A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Sen. Lauren Book recalls that she had trouble finding a coping method after revealing the abuse to her family. She would go to school and come home to cry. Eventually, her mother revealed to her that she too had been sexually assaulted. She said that these were “regular occurrences” for women, and that they simply had to get over their trauma and live their lives. From that moment on, Sen. Book decided she would do everything in her power to be stronger. She now challenges herself every day to help young survivors. She learned that working through legislature and shaping the laws that protect those who are vulnerable can be an effective way to make change.
Sen. Book began her professional career as a co-teacher at Henry S. West Laboratory School in Miami in 2007, where she remained for one year before taking her current posts as founder and chief executive officer of Lauren’s Kids in Aventura, Florida, since 2007 and senator of District 32 of the Florida State Legislature, as well as former senate democratic leader pro tempore, in Broward County since 2016. In addition to this tenure, she is the past vice president and a board member of the Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. Prior to the start of her professional career, Sen. Book pursued a formal education at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, earning a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and creative writing in 2008 and Master of Education in 2012.
Today, Sen. Book speaks extensively on topics related to her field around the world. Her first keynote lecture, “Preventing Child Sexual Abuse and Supporting Survivors,” was given at the Children’s Treatment Centre Celebrity Walk in 2013. More recently, in 2016, she was a guest lecturer on the impact of sexual violence for the social sciences department at University of Oxford, a keynote speaker at the Georgia Sheriff’s Association Training Academy in Savannah, and gave the TED Talk “Find Your X, but First, Find Your (wh)Y?” in Oxford, England. Sen. Book is also the author of two books, the memoir “It’s OK to Tell” in 2011 and the children’s book “Lauren’s Kingdom” in 2015, the latter of which she was listed as a best-selling author in Publisher’s Weekly. Additionally, she has been published in numerous outlets including Newsweek, FOX News, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, NPR, USA Today, the New York Daily News and various local papers, as well as appeared on multiple broadcasts such as the “Katie Couric Show” and “Our America with Lisa Lang,” among others.
A member of several related organizations including the Florida Children’s Cabinet, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission and the Broward County Crime Stoppers, Sen. Book has received myriad honors and accolades for her innovations. She was awarded the Congressional Medal of Merit by Sen. Bill Nelson in 2011, as well as four Emmy Awards for Best Storytelling of the TV special “Out of Darkness, Into Light” in 2012 and Best Producer of the TV programs “What If I Told You” in 2016 and “Lauren’s Kingdom” and “Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Through Education” in 2018, respectively. The recipient of three ADDY Awards, she was later named a National Woman of Worth by L’Oreal Paris in 2013, a Gracie Award for Best Producer in 2014 and was named Citizen of the Year by the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club in 2014. Inducted into the Broward County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2018, Sen. Book was most recently given the GLAMOUR Woman of the Year “Heroes Among Us” Award in 2018 and the Change Maker Award by the Child Mind Institute in 2019, among many others.