to know how you can be a you-nique version of yourself and let your light shine? Be sure to check out Nichole Hawkins’ You are the U in Unique!