Gretchen Leary is 29, a children’s book author and a woman on the autism spectrum. She has written two children’s books, Really, Really Like Me and The Quiet Bear which were both written to promote a better understanding of differences and how they make us special. Neither book says the word autism inside the pages which she did on purpose to avoid labels. She wants to show children that “we can shine without putting out someone else’s candle.”
Tell us about your children’s book.
The Quiet Bear is a simple bed time story about a young girl who does not use words to speak and finds a new friend in an unexpected way.
What inspired you to write it?
My childhood inspired me to write this as I did not know how to relate to other children and that struggle has continued on into adulthood although I have grown quite a bit and so has my voice. 🙂
Who’s your illustrator and why was he/she perfect for capturing the spirit of your book?
Melissa Saylor is the illustrator and her watercolor paintings fit the poignancy of the story and the gentle nature of the story so perfectly. Her artwork can be found a melissasaylor.com.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
I think the most appropriate audience is pre-school through Kindergarten and I would love to see this book in nursery schools.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
I want the reader, parent and child, to hopefully better understand that we speak volumes without using words and those with autism or those who are not might be shy and introverted yet still have plenty to say.
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like it to be?
I hope they will want to read the book. 🙂
- Read the interview with Gretchen about Really, Really Like Me
- Buy The Quiet Bear on Amazon
- Gretchen Leary on Facebook
- Gretchen’s blog
*Illustrations by Melissa Saylor