Kristin Chenoweth Highlights the Power of Adoption in Her New Children's Book: 'Such a Beautiful Thing'

The Tony- and Emmy-winning actress and singer is bringing attention to adoption and kindness in What Will I Do with My Love Today? The star opens up about her own adoption and what she hopes families will take away from her first children's book.

Kristin Chenoweth
Photo: John Russo. ART: ANNA HALKIDIS

When the pandemic hit, Kristin Chenoweth found herself going from 180 miles a minute to zero. The pause, she says, gave her a lot of time to reflect. She began looking within and asking herself, "What will I do with my love today?"

That daily question evolved into her just-released children's book, also titled What Will I Do with My Love Today?

It follows a young girl named Kristi Dawn around New York City as she completes acts of kindness and generosity, including adopting a lonely dog looking for a loving home. The picture book, for ages 4 to 8, draws parallels to the life of the Tony- and Emmy-winning actress and singer, who was adopted when she was less than a week old.

"Adoption is such a beautiful thing," says the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma native. "I know a little bit about my history, and I know that I was given away—and when I say given, I mean given. It was a heartbreaking situation for [my birth mother]. She wanted to give me life, but she wanted me to have a life, too. And my parents gave me a life."

Her parents, Jerry and Junie Chenoweth, were always open with her about her adoption, and she says her story helped her grow into an empathetic person. "I see pain in people, and I feel people when they feel abandoned and/or not seen," says Chenoweth. "I see that more and I think it's because of my very beginning."

Kristin Chenoweth children's book cover

Another similarity to the children's book? The Wicked star also adopted a dog named Thunder in 2017, after her first beloved pooch, a Maltese named Madeline, passed away. "Thunder has been there for me, just like Maddie was," says Chenoweth. "She's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly from me, and loves me unconditionally." Raising her rescue dog, she says, also helps to keep her grounded. "My industry is very self-focused and it can be very easy to fall into, self-self-self," explains Chenoweth, who mentors young Broadway hopefuls through the Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamp at the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in her hometown. "It can't just be about you; it has to be about others and this dog is a constant reminder to me of that."

It's a message she hopes will resonate with families after reading What Will I Do with My Love Today? "What I want parents to take away from it is the idea of your child having someone or something to take care of and love is a great prospect for them," she says. "And what I want kids to take away from it is animals, just like humans, have so much love to give to them."

But Chenoweth says the message of love in her book is also an opportunity for anyone to self-reflect, including herself. "No matter how much you have, you have to just get back to the joys in life," says Chenoweth. "I have to remind myself that a lot because we are living in difficult tricky times."

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