Meghan Markle’s Debut Picture Book ‘The Bench’ To Be Published In June
Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, has written a children’s picture book, The Bench, illustrated by Christian Robinson, which will be published by Random House Books for Young Readers in the U.S. on June 8. Penguin Random House Canada imprint Tundra Books will release it simultaneously in Canada, with Penguin Random House Children’s UK imprint Puffin publishing the 40-page book in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa. The book, aimed at kids ages three through seven, explores “the special relationship between father and son, as seen through a mother’s eyes.” Markle will be the narrator of the audiobook.
The book was inspired by a poem Markle wrote for her husband, Prince Harry, during his first Father’s Day as dad to their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor , who turns two on Thursday. Markle said in a statement, per Deadline, “That poem became this story. Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolor illustrations that capture the warmth, joy, and comfort of the relationship between fathers and sons from all walks of life…” The publisher’s description of the book reads in part, “The Duchess’s debut children’s book gives us a window into shared and enduring moments between a diverse group of fathers and sons—moments of peace and reflection, trust and belief, discovery and learning, and comfort and nurture.”
The book features a range of diverse families, which was important to Markle. “Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolor illustrations that capture the warmth, joy, and comfort of the relationship between fathers and sons from all walks of life; this representation was particularly important to me, and Christian and I worked closely to depict this special bond through an inclusive lens. My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine,” she said in a statement.
Mallory Loehr, publisher of Random House Books for Young Readers Group, said in a statement, “Christian’s art beautifully matches the tender emotion of Meghan’s words, and every spread is infused with a vibrant sense of joy and love. The Bench is timeless — it feels destined to become one of those books that people will be reading for generations to come.”
Caldecott Honor winner Robinson, also the illustrator of Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña and the forthcoming Nina: A Story of Nina Simone by Traci Todd as well as his own book, You Matter, wrote on Instagram, “It was an honor to illustrate this book!”
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In a 2016 interview with PBS, Robinson said of his process, “When you look at a picture book, you might think story by the author and illustrations by the illustrator. The story is actually something that happens when the author and the illustrator come together. It’s what happens on the page.” Robinson revealed that he starts with doodles on Post-It notes to help him conceptualize each story before moving on to the next step. “I go on to design and color and figuring out what I want the color — the characters to look like, what I want the backgrounds to look like. It’s important for me to tell stories that reflect the diverse world that we live in.”
On AmazonAMZN , The Bench was listed as the bestseller on the site’s Black and African American Story Books category on Tuesday evening. A page from the book on the retailer shows a father in military gear tossing his son in the air, while the mother looks out the window, along with the lines, “This is your bench/Where life will begin/For you and our son/our baby, our kin.”