All over the world, reading bedtime stories is a very popular parent-child bonding activity, and children’s storybooks are a source of entertainment for children, teaching them vital skills such as reading and mathematics.
As demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, proper health education is important, even at a young age, allowing children to understand basic health concepts and take steps to protect their own health, as well as others’. Seeing the potential in children’s books in strengthening health education, clinician-turned-author Ken Korber created the Little Health Ambassadors series of books.
Prior to becoming an author, Korber was a surgical and cardiovascular physician assistant for 20 years. His passion has always been on patient education and health promotion, which he is continuing in his children’s books. Korber seeks to extend the health learning experience beyond the 10-minute doctor’s office visit and bring it to children’s homes and classrooms.
The Little Health Ambassador’s series’ protagonist is eight-year-old Grace, who was originally a grace note in sheet music that was transformed into a young girl by the magic of music during a holiday concert in the first book, The Musical Adventures of Grace – Winter Story. Across various stories, readers meet Grace’s other friends as they go on various adventures that teach children about reading, music, and health.
According to Korber, the inspiration for Grace came from the sheet music belonging to his son, who is a cellist. Korber noticed the small notes beside the larger notes on the pages, and he asked his son about it, who answered that these were grace notes that add color to a musical piece.
With stroke being the second-leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, Korber will launch a book, titled Grace Saves The Day With FAST, in November, teaching young readers about stroke and how to recognize its symptoms. FAST is an internationally recognized mnemonic that helps people spot a suspected stroke and assess whether to seek emergency help. It stands for Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call emergency services.
Grace, from Grace Saves The Day With FAST, co-authored by Ken Korber and his friend Bill Turck
In the book, Grace learns about the signs and symptoms of stroke, and is able to spot them in her elderly aunt. With the help of Arco, her talking dog, Grace is able to ask for help, saving her aunt’s life.
Korber co-authored the book with his friend Bill Turck, a radio commentator and stroke survivor. In 2022, Turck was on vacation when he suffered a stroke, and timely intervention allowed him to survive and make a complete recovery. The book combines Korber’s medical knowledge and Turck’s personal experience, making it both accurate and relatable. Grace Saves The Day With FAST is coming out in early November 2023, soon after World Stroke Day on October 29.
According to Korber, the potential of the Little Health Ambassadors extends beyond the US, and he is looking for partners to translate and publish his books overseas, especially in areas that greatly need education about a particular health or safety issue. Data from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), showed that the three countries with the highest risk of stroke are China, Latvia, and Romania. Thus, Korber believes that Grace Saves The Day With FAST getting translated into Chinese, Latvian, and Romanian languages will be incredibly helpful in educating children, as well as parents, on how to spot signs of a stroke.
“Throughout my career, it’s always been my goal to teach people about the importance of health,” Korber says. “It’s never too early to start, as healthy children are more likely to grow up into healthy adults. My hope for Grace Saves The Day With FAST is that it helps children and their parents understand the importance of being able to quickly recognize the signs of stroke in other people and quickly call for help.. When it comes to stroke, time is of the essence, and a few precious minutes could spell the difference between life and death.”
Click here for more information about Ken and his characters.