Hi! My name is Bailey Heard. I’m Ellie’s mom. I have the honor and privilege of helping to make the dream of The Ellie Project become a reality! This whole book started in 2012 when my husband, Andrew Heard, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-nine. This was Andrew’s second battle with cancer (his first battle was when he was eighteen years old). The cancer came back 11 years later and took his life in a short 10 months.
During the few months Andrew had left on this earth, he decided he wanted to leave a legacy by helping to inspire and encourage the lives of others through writing books. His book, A Gray Faith, was published a month before he passed away, and this is his second book, The Ellie Project.
Andrew wrote The Ellie Project as a way to connect with our then-two-year-old daughter, Ellie Grace. He was confined to a hospital bed in our house, so he couldn’t play with her in a conventional way. He got creative and, knowing her love of drawing and animals, they would draw together each night in his hospital bed. When Andrew was a child, he wanted to be a cartoonist, so he enjoyed drawing pictures of Ellie’s favorite animals. Andrew got the idea to create a different animal for each letter in the alphabet and then wanted to write Ellie love letters about character lessons he wanted her to know throughout her life to accompany each letter. He was able to finish A through Z before he passed away on July 26, 2013.
I’m beyond excited to bring you this inspiring character-building alphabet book. My hope is The Ellie Project will help to not only teach your kids the alphabet, but will teach them character lessons that will stay with them throughout their lives. The book was written and illustrated with love from an adoring father to his daughter with the intention of connecting and encouraging her to know what truly matters in this life. These are Andrew’s original drawings and writings. I hope you enjoy reading and sharing this book with the ones you love!
To read Andrew's blog about this project click here.