Brown Books Publishing Author Delivers Message to Children that Happiness is Inclusive
Happy Valentine’s Day! If you are a parent, like me, you want to spend the day with the people you love – which is my hubby and our two girls. One of our favorite things to do is read books together and My Huggy Bear (Brown Books Publishing Group) touched our hearts. Not only does this book talk about how much fun everything is with your best friend by your side, all proceeds from My Huggy Bear go directly to supporting Helping Hands and Caring Hearts of America (see more info below). It doesn’t hurt that the author is from Denton in North Texas, the same county Bob and I lived before we moved to Austin.
For North Texas author Gene Legler, family time is really “life” time. In his new book, My Huggy Bear, Legler reaches back to his own childhood with memories of support, love, interaction and encouragement from his parents that left a lasting impression on him as he grew to adulthood with his own family and now as a grandfather.
“When you are a child, there’s nothing better than the reassurance of having someone there for you at all times,” Legler says. “My father worked two jobs to support all six of us, and my mother was always there for us. I think one of the most important parts of a child’s development is their interaction with their parents, which helps set the tone for their interactions with their own children one day.”
Huggy Bear Goes With Me Everywhere.
We love the grocery store, the zoo, the carnival, and even bedtime!
Swinging on swings, sliding down slides, riding on rides, and flying kites are all quite nice, but these are just a few of the activities Huggy Bear and I like to do.
Legler’s inspiration to write My Huggy Bear came from his indoctrination of playing and interacting with his many siblings and relatives at a very young age. In the book, he wanted to capture the innocence and acceptance that children so readily and easily embrace. Legler remembers growing up and seeing other kids who he felt needed a friend or someone to support them. He accomplished that beautifully through vivid illustrations by illustrator (and native Texan!) Cynthia Meadows. My Huggy Bear’s illustrations depict a diverse representation of families, allowing children from all backgrounds to relate to this important story.
“Adults create barriers. Children do not,” stresses Legler. “I think it is important to show children from different ethnicities sharing similar experiences. Happiness is inclusive, not exclusive.”
Helping Hands and Caring Hearts of America: Legler has started a nonprofit called Helping Hands and Caring Hearts of America. The foundation provides financial assistance to minority students living below the poverty line to pay for their college education. All proceeds from My Huggy Bear go directly to supporting Helping Hands and Caring Hearts of America (www.helpinghandsandcaringheartsofamerica.org).
About Brown Books Publishing Group (BBPG): Founded in 1994 as an Entrepreneurial Publisher for Entrepreneurial Authors®, Brown Books Publishing Group was established to fill a need in the publishing world by allowing authors to have a voice in the publishing process while retaining the rights to their intellectual property. Applying this innovative Relationship Publishing™ model, Brown Books has cultivated a prestigious stable of authors, from New York Times bestsellers to Pulitzer Prize winners and more. Boasting hundreds of high-quality books across genres, Brown Books is a fiercely independent publisher that encourages author empowerment. In 1994, Brown Books ushered in A New Era in Publishing™, and more than two decades later, continues to be a successful innovative leader in the publishing industry. For more information, please visit www.BrownBooks.com.
About the Author: Gene Legler was born and raised in Rochester, New York, but now lives in Justin, Texas. He attended Holy Cross School and Charlotte High School. Growing up, all his heroes lived in the sports world: Muhammad Ali, Lew Alcindor, Rod Carew, Bobby Orr, and the Oklahoma Sooners. He and his friends spent their days playing baseball at 42 School, hockey on backyard rinks, and football on their street (on which Gene painted a fifty-yard field). In the winter, they swept driveways to clear their basketball courts. As Gene grew older, he realized that while idolizing sports stars as a child was nice, his biggest influences–and his real heroes–had been living right there in his home all along: his parents. His father, Edward, was a firefighter and worked a second job in a tool and die shop to support a family of six. His mother, Noreen, a homemaker, was always there with her helping hands and her caring heart. When Gene was five years old, he had a stuffed tiger he took everywhere. His mother asked him if he would donate it to Goodwill. She convinced Gene that as much as he loved that tiger, there was someone who needed it more. He agreed, and it was then that she bought him a teddy bear that he named Sandy. This was the genesis of My Huggy Bear. Sandy is a little tattered and has gotten a lot of love through the years, having also been the companion of both Gene’s children and his grandson.
About the Illustrator: Cynthia Meadows, a native Texan, draws and paints on anything she can find. Whether it was cartoons on the sides of her homework in elementary school, paintings as Christmas gifts, murals or faux finishes on walls, or illustrations and storyboards for advertising agencies, she has continually decorated the world. Cynthia’s desire to look inside characters is the reason she loves to illustrate children’s books, to create characters, and to give the reader a positive, often humorous, view of life.
List Price: $16.99