John Russo Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon is a longtime champion of reading and female empowerment — and she's combining both interests for her first children's book!
On Wednesday, the actress announced that her picture book Busy Betty, which is inspired by her own adventures as a kid, will be published by Flamingo Books on Oct. 4. (See the cover art below!)
"I've been thinking about creating a children's book with realistic young female characters since I had my daughter," Witherspoon, 45, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement. "When I was a kid, I had a busy brain with a million ideas and more energy than most adults could manage so, Betty is really based on adventures from my childhood."
Busy Betty, which is illustrated by Xindi Yan, follows a little girl who realizes she needs to give her smelly dog Frank a bath before her friend Mae arrives. "But giving Frank a bath is harder than she thought," reads the book description, "and just when everything seems impossible, with Mae's help, Betty learns she can accomplish anything with perseverance, teamwork, and one great idea."
"This book was born out of my own upbringing," explains The Morning Show star in a statement. "I was always singing, dancing and exploring."
Witherspoon's adventurous and creative spirit didn't come to an end when she reached adulthood. She's made a name for herself as an Academy Award-winning actress, producer and author.
In 2018, Witherspoon released her first book, Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love, and Baking Biscuits. She's also the founder of Hello Sunshine, which celebrates women's stories across multiple platforms. Through her content company, which she's since sold to Blackstone, Witherspoon also formed Reese's Book Club and Reese's YA Book Club.
In a joint interview with her Sing 2 costar Scarlett Johansson last December, Witherspoon who has been in the business since she was a teenager, talked about when she first started to claim more agency.
Reese Witherspoon A young Reese
"I had a whole moment when I was about 34, where I started to realize I was letting other people be in a lot of control over my life and I didn't feel comfortable with it," Witherspoon said at the time. "And I felt like I needed to take control of my career back."
Since then, Witherspoon has been more confident about taking on leadership roles — and is passionate about telling women's stories.
The Big Little Lies star and producer explained that the last couple years and living in a pandemic have given her a new perspective on further career goals.
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"I think I'm even more appreciative because of that time off during the lockdown, the pandemic, it gave me time to kind of refocus about what I want to do," Witherspoon told PEOPLE last winter. "What do I really want to put out in the world? What do I really want to achieve?"
Busy Betty is one of the answers to Witherspoon's internal question.
"I'm thrilled to share Busy Betty with the world," said Witherspoon in her exclusive statement to PEOPLE, "and hope it inspires kids, especially little girls, to be creative, curious, and explore their entrepreneurial spirit."
Busy Betty, the first in a multi-book deal, will hit bookstores on Oct. 4.