Hudson Valley Author Bob McKinnon Releases New Book

New York Times bestselling author Bob McKinnon encourages young readers with a heartwarming story in his new book, “America’s Dreaming.”

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In Westchester County, Bob McKinnon is a powerful author who writes and teaches about issues related to the American dream. In the same vein as his New York Times bestseller, Three Little Engines, which provided a modern retelling of The Little Engine That Could, McKinnon’s upcoming picture book, America’s Dreaming, tells a heartwarming story of new beginnings and inspirations from the past. Along with talented illustrator Thai My Phuong, McKinnon draws from his own experiences to paint this impactful story.

The picture book follows the perspective of young America as they start school for the first time. Excited to meet new friends and engage in new experiences, America is disappointed when they are met instead by unfriendly peers and loneliness in the classroom. After noticing America’s self-isolation, their new teacher decides to step in and help them find confidence through reading. America’s teacher shares books on historical figures like Amelia Earhart, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King Jr., and more icons from our nation’s history that ultimately influence America to believe in themselves and their abilities.

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Coupled with Phuong’s dreamy illustrations, McKinnon’s engaging storytelling in America’s Dreaming puts readers in the narrator’s unique perspective to connect with their experiences. America eventually becomes empowered by the inspiring stories of historical figures to be just as brave and kind as they were.

“While my personal experience was the inspiration for America’s Dreaming, it is one that is all too common. Every year, approximately five million children enter a new school in the U.S. There are long-term implications when a child does not feel welcomed in school. It has been correlated with increased depression, mental health issues, and dropout rates,” says McKinnon.

McKinnon, who lives with his wife, three daughters, and dog in Hastings-on-Hudson, notes that his family always makes him feel very welcome every time he steps through the door – a luxury of which he is aware he did not always have. For McKinnon, a kind and helpful teacher he had in elementary school was there for him when it felt like no one else was, and he provided the inspiration for this story.

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America’s Dreaming is not only a mirror and a window for children, but a love letter to teachers, and a reminder of our nation’s history – one that is rooted in the idea that we are stronger when we welcome others with open arms and hearts,” adds McKinnon.

Although Phuong now resides in Los Angeles, she is a Vietnamese American who has also had to face many hardships in her life, having moved all over the world. “When I first read America’s Dreaming, tears rolled down my cheeks. This story reminds me of my many firsts and all those important moments and important people in my life. I hope that this book can be a best friend to anyone who experiences challenging moments in life,” says Phuong.

America’s Dreaming is on sale starting June 4 and is now available for preorder on from Penguin Random House.

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