Ricardo Hernandez

Ricardo Hernandez (illustrator for First Birthday) is a young, talented artist that is currently enrolled at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, pursuing a major in visual communications with an emphasis in illustration. First Birthday is Ricardo's first published book illustration. His other recent achievements include a national recognition as a sliver award recipient of distinction for his art portfolio presented by Scholastics Arts and Writing and Portfolio of the Year by Design and Architecture Senior High in Miami, Florida.

Visit Ricardo Hernandez's webpage here 

Gretchen H Williams

Addie T Williams

(1927 - 2009)

About the Illustrator: Ricardo Hernandez

Hi, I'm Gretchen. First Birthday is my nonfiction debut. It's about an event that took place less than a month after my moms’ passing. My mother, Mrs. Addie T. Williams, passed away July 7, 2009 and was the true inspiration for the book. I originally kept this story private for nearly four years, only sharing it with family and a couple of close friends. But the experience stayed on my mind. Consequently, I felt it needed to be shared to help bring comfort and hope to others who are grieving a loved one. It is an unfortunate reality that we all will experience a loss of someone very dear to us but it is my hope that you find some comfort in the memories and know that a part of that person will forever be yours. I sincerely thank you and appreciate your purchase of First Birthday.

My first book wasThe Excel Speaking Program,originally copyrighted in 1991 and revised in 2013. It is a speech training tool that compares dialectal speech patterns. Learn more here. I guess I should mention that I graduated from The University of Miami (BA) and Barry University (MA).

I am currently a retired educator from Miami-Dade County Public Schools with 31 years of service. The professional positions I held there included Administrative Director, Elementary School Principal, Assistant Principal and Speech/Language Pathologist. When I began my principalship, I inherited one of the lowest “F” graded schools in the State of Florida. Within six years, along with a terrific staff, we led the school to superior excellence of only 5 points to an “A” grade, which I am extremely proud of. But what I miss most are the kids and their uncanny ways they use to make my day.

I am a mother of two adult children and have one sister. I live in Florida and have a variety of retirement pastimes that include watching sports; riding my bicycle; going to the week's top movie opening; gardening in the backyard and writing movie reviews. My favorite snack is buttered popcorn and favorite vegetable is broccoli. I have a committed faith in God and believe balance is the key to happiness. Giving brings me strength and I embrace life as a celebration.

My Mother, Mrs. Addie T Williams:
Many readers of First Birthday want to know more about my beloved mother. I can honestly tell you that she was an amazing mother whom I give credit for all that I am. My mother was my biggest fan. No matter what I did (good or not so good), she would always find a positive spin on it. She would tell my sister and me that there was nothing we couldn't achieve. A high school graduate, licensed beautician, widowed with two small girls, avid reader, successful beauty salon owner and born again Christian, my mother was the wisest woman I know. She could speak to any subject, and most of the time she did. I am reminded of when I was about 25 years old, I gave my mother a Father's Day card that read: Happy Father's Day to my mother, father, beautician, counselor, therapist, nutritionist, doctor, spiritual adviser and friend. Of course, my mother was not perfect, but she did her best. She was a kind and giving woman who will be remembered in the hearts of all who knew her. 

About the Author: Gretchen H Williams