A children’s picture book about the life of Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of America’s leading infectious disease experts and the public face of the federal government’s pandemic response, has landed near the top of the New York Times bestseller list, beating out several titles that have been on the list for years.
Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor debuted in the fourth spot on the New York Times bestseller list for children’s picture books, following its release on June 29.
The book, written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Alexandra Bye, chronicles Fauci’s life from his childhood and school through his work alongside seven U.S. presidents and during the Covid-19 pandemic, and includes tips for budding scientists and information on how Covid-19 vaccines work.
It ranked ahead of The Wonderful Things You Will Be (5) and Dragons Love Tacos (6), which have been on the list for more than five and six years, respectively.
The book also earned the No. 17 spot on Publishers Weekly’s children’s picture books bestsellers, the highest of any new entrant.
3,956. That’s how many print copies of the book were sold, according to NPD BookScan data issued by Publishers Weekly.
Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly four decades and was renowned for his research work on HIV and leadership during the early days of the epidemic. However, it was during the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic last year that he became a household name in the U.S., notably for his television appearances and a strong emphasis on science, even if this meant contradicting his then-boss, former President Donald Trump. Fauci’s collected adherence to facts and data has made him a divisive figure and a magnet for partisan grandstanding and public attacks, which at times has escalated into threats or calls for him to be fired.
Messner described the process of writing a book about a “current public figure” as “fascinating… and a bit of a whirlwind,” noting how generous he had been with his time. “It was at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic & I was requesting time from possibly the busiest man in the U.S.,” she said.
Fauci has also served as inspiration for the lead character in an erotic novel, Happy Endings, according to the book’s author, Sally Quinn. The book, a 1991 bestseller, sees a Washington, D.C.-based physician—inspired by Fauci—become embroiled in a love affair with a former first lady, whose husband has just been assassinated.