Abe Benkhaled has a father from Pakistan and a mother from Ethiopia — and all three are proud to be Americans.
The father-son duo used that love of this nation to write a children’s book called “The Greatest Country,” which they released on President’s Day. It has quickly drawn national attention.
Benkhaled, a sixth-grader at Piney Grove Middle School, said his immigrant parents have reminded him to be grateful for the opportunities he has as an American.
“I wanted to express my feelings and show my appreciation for America and all the great things it has done,” he said.
Though Benkhaled was born in America, he still visits his family in his parents’ native countries, said his father, B.K. Bhutta.
“When he goes over there,” Bhutta said, “he sees how people live in other countries. That gives him a very strong sense of appreciation for everything here.”
Benkhaled said it also may have given him a different perspective than his peers.
The book took two years to write, though he didn’t know the end result when he started.
“My dad would give me a topic, I would research it, write down important notes and we would discuss it,” he said. “At the very end he told me I’d written a book.”
It felt like homework at the time, but Benkhaled said he’s so proud of the accomplishment and plans three more books in the series.