More to the story. Meghan Markle’s book is accused of plagiarizing The Boy on the Bench, another children’s book, but there’s at least one important person who thinks there’s no merit to the claims: Corrinne Averiss, the author of The Boy on the Bench, herself.
The Duchess of Sussex announced on Tuesday, May 4, that she will be publishing a children’s book titled The Bench on June 8. The book is inspired by Meghan’s husband Prince Harry‘s relationship with their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor.
“The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father’s Day, the month after Archie was born,” Meghan said in a press release. “That poem became this story. Christian [Robinson] 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.”
However, soon after the announcement, several critics compared The Bench to The Boy on the Bench, another children’s book written by Averiss and illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo. According to the publisher’s description, The Boy on the Bench, which was published in 2018, is about a boy who’s too scared to play with other kids on a playground, so he sits on a bench with his dad.
“The playground is packed with children playing, but Tom is sitting on a bench with his dad. He’s just not sure he’s brave enough to join in,” the description reads. “Tom can’t see a space for himself anywhere in the playground. Not on the slide, or on the roundabout or on the swings … But when a little girl loses her teddy, will Tom have the courage to help?”
After the comparisons, Averiss took to Twitter on Wednesday, May 5, to announce that she doesn’t see “any similarities” between The Bench and The Boy on the Bench. “Reading the description and published excerpt of the Duchess’s new book, this is not the same story or the same theme as The Boy on the Bench. I don’t see any similarities,” she tweeted.
According to excerpts released from The Bench, it seems like there is nothing similar between the two children’s books aside from their titles. While The Boy on the Bench deals more with the main character’s relationship with other children, The Bench seems to be more about a child’s relationship with their parents. In one illustration, a young boy greets his father dressed in a military uniform, while his mother watches from a window. In another picture, a dad rests on a bench as his son naps on his chest. “My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine,” Meghan said in the press release.
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