Nonku Kunene Adumetey draws a parallel between the dazzling colors that unite to form a rainbow and the desires she has for humanity.
"I Celebrate My Skin" - which focuses on the themes of colorism, acceptance and individuality - is Adumetey's first published book as a children's author. She discussed her book during a virtual visit with the Fulton Rotary Club at its noon meeting last Wednesday.
"When you think about a rainbow, all of these colors come together to make it beautiful," Adumetey said. "We all have to connect as human beings to make this world beautiful."
In a news release promoting Adumetey's book, " young readers learn that all skin tones, including theirs, are beautiful and worthy of celebrating. They also walk away with an understanding that being inclusive and appreciating diversity are signs of courage, and immense strength."
Adumetey - a native of Eswatini, formerly Swaziland - explained the book's title "embraces and embodies the concept of Ubuntu, which means, 'I am because you are.'"
Adumetey recalled to Rotary members how her family found "contentment and gratitude" despite their impoverished conditions.
"I grew up in humble beginnings," she said. "We didn't have money for electricity, but we always had that laughter. We were always happy with everything we had.
"I'm so proud of where I came from. My inspiration is my family."
Adumetey noted her father stressed academics over material possessions.
"We didn't have riches or treasures, but our dad made sure that we had an education to get to the next level," she said.
Academics actually brought Adumetey to the United States and eventually to Fulton. After two years at Pearson College in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, she received a Davis Family Scholarship to attend Westminster College, where she graduated in 2007.
Adumetey remained in Fulton for two more years, working at Fulton State Hospital to save money to attend the Master's Program in Public Health at Saint Louis University.
She and her husband, Reggie - also a Westminster graduate - live in Chicago with their two young children. Adumetey is a public health leader at Rush Hospital and Northwestern Hospital.
Adumetey spoke fondly of her time in Fulton and at Westminster.
"I was scared of going to (school) in New York or Chicago," she said. "Fulton was very small and settled - you could find your green space there and it was not as loud. I felt more comfortable there."
The genesis for Adumetey to write "I Celebrate My Skin" came in the wake of a sad event - the death of her father in 2017.
"It was mostly to heal. I lost a little bit when he was gone," she said. "It was a hard life for me when he left. Writing opened up a lot of things for me and was an outlet."
Adumetey expects "I Celebrate My Skin" to be "the first book of many I'm hoping to write."
"I want it to be a reminder of humanity, that no matter how we look on the outside, we embrace and love each other," she added.
Adumetey examined the utility of a hand to illustrate the book's theme of unity.
"A hand has all different attributes," she said. "All (the fingers) work together to do amazing things as hands come together.
"As human beings, we need each other to make the world the best it can be."