Former Georgia House minority leader, bestselling author, and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams is set to publish her first picture book, Stacey’s Extraordinary Words, on December 28 with HarperCollins Children’s Books imprint Balzer + Bray. Based on Abrams’s experience participating in several spelling bees while in elementary school, the story addresses themes of perseverance and bravery. Lucian American artist Kitt Thomas will illustrate the book, making her debut.

Abrams has published three books for adults: Lead from the Outside, Our Time Is Now, and While Justice Sleeps, all of which were bestsellers. In her new book, she recalls her childhood and similarities with the young protagonist, who is bullied. “Some kids picked on me and others who were different. Over the years, I learned how to use my words to do good, even when I am most afraid,” Abrams said in a statement. “Words have always been important to me,” she added. “I loved competing in spelling bees as a young girl. With this book, I want to inspire children to speak up for themselves and for others—and to keep trying if they don’t succeed the first time around.”

“Stacey Abrams is a tireless advocate for fairness and equality,” Alessandra Balzer, v-p and co-publisher of Balzer + Bray, said. “It is an enormous honor to publish her first picture book, a story about a little girl who learns to persevere in the face of adversity. I can’t think of a more important message for children.”