A Winchester woman will have her newly published children’s book featured at America’s Book Expo in New York City this summer.
Leila Reinersman published her book with Xlibris, a self-publishing company. This story, entitled “Ricky & Thomas the Dragon,” is her first book and is illustrated by Brian Rose of Winchester. The story was inspired by her grandson, Ricky, of whom she has legal custody.
The book is about a little boy named Ricky who gets curious and finds a secret passage to Dragonville in his closet. He meets a dragon named Thomas, who helps Ricky realize that he has gifts within him.
Reinersman is originally from Big Stone Gap, Va. She dropped out of high school because the doctors diagnosed her as legally blind. She got married and had two boys, then enrolled in the Hadley School for the Blind in 2007 where she graduated at the age of 42.
“It took me 28 years to get my high school diploma,” Reinersman said. “The Hadley School for the Blind is an excellent place for people with visual impairments.”
Reinersman said she uses a regular computer and simply raises the font. She has 20/40 vision in her left eye when she wears glasses. She said she manages to get around and still drives a car.
She was married 23 years before she moved to Kentucky. She said her children were not satisfied in Virginia, and her son told her he would get a job with UPS and go to college if they could move to Lexington. They did, and he changed his mind, she said.
“So there we were, stuck in a big city,” Reinersman said. “I’m a country girl.”
She got divorced from her first first husband and met her second husband when she moved to Fleming County. She moved back to Virginia, then back to Kentucky when her husband got a job in Winchester, where they have lived for four years.
“My family has been so supportive,” she said. “I’ve never seen them be so supportive.”
Her grandson is not only the inspiration for the book, but he inspired her to to publish it. He took the book to his school, Shearer Elementary, and the children loved it, Reinersman said.
“He said, ‘Mamaw, you’ve got to share (the story) with other boys and girls,’” Reinersman said.
There’s no chance of rejection in publishing with Xlibris, but Reinersman said she that if she could go ahead and publish a book, she could submit her work to larger publishers later on, like Scholastic. She said she adores children and wants to focus her writing in that direction.
Reinersman also said that she wants to be inspiration to many.
“Hopefully, it will encourage people with disabilities to reach for their dreams. That’s what I’m really hoping for,” she said. “If I can wait 28 years to get my high school diploma, what else can I do?”
Reinersman’s book “Ricky and Thomas the Dragon” can be purchased from Amazon.com in e-reader form for Kindle, at Barnes & Noble in print edition and directly from Xlibris.com.
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