Busta’s Person of the Week: WXII’S 12 News Talitha Vickers talks about her children’s book, Dr. Maya Angelou, and more.

Busta’s Person of the Week: WXII’S 12 News Talitha Vickers talks about her children’s book, Dr. Maya Angelou, and more.
October 21
09:16 2021

By Busta Brown

Talitha Vickers has been coming into our homes since 2013 on WXII 12 News. She’s one of the sweetest and most down-to-earth people I’ve met in my 58 years. “Beyond this television screen, what you see every day at noon, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. I want you to know you’re not alone. You may see me on the television screen every day, but I’m going through it, too. 

“What you see as glitz and glamour on television, just know that there’s another side to Talitha. That side is about putting God first, family and service to the community. I couldn’t have done any of this without the Heavenly Father. I’m so grateful for what He’s done for me,” shared Talitha, with a huge smile. 

Her spirit of gratitude, peace and joy filled the room as she spoke about the Triad. “That’s why I truly love this community. Through COVID-19, I saw the humanity in people coming together and helping one another. Whatever talents or gifts they had, each person would share it with the entire community. Not for a profit, but out of love. You have no idea how your smile or giving someone a meal or reaching out to inspire others,  how that’s been a game changer and may have saved someone’s life. It lifted my spirits as well,” said Vickers. 

So where does she attribute her beautiful and sweet spirit? “Honestly, my mother is an angel sent from above. She is not quick to anger. I can count on one hand, using two fingers, the times that she’s gotten upset. Whether it’s someone that’s done her wrong or hurt her, she’d say, ‘That’s OK. Maybe they weren’t having a good day, or we don’t know what’s going on in that person’s life.’  People say, what would Jesus do? A lot of times I say, ‘What would mom do in this situation?’ Because she’s quick to forgive. 

“She always taught my brother and I that everything grows in seed form and then grows into an experience. So, plant those seeds into your children. She also taught me the importance of a home-cooked meal. Not only nourishing your body and soul, but also the love and thought that goes into the time, preparation and ingredients. All of this can fill you up in life when you put the right ingredients into your goals,” said the proud wife and mother of two. 

Talitha shared some words of wisdom from her father as well. “He taught my brother and I to think about how your actions today will affect tomorrow. Before you make a hasty and quick decision, think of the action that’s going to happen if you go right or left.” 

Every life lesson learned from her family molded Vickers into an absolutely beautiful woman, both inside and out. One of the toughest life lessons she’s learned was through seeing her nephew heartbroken each time her brother, who is in the military, left for duty to protect and serve our great country. She took that pain and turned it into something wonderful. “Why My Hero Had To Go” is a must-have children’s book written by Talitha Vickers and illustrated by Keith Hobgood. 

What I love most about Talitha is everything she does; there’s always the thought of how it will help or affect others. “We won’t live forever, so I wanted to leave something tangible on the planet to help children that might be struggling with their emotions. I want them to understand courage, kindness, inclusion, and above all, love. All of that is combined in one book because when my nephew was two years old, he couldn’t understand why my brother was leaving him all the time. He’s here one minute and then he’s gone the next. He’s here and then he’s gone again. 

“I wanted to show my nephew the parallels of why his dad was going away. Here’s what he’s doing and what you have to do. You have to go to school. “Why My Hero Had To Go” shows how a little boy is off to school and his dad is off to do his duty for the military. Hup two, three, four, we’re both on our way out the door … but wait, there’s more (an excerpt from Vickers’ book).  The illustration shows the dad going off for duty and his son going to school. The son realizes his dad has a mission and so does he. It’s a great way to show children, even though we’re thousands of miles apart, you’re always in my heart,” shared Vickers. 

The illustration that tugged on my heart was when both the father and son were thousands of miles away, yet they were looking at the same moon at the same time, thinking of each other. I teared up because I thought about my nine-year-old Nate and my three-year-old granddaughter Amasyn, and how I would miss them so much if I were in another state or country. 

In her book, Talitha helps parents navigate with their children on how to deal with the absence of a parent when having to work two or three jobs. “In the book, I show how when my nephew goes to school, he has to leave his own pet behind. He mirrors what his dad is doing. He tells his puppy, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon, in the afternoon.’ I show how the little boy has a literal walkway as his runway to the school bus and his dad has a runway to his helicopter,” Talitha shared  with a soft delivery and comforting smile. 

It’s clear that she cherishes being a loving mother, aunt and wife. Love and kindness are the dominating feelings as you read “Why My Hero Had To Go.” It’s a much-needed way for you and your children to escape from all of the heaviness in the world. And it’s a fun, exciting, and entertaining easy-to-read book for children. It’s an inspiring story for children with parents who have to work more than one job, or have demanding professional careers. It helps them understand that they’re not alone and makes it easy for the parent to explain why mommy and daddy have to go to work, but will return home. 

