California Governor Gavin Newsom’s children’s picture book Ben and Emma’s Big Hit, inspired by his … [+]
On December 7, Philomel, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, will publish California governor Gavin Newsom’s hardcover children’s picture book Ben and Emma’s Big Hit, written with Ruby Shamir and illustrated by Alexandra Thompson. In a statement, the publisher said, “Inspired by Governor Newsom’s own lifelong struggles with dyslexia…Ben and Emma’s Big Hit tells the story of Ben, a kid who loves baseball and wants to fit in at school, even when his dyslexia sometimes holds him back. With the help of his teacher Ms. Kim and his classmate Emma, who also has learning challenges, Ben learns that everyone has difficulties and everyone has talents, and that even when things are hard, dedication and determination make a difference. The book’s text is printed in OpenDyslexic font to help people with dyslexia read it more easily.” The 40-page book is aimed at children ages four through eight.
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s children’s picture book Ben and Emma’s Big Hit, about dyslexia … [+]
Newsom will be donating all proceeds from the book to International Dyslexia Association “to help create a future for all kids who struggle with dyslexia in which they have access to the tools and resources they need to thrive.” Newsom said in a statement, “Tens of millions of Americans struggle with dyslexia – including me. My dyslexia was particularly difficult when I was a kid. I wondered why my younger sister quickly finished her homework while I struggled. Reading aloud in front of the class filled me with heart-pounding fear and anxiety. My self-esteem and my grades suffered until I learned about dyslexia and strategies for dealing with it; so I wrote this book in hopes of helping support young people struggling with learning disabilities.” ccording to the International Dyslexia Association, 15-20% of the population “has a language-based learning disability” and “dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.” The book is currently the bestselling release in Amazon’s AMZN children’s books on disability section.
In a 2016 interview with ABC7 News, Newsom shared how his dyslexia impacted his education, saying, “School was a terrible and terrorizing experience. I will just be candid with you — spelling, reading, writing.” He also said, “I remember coming home and I found out I had dyslexia. I just thought I was frankly not that smart.” Newsom received his dyslexia diagnosis at age five, and told the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity that in fifth grade, when he had to read out loud to his class, the other students laughed. “That’s when I basically gave up on any reading. I did book reports by literally reading the back of the book and just copying the text, thinking the teacher would never find out.”
Thompson is also the author and illustrator of her own debut picture book, A Family for Louie, published in 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers.
In an interview, Jill Santopolo, VP and Associate Publisher, Philomel Books, said, “Governor Newsom’s book is perfect for any child—or adult—who has struggled to overcome challenges. The message that you are not alone in your struggles is particularly powerful right now. This is a book that families can read and talk about together and use as a jumping off point to discuss their own challenges. It’s truly a privilege to be publishing Governor Newsom on the Penguin list.”
I’m a freelance writer covering books, pop culture, and relationships. My website is rachelkramerbussel.com and you can follow me at @raquelita on Twitter. I’ve edited
I’m a freelance writer covering books, pop culture, and relationships. My website is rachelkramerbussel.com and you can follow me at @raquelita on Twitter. I’ve edited over 60 anthologies, and am Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series editor, and my short stories have been published in over 100 anthologies. My books have won eight IPPY (Independent Publisher) awards. I’ve taught writing workshops across the United States and internationally. My nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle.com, Salon, Slate, and numerous other publications. When I’m not working, I’ve got my head buried in a book and am always looking for my next read.