Meghan Markle gives away thousands of copies of The Bench for free to US schools

Meghan Markle will give away 2,000 free copies of her new book to libraries and schools across the US.

The Duchess of Sussex had her book The Bench, which started out as a poem she wrote for husband Prince Harry for his first Father's Day with son Archie, published on Tuesday, June 8.

The book is about the father-son relationship as seen through a mother's eyes and the Duchess dedicated it to Harry and Archie, calling them: "The man and boy who make my heart go pump-pump."

News of the donations was shared on Meghan and Harry's Archewell Foundation website, with the organisation saying it is "taking a moment to recognise and support the amazing changemakers who are fostering community, compassion, and connection for every child."

Archewell is working with First Book – a non-profit organisation that’s distributed more than 200million books to kids in low-income communities across America.

Organisations such as the Assistance League of Los Angeles, which has been operating within the local community for more than 100 years, will be among those to receive free copies of the book.

A statement on the Archewell website read: "After more than a year of unprecedented challenges for schoolkids and families everywhere, The Duchess believes the path ahead must include a focus on well-being—and nourishing our communities through food, education, and emotional and mental health support.

"At Archewell, that is often centered on food and essential needs (as evidenced by our partnership with organizations like World Central Kitchen) but also nourishment through learning and connection (as seen in The Duchess’s support of last year’s Save With Stories initiative to raise funds for educational resources like books, toys, and worksheets).

"As an example of this belief system, The Duchess and Archewell have received the support of the publisher of The Bench to distribute 2,000 copies at no cost to libraries, community centers, schools, and nonprofit programs across the country."

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Announcing the boo earlier this year, Meghan said: "The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father's Day, the month after Archie was born. That poem became this story."

She added: "My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with me."

The 34-page picture book, published by Random House Children's Books, has been illustrated by award-winning artist Christian Robinson, and Meghan narrates the audiobook version herself.

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Meghan has said: "Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolour 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."

A press release says the book “touchingly captures the evolving and expanding relationship between fathers and sons and reminds us of the many ways that love can take shape and be expressed in a modern family”.

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