High-profile anchors who lose their vaunted positions often depart in a huff, generating the kind of dramatic headlines they're accustomed to reading off a teleprompter. But after her CNN morning show got cut in February, Poppy Harlow exited with so much grace that management threw her a lavish going-away party.

"I really believe that the way we end things in life is the way we begin things," said Harlow, who turned down an offer to remain at the network in a different role. "Leaving with grace in your heart allows you to be open to what is next in a positive way. I know that sounds corny, but that's the truth."

Since announcing her departure last month, Harlow has kept busy, giving a commencement speech at Columbia University and popping back to her hometown of Minneapolis to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday. But the bulk of her time has been dedicated to promoting "The Color of Love," a children's book she co-wrote with Laura Jarrett, co-anchor of NBC's "Saturday Today."

It's a breezy read about kids bonding when their teacher challenges them to pick colors that represent love.

"For Laura and I to be talking about this at this moment, when I'm transitioning from CNN to whatever is next, has been a joy," Harlow said in a Zoom call from New York. Earlier in the day, Harlow shared the book with her 8-year-old daughter Sienna's second-grade class, prompting the kids to open up about how much they connect to everything from the colors of flags from their parents' native countries to the colors of their own skin. Sienna was so inspired, she even helped Mom with the reading.

Luca, Harlow's 6-year-old, wasn't as impressed.

"On the drive to school today, I asked him if he wanted me to email his kindergarten teacher and read to his class. He said, 'Nah,'" Harlow said. "Typical son."

Luca might get more interested when he's old enough to realize he's a big reason the book exists. Harlow came up with the idea shortly after George Floyd's murder and her kids started asking about commotion in their Brooklyn neighborhood.

"I had them watch some of the protests from our stoop because I wanted them to understand, even though I couldn't literally explain what happened," she said. It was then I wondered if, from this moment of pain, there was a story we could tell kids about inclusion."

She quickly recruited Jarrett, who was then working at CNN, and the two of them collaborated from their offices throughout COVID-19. Their original pitch, in which residents in a diverse apartment complex tended to a community garden, was rejected by publishers. Their revised edition is set in a classroom.

"There are plenty of books on the market right now with positive, inclusive messages, but most have adults talking at children," Jarrett wrote in an email after a full day of covering the Donald Trump trial in New York City. "Our book centers the children as the ones with the 'answers,' which are prompted by a simple question from their teacher. We wanted people to come away reminded at how simple questions from educators can lead to greatness."

Jarrett, who is also senior legal correspondent for NBC News, relished the chance to work with her friend.

"Poppy is a A-plus do-er in the best possible sense," she wrote. "She's task-oriented without being overbearing, funny and self-deprecating. She made me want to rise to the occasion."

Harlow hasn't decided what's next, but she has nothing but positive things to say about CNN, her home for 16 years. "Yes, the show getting canceled is sad, but I understand. This is TV," she said. "Who's to say I won't be back there at some point?"