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The plan to gift 2,000 books to libraries and community initiative was announced on the website of Archewell, a foundation the Sussexes’ launched in 2020.
It said: “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 centres, schools, and nonprofit programs across the country.
“Those receiving free copies include vital organizations like Assistance League of Los Angeles, which has served the local community for more than 100 years and which The Duke and Duchess visited twice last year to spend time with the children at the organization’s Preschool Learning Centre.
Meghan Markle’s book went on sale earlier this month
2,000 copies of The Bench will be distributed “at no cost” to libraries and community groups
“To make this happen, Archewell is working with the team at First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that’s distributed more than 200 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving kids in low-income communities in the United States and Canada.
“Reaching an average of 5 million kids per year, the First Book Network operates in classrooms, afterschool programs, libraries, community programs, military support programs, and more.”
The book contains many illustrations which note the connection between father and son.
Several of these show Harry, who is portrayed with a ginger beard and hair.
“The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband”
Christian Robinson, an American illustrator, completed the artwork.
In a statement, Meghan explained: “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. 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.
“My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine.”
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The Sussexes stepped down as senior royals in 2020
Meghan gave birth to her daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, on Friday morning.
The child’s name was a tribute to the Queen, sometimes known by the nickname Lilibet, and Princess Diana.
Meghan’s new book received a mixed response from critics and readers.
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Writing in the Daily Telegraph Claire Allfree said: “One wonders how any publisher could have thought fit to publish this grammar-defying set of badly rhyming cod homilies, let alone think any child anywhere would want to read it.
“But that’s planet Sussex for you, where even the business of raising a family is all about the brand.”
Alex Connell, writing for The Times, described it as a “self-help manual for needy parents”.
However, the book received a number of positive reviews from readers on Amazon.
Meghan and Harry with their son Archie in 2019
One wrote: “The poem throughout is lovely and draws upon the love between father and son.
“The illustrations are so gorgeous and I love the diversity shown in the illustrations – this will be a favourite bedtime read for years to come!”
A second added: “Beautiful story, beautifully written. My son and his dad’s favourite.”