Talitha said she wanted to make sure there are key factors in the forefront. “Diversity, courage, inclusion, kindness and love. I want kids to know why that little boy’s parents aren’t dropping him off at school like other children’s parents. It teaches children to give that extra bit of kindness because that little boy or girl doesn’t have a mommy or daddy to take them to school like I do, or a home. It’s a really good story, Busta. Every time children read the book, they discover something new and different. So, it’s not just a one-and-done book. There’s a lot of magic that happens inside as well,’ said Vickers. 

I asked the beloved news anchor what she learned while writing her book. “I learned that if you can’t find it, make it. Everyone has a special talent. I’m a writer at heart; I don’t know how to draw,” she joked. “I would have put stick figures together. So, I reached out to local illustrator Keith Hobgood from Out Of Our Minds Animation Studio in Winston-Salem and he knocked it out of the park. 

“Also, I could not find a book to help my nephew. So, I’m like  … bump that! I’m going to make it and make it in a way children will remember. If there’s something that you’re looking for that the world is missing, make it! Create it! You’re not alone, so reach out to someone that can help make your vision or business successful. Someone that can do the things that you can’t.” 

That really ministered to my spirit, because there’s a few things I’m trying to do, but I don’t have the skills for everything to make it happen. Thank you, Vic! I call Talitha Vic, which is short for Vickers. 

Before coming to the Triad, Talitha’s warm and beautiful heart was already at work. I asked her to share a story that really touched her soul. “I was at a station in Salisbury, Maryland. A mother of three’s house was destroyed by a fire a week before Christmas and they lost everything. When I arrived at their house, the kids were standing outside with no shoes or clothes, just diapers on. 

“After I interviewed the family, I gave the mother my card and asked her to let me know if there’s anything I could do to help them. When I returned to that TV station, I sent out an email to the entire station to donate food, clothes and anything else the family would need. If someone was an hour away, I would go pick up the items. Ninety percent of the station packed my little car with everything from diapers, clothes and food. 

“Then the owner, Tom Draper, gave me an envelope and said, ‘Don’t open it, just give it to the mother.’ I gave it to her and she called me later that day and let me know that Mr. Draper had written her a check to help her get back on her feet. She said, ‘Thank you for the envelope, it’s going to change my life and help us restart.’ 

“I will never forget that moment. That’s my biggest struggle. I want to do that for every person,” shared Talitha as she struggled to keep the puddle of tears underneath her eyes from streaming down her face. 

This is why I call her a community leader as well, because of all the amazing work she does in the Triad communities. She serves on the Arts Council of Winston Salem and Forsyth County board of trustees and mentors college students, works with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools with read-ins, and does so much under the radar for others. She’s received numerous well-deserved awards: an Associated Press award for spot news coverage; the 2020 Outstanding Women Leaders Award presented by the late Winston Salem Mayor Pro-tem Vivian Burke and the City of Winston Salem; 2019 Winston Under 40 Leadership Award; and The Rebecca Stafford Award for Excellence in Leadership from Monmouth University. 

Talitha did something extraordinary, yet it was long overdue. “Dr. Maya Angelou is a giant in our community and lived right here in Winston-Salem. And to know that we didn’t have anything for her, that blew my mind! I said, wait a minute! Dr. Seuss has a day, but Dr. Angelou doesn’t have a day?” 

So, she formed a committee to create the inaugural Dr. Maya Angelou Day of Reading in Winston-Salem, which led to a proclamation presented by Winston-Salem’s Mayor Allen Joines, in cooperation with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, a national social media integration, and library programs, in the middle of a pandemic to help unite communities. The program is now in Guilford County Schools as well. “Dr. Angelou’s son Guy heard about what I was doing and called me. He said, let’s grow on this, and it’s been growing and growing. This past year our committee wrote Oprah Winfrey a letter asking if she would be our special guest reader and she did a recording for the Dr. Maya Angelou Day of Reading.” 

As I was taking notes. I said to myself … Wow! You go girl!  What’s also amazing is Talitha was the last journalist to interview Dr. Maya Angelou. “What an honor, Busta! If everyone uses their talents in the right way, think of how we can grow as a community. Not every garden has the same flower. So, our community is this big, beautiful, flourishing garden, and we all have a seed that we can plant that will help our community continue to grow for generations to come.” 

My phenomenal Person of the Week is my dear friend Talitha Vickers. To purchase “Why My Hero Had To Go,” visit and follow Talitha on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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