Transcript for Gov. Gavin Newsom on new picture book about dyslexia
- With the governor of the great state of California here in studio with us. It's so good to have you. And look, big part of the reason you are here. You have a children's book that is very personal to you. It's called Ben and Emma's Big Hit. But what people-- many might not know-- you were how old when you found out that you were dyslexic?
- About 10 years old. And what I discovered-- I walked into my mom's room, and there was a stack of papers and "valuations" going back years and years and years around speech therapy, my inability to read, my inability to pay attention, issues related to spelling. I mean, I'm still that kid. I mean I'm the kid in the back of the school class. I'm the kid with my head down. I'm the school-- that kid with, you know, the heart pounding, sweaty palms, just praying the teacher doesn't call on me. And I'm the kid that struggled, not only in school, but standardized tests.
And still, to this day, dyslexia doesn't go away. Still can't read speeches. I don't read speeches. I don't have a speechwriter. I have to do one a year. It's the state of the state. And it's in the teleprompter. And it's one of the most difficult things I have to do every single year. But within that frame of struggle are enormous strengths that we're allowed to overcome. And, you know, one out of five people-- as many as 20% of Americans-- have some form of language-based learning disability. So this book is for them and for those with loved ones-- parents-- struggling, as well.
T.J. HOLMES: And this was personal. Because, look, you could have written a book and been talking about this for a long time. But it was kind of in your own household, you were kind of spurred to write this book now.
- Well I mean this is unsurprising, because people with dyslexia, it tends to be a genetic component. And so I have four kids. The oldest just turned 12, youngest is five years old. And I'm reading with them, and their challenge. And it's hard. And I'll tell you, I had a single mom. She passed away many, many years ago. All of a sudden, it just hit me. I mean it wasn't just about me, the kid. The parents, they're heartbroken. I mean I'm sitting there and it's hard enough to read to the kids, but it's being a parent, loving your child, and they're falling behind. And so now I realized, I have a responsibility. I went out to look to see if there were books for parents, not just kids-- picture books. And there weren't any. And that's literally what inspired me to do this book. For parents, again, not just the kids. And give them hope, give them confidence, it's all about self-esteem. It's about overcoming. It's about perseverance. And it's also about celebrating your differences.
- Well you make that message very clear. There's a letter to the reader in the back that's really heartfelt. So Governor Newsom, you heading back to work now?
- Sounds like we are working a little bit here. Not just on the book.
- Heck of a commute you made this morning, man. But really, Governor Newsom, it is good to have you in studio. Good to see you again. Thanks so much, my man.
- Good to be with you.
T.J. HOLMES: All right, folks. And the book, Ben and Emma's Big Hit. It's out there everywhere you can find books being sold.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.