In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the former wife of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll opened up about the upcoming children’s book, Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender, and what she’s learned from her grandchildren — two of whom have lived with her. In March, Priscilla Presley revealed that her 8-year-old twin granddaughters, Harper and Finley, had been under her care for more than nine months. They came to stay with her when her daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, became embroiled in a tabloid-inspiring divorce from the twins’ father Michael Lockwood.
“I’ve learned to really listen to what [the girls are] saying,” Presley tells PEOPLE regarding what she’s learned about the importance of family. “They have so much to contribute in their opinions, their viewpoints and questions. I value that very much.”
She’s eager for them to read the new picture book, which is based on one of their grandfather’s most famous ballads. Originally recorded by Elvis Presley in 1956, the song “Love Me Tender” highlights the special connection between parent and child and immediately earned a place in the stratosphere of great American music. Priscilla Presley wrote the picture book’s endnote and is also backing the second book.
“The twins know much about their grandfather. How famous he is, his love of Graceland, his movies and his songs. They can hear one of his songs on the radio and right away know that’s his voice,” the actress said of the book and its reception by the twins. “I can’t imagine them not liking the book. First of all, they will instantly recognize the title and secondly it’s a feel-good story of love and accepting and a happy ending. Isn’t that what children want?”
Presley, 72, is eager for parents to read the books with their children — a joy she’s shared with her grandkids.
“Both Harper and Finley enjoy going to bookstores and picking out books,” she said. “They love fairy tales. When they started to read it was more them wanting to read to me. They like doing things for themselves and sharing the stories.”
Love Me Tender, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, will be published by Dial Books for Young Readers on Nov. 13.