Lifelong Long Beach resident and former State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg recently published a book about his life experiences titled “For the Love of a Child: My Life, My City & My Mission.”
Published by Square One Publishers Inc. on Oct. 4, Weisenberg said book sales were already successful throughout the country.
He said the inspiration came from his time spent with his late wife, Ellen, and his developmentally disabled son, Ricky, 60.
“This is a book about unconditional love,” he said, and making families who have children with disabilities aware that they are “a gift, a blessing.”
“So many people don’t want to know about special people, but if they only knew the love that’s there, the unconditional love that you get from a special child — it’s more than anybody could ever imagine,” Weisenberg said.
He originally intended to title the book “An Angel, a Saint & a Mission,” he explained.
“Ricky is my angel, Ellen is my saint and I have a mission that I’m doing God’s work.”
Weisenberg said some people wanted him to discuss politics in the book, but explained that wasn’t his goal.
“I wanted to show the beauty of children,” he said, recalling a time when he was feeding Ricky, telling him he loved him and felt him squeeze his hand.
“I started to cry — it was like lightning went through my body because I felt his love,” Weisenberg said.
Weisenberg said Ricky inspired the couple to launch the Harvey & Ellen Weisenberg Foundation in 2015, a nonprofit that advocates for people with special needs, their families and caregivers. The money collected from the book sales will benefit the foundation, Weisenberg said.
While serving in Albany, Weisenberg dedicated much of his time and energy to improving conditions for direct support professionals who care for those who are developmentally disabled. After he retired as a state legislator, Weisenberg helped secure $55 million in the state budget last year to raise the wages for direct caregivers, and has led many rallies under the slogan #bFair2DirectCare through a coalition which consists of thousands of people across the state.
“It’s a history of Long Beach and Albany, as well,” Weisenberg said. He served on the Long Beach City Council for 13 years before serving 25 as a state assemblyman representing the 20th Assembly District. He has also been a lifeguard, coach, police officer, restaurant owner, special education teacher and elementary school assistant principal.
He worked on the book for four years before publishing it, he said, and there will be a book-signing event on Nov. 10 at the Long Beach Public Library.
The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other outlets.
“It’s really a love story, and it’s about happiness,” Weisenberg said. “The world needs love.”