Khizr Khan, the Pakistani-American Gold Star father who delivered a stirring speech during last July's Democratic National Convention, has written a middle-grade nonfiction book called This Is Our Constitution. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers has acquired world rights and will publish the volume on November 14, 2017, a simultaneous release with Khan’s adult memoir An American Family (Random House). Barbara Marcus, president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books, announced the deal, which was negotiated with Jennifer Joel of ICM Partners. Michelle Frey, executive editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers, will edit.
Khan and his wife Ghazala emigrated to the U.S. in 1980 and are both American citizens living in Charlottesville, Va., where attorney Khan is a legal consultant. During the run-up to the presidential election, Khan’s long-held passion for the rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution and the ideal of liberty for all Americans led him to express criticism of then-candidate Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim statements and subsequently earned him an invitation to the Democratic National Convention.
During Khan’s DNC speech, delivered with Ghazala at his side, he paid tribute to their middle son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004 while checking on his troops. Captain Khan posthumously received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his actions. Also during the speech, Khan leveled pointed words directly at candidate Trump: “Let me ask you: Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy,” he asked as he pulled a pocket copy of the document from his suit jacket.
“Just like so many of us, I was moved by the Khans’ appearance at the DNC last summer,” Frey said. “The next morning, the first thing I did was make sure my eight-year-old son watched Mr. Khan’s speech. There are so many long political talks that can be hard for a child—or adult!—-to sit through, but this was a speech with so much emotion and wisdom. It spoke directly to my son—Mr. Khan quickly became his hero—and, I believe, to many children across the nation. So it was with great pleasure and pride that I found myself in the position several months later of working directly with Mr. Khan on this project that he cares so deeply about. He is exactly as he seems—kind and honorable and humble and wise.”
In This Is Our Constitution, Khan introduces young readers to the contents of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and offers his personal insight on why they are so important and still relevant to all citizens today. The book also includes a history of the Constitution and how it has been amended through the years, and highlights passages that Khan believes are essential to understanding America itself. In a statement announcing the project, he said, “This book is my humble effort to pay tribute to our future leaders, the true custodians of our Constitution, and to all of the human dignities enshrined in our Bill of Rights, as the making of our republic continues.”