Patricia Gleichouf is an award winning author. She dedicated her latest book to her grandchildren. “The person who’s teaching you how to read is giving you the best gift you could ever get so it’s really important that you say to them, thank you for teaching me how to read,” Gleichouf said.
She loves to tell stories like this one about her book illustrator. “This person, Karen Mustofska who illustrated this book for me, she like lovely. She is the best artist and you know what she did for the most of her life? For the most of her life she was a hairdresser. She cut hair and curled hair