A move to west Michigan inspires children’s book.

June 29, 2022

A move to west Michigan inspires children’s book.

Grown Locally is presented by House of Flavors Restaurant of Ludington and features locally owned businesses and locally produced products.

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, correspondant.

HART – Growing up in California, author Amber Hellewell and her husband knew that they wanted to raise their three children in a slower and more intentional atmosphere, so six years ago they decided to move to west Michigan.

“We didn’t know anyone and came out with our car completely stuffed, excited and really scared about this new adventure,” Hellewell said. “We started out in Ludington in a tiny A-frame and currently live in Hart. I grew up in the central valley of California and some of my favorite memories growing up there are of family trips to the beach and hikes in the meadows near Yosemite. Enjoying the natural beauty of Michigan everyday makes me feel like I am (almost) always on vacation.”

Amber Hellewell

Because of the atmosphere and the daily reminders of all that west Michigan had to offer her and her family, Hellewell was inspired to write a children’s book based on her experiences she has had with her family since moving here.

“I have always loved to create and have spent much of my career writing and illustrating homeschool materials,” she said. “As a young girl, I dreamed of being a children’s book author, but I never dreamed that it could really happen. As a child, some of my greatest joys were found within stories and I have tried to help my children develop into little book worms too. Our family has had a lot of challenges and transitions over the past decade, but one thing that has always been a comforting and steadying influence has been the local library wherever we live. Stories matter and I am so honored to be part of that community in a new way.”

Hellewell’s book Summer’s Call: A Michigan Day was picked up by Cherry Lake Publishing Group, which is also known for the books The Legend of Sleeping Bear, Tallulah, Mermaid of the Great Lakes and The Legend of the Petoskey Stone. The book came out earlier this year and is available for purchase.

“The concept for the book came from an experience that I had had many times in Michigan, as birds returned and the whole world began to wake up,” Hellewell said. “I had noticed it each year, but during the pandemic, the shift was even more dramatic. Not only was the town opening up and coming back to life, but I could feel this shift within my own spirit that was tangible. I ran home from the walk I was on and wrote down my thoughts. Those little musings became the story I submitted to Sleeping Bear Press.”

Although published as a children’s book, Hellewell said the message of the book resonates with all ages, especially those who have ever visited a place that they hold dear in their hearts, like her own family does here in West Michigan.

“The book is written for all ages,” she stated. “It looks like a children’s book, but adults who read it will recognize the magical transformation that they also experience as summertime comes to our area. I hope that children will see themselves and their home within the pages, and that parents will be inspired to go outside and enjoy our beautiful state.”

You can find signed copies of the book at Storybook Village in Pentwater all year long. On June 3, Hellewell will be doing a special story time at Sandcastles Children’s Museum and will be doing a book tour on Mackinac Island and Grand Traverse Bay July 7-9. Book readings and story times can be found directly by emailing, [email protected].

“I’ve been asked a lot if more books will be coming, and my answer is, ‘absolutely,’”Hellewell said. “I am thrilled to continue the journey through each of the seasons, and have a few other projects that having been living in my brain for the past 20 years. I am excited to have the opportunity to pursue those dreams.”

Grown Locally is presented by House of Flavors Restaurant, 402 W. Ludington Ave., owned locally by the Neal family for over 70 years; 231.845.5785; Facebook. Now offering free dine-in ice cream with any meal after 11 a.m. through April 30, 2022. 

If you would like to make a suggestion for a locally owned business, service or product to be featured on Mason County Press, please send an email to Rob Alway, editor-in-chief: [email protected].

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