What started out as an idea for a short story about a little girl who spends a lot of time in the hospital has evolved into a vision: A virtual world for kids with special needs, featuring White Bear, a stuffed animal whose purpose in life is taking care of child with life threatening illnesses. White Bear is smart, kind and available. He is always present for every IV, every medical procedure, every operation, and every doctor’s visit. He is available to cuddle at night and for good times, too.  White Bear is created for young readers, particularly chronically ill children, their siblings, family and friends.

White Bear is a family affair, for many reasons, which you can read about in his first book, White Bear’s Big Adventure. For a while, we talked about writing a stand-alone story for and about Angel and White Bear.  We always knew it would be a children’s book, one that other seriously ill children could relate to. As the story developed, my sister Lisa Barriera, Angel’s mother, took pictures of White Bear in his usual surroundings, the hospital.  Originally we were going to use her pictures in the book.  When we were finalizing the layout, we realized that though the pictures were as authentic as one could get, they didn’t quite tell the story we wanted to tell. As luck would have it, we were able to hire a very talented professional children’s illustrator, Jeanine Henning, to bring White Bear to life.

Rough draft of Angel and White Bear in a hospital bed and final illustration