Today, January 28, 2021, at 12:30 p.m., Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli and Peterson’s Breaking News of Trenton will be hosting a virtual book reading to encourage Trenton youth to share their voices. Broadcasted through Facebook Live, Assemblyman Verrelli will be reading ‘Speechless,’ by  co-authors Matt Eventoff and Thomas Ray Garcia. 

The children’s book ‘Speechless’ is the first in the new children’s book series called Speak With Style. Through Speechless and the rest of the upcoming series, the co-authors are hoping children learn the importance of self-expression.

“Empowerment is something that everybody needs,” said Eventoff. “Everyone wants to make sure that students continue to work on their voices and find their voices, and speak up for themselves, and are comfortable speaking as they go through their career, whether that means going from eighth grade to ninth grade or going from senior year in high school into college.”

Speechless is an animated, short book that follows a young, eight-year-old girl by the name of Amelia. She is terrified of giving a speech in front of the people in her village, as a mean man by the name of Mr. Rhetoric steals everyone’s voice. Through the short book, Amelia goes on a quest to recover her stolen voice.

“What it comes down to is your voice matters and you need to speak up and speak out,” said Assemblyman Verrelli. “Kids need a voice to speak out on how they feel.”

Although Speechless is a children’s book, Assemblyman Verrelli believes the message can relate to all ages, especially during the limited amount of in-person peer discussions we are all lacking throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone’s afraid to speak in public for the most part,” said Assemblyman Verrelli. “I know I am and I’ve been doing it for a while.”

He continued, “Kids need something to really better fill the time on top of education… By reading, they can read and if they’re afraid to talk, whether it be at home or outside or in front of people through public speaking venues, it gives them a chance to remember to stand up and speak out; that your voice matters.”

To help spread the message, Assemblyman Verrelli will be giving out 200 physical copies of Speechless in both English and Spanish. However, a free PDF version can be downloaded at and physical copies can be ordered on Amazon. According to Eventoff, 100 percent of the proceeds will go towards providing more public speaking resources to kids.

“We don’t ask for an email address. We never will want anyone’s data and don’t need to know who’s downloading it. We just want to get it into kids’ hands,” said Eventoff. “The greatest joy for me is knowing that some young person is going to benefit from [the book] and it’s going to change their trajectory and I’m never going to know about it.”

Although Speechless is the first in it’s series, both Eventoff and Garcia are determined to give children within Trenton, and the nation at large, a voice and a place in the world.

Eventoff said “Everybody’s voice matters. It doesn’t matter what your background is, doesn’t matter where you came from, doesn’t matter how much money you have, doesn’t matter how short or tall you are, every voice matters and being afraid of it shouldn’t be a disqualifier from using it.”

To join Assemblyman Verrelli in the live reading of Speechless visit Peterson’s Breaking News Facebook page at:

To learn more about Speechless or to download a free PDF of the book, Click HERE.

About Author