Gene Legler’s My Huggy Bear Embraces Love From Family and Friends

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Brown Books Publishing Author Delivers Message to Children that Happiness is Inclusive

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Adults create barriers. Children do not. I think it is important to show children from different ethnicities sharing similar experiences. Happiness is inclusive, not exclusive.

For North Texas author Gene Legler, family time is really “life” time. In his new book, My Huggy Bear (Brown Books Publishing Group), 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.”

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. He accomplished that beautifully through vivid illustrations.

“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.”

Legler remembers growing up and seeing other kids who he felt needed a friend or someone to support them.

“I remember when I was around 13 years old, a neighborhood family sponsored a ‘fresh air kid’ for two weeks. This was a program developed in the 1970’s for kids from New York City to spend a few weeks in a small town away from their homes in the city. Charlie was a young black child about a year younger than me. He didn’t care for the young boy in his sponsor’s family, but he liked me. Our neighborhood was all white. My grammar school was all white. But most of my boyhood idols were black. The only difference I saw between the two of us was a year in our ages. We just talked like two kids with no socially created barriers.”

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 (

Media contact: Brian Briscoe, 972.248.9500, Brian.Briscoe(at)TheAgencyatBB(dot)com

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Brian Briscoe
Brown Books Publishing
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