Wed. Apr 7th, 2021
‘He was a kid with a million questions’: Fauci to star in children's book

The leading US public health expert Anthony Fauci will be the subject of a new book – for children.

Dr Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor will be published on 29 June by Simon & Schuster.

The publisher told CNN the book was not endorsed by Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has now served seven presidents but who rose to international fame last year as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. But the writer, Kate Messner, said she had spoken to Fauci “at the edges of his long work days”.

“Before Tony Fauci was America’s doctor,” she said, “he was a kid with a million questions, about everything from the tropical fish in his bedroom to the things he was taught in Sunday school.

“‘I’m really hopeful that curious kids who read this book – those we’re counting on to solve tomorrow’s scientific challenges – will see themselves in the pages of Dr Fauci’s story and set their goals just as high.”

The book about Dr Fauci, as reported by CNN.
The book about Dr Fauci, as reported by CNN. Photograph: CNN

At points in the last year it seemed Fauci’s chief goal was just not to be fired, as his frank advice clashed with Donald Trump’s inconsistent, politically motivated and often plain bizarre statements on the pandemic and how it might be contained.

But Fauci survived and even flourished while other members of the former president’s taskforce saw their reputations battered or were fired outright. According to Johns Hopkins University, by Monday more than 542,000 Americans had died of Covid-19, out of a case count of nearly 30m. The case count has slowed as the Biden administration has supervised a rapid vaccine rollout, though virus variants and public behaviour still pose considerable threats.

Recently turned 80, Fauci maintains powerful appeal among the young. In December, as Covid vaccines began to be used across the US, he told children he had saved Christmas by flying to the North Pole and giving Santa a shot.

The same month, he discussed with the Guardian the dominant theme of his career before Covid, the search for a cure for HIV and Aids.

“I’ve been in a very unique position of now being one of the very, very few people who were there from the very first day of HIV,” he said.

A friend reported Fauci as saying: “The one thing that I still have left that I want to do is put an end to” HIV.

Fauci is not the first beloved modern public figure to have his or her story told for children. For just one example, books about the late supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – who was also from Brooklyn – have flourished.

According to an Amazon page for the book about Fauci, Messner and illustrator Alexandra Bye will offer children a story about “a curious boy in Brooklyn, delivering prescriptions from his father’s pharmacy on his blue Schwinn bicycle.

“His father and immigrant grandfather taught Anthony to ask questions,” the blurb says, “consider all the data, and never give up – and Anthony’s ability to stay curious and to communicate with people would serve him his entire life.”

The publisher also promises “a timeline, recommended reading, a full spread of facts about vaccines and how they work, and Dr Fauci’s own tips for future scientists”.

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