Come June 8, you may see a familiar name at your local bookstore: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
On May 4, she announced the release of her new children’s book, The Bench. Published by Random House and illustrated by Caldecott-winning artist Christian Robinson, The Bench tells the story of the bonds between fathers and sons, as described by their mothers.
The concept came to the duchess on Father’s Day of 2018—Harry’s first as a dad, and an emotional milestone for any young family. Meghan decided to put her feelings from that day down on paper. “The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father’s Day, the month after Archie was born,” the Duchess of Sussex says. “That poem became this story.”
It was important for Meghan and Robinson that The Bench feature families from all walks of life. Illustrations shared from the book, for example, show a young boy overjoyed by the return of his military father. In another, a Black child naps peacefully on his father’s chest, clutching a stuffed giraffe. “This representation was particularly important to me, and Christian and I worked closely to depict this special bond through an inclusive lens,” the duchess says.
That perspective is inevitably important to the many, many multicultural households across America. The children’s book industry has a noted lack of diversity: According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only 30% of titles in 2020 featured racially diverse characters. “My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine,” Meghan says.
It’s just the latest project for the duchess, who, since stepping down from the royal family in early 2020, has undertaken several creative projects. She and Harry inked high-profile deals with both Netflix and Spotify. Then in November, she wrote an op-ed for The New York Times about suffering a miscarriage, and the subsequent grief that followed.
Meghan and Prince Harry are expecting a second child, a daughter, this summer.
Originally published on Vogue.com