Student writes book about living with alopecia: I feel smart and beautiful

RICHMOND, Va. -- A elementary school student and her parents have penned a children's book with a powerful message about the fifth-grader's journey.

Taylor Ellis' book, "Hair in My Brush," shares her story of living with alopecia.

The Carver Elementary School student was diagnosed with the condition, which caused her hair to fall out, at the beginning of the school year.

"I used to feel sad about it," Taylor said. "But now it doesn't really matter to me, because I can do all the things I want."

Taylor Ellis

Taylor Ellis

LaTesha Young said her biggest fear for her daughter was that other children would tease her because they did not understand her diagnosis. She also feared it would impact Taylor's school work.

"I didn't want to her to be depressed. I know suicide is happening at a young age in school all around the world with kids," Young said. "My main thing is, you're smart, you're beautiful, you're capable of anything."

LaTesha Young

LaTesha Young

Her mother and father encouraged Taylor daily and together they penned her book, "Hair in My Brush," which went on sale on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble last week.

The main character, Briana, mirrors Taylor's journey dealing with her diagnosis and discovering how to redefine her identity without her hair.

"As a schoolgirl, this was not a situation that Briana wanted to find herself in," Taylor read from her book. "But don't worry, there is a happy ending."

"Hair in My Brush"

"Hair in My Brush"

Taylor got to share the book's powerful message with her classmates during their recent fifth-grade graduation.

"You can do anything and I want to prevent teasing and bullying in other kids because they look different," she said.

Taylor Ellis

Taylor Ellis

With the highest GPA at her school, and perfect attendance for her entire school career, Taylor said her sights are set on the future. In fact, she said her goal is to become and anesthesiologist.

"Great, smart and beautiful," Taylor replied when asked how she feels. "You can do anything."

Her mother said she is proud Taylor knows that beauty lies within. She is hopeful their book will raise awareness about alopecia and help others and embrace who they are.

Briana's message that she is "beautifully and wonderfully made" are now words etched in Taylor's mind and heart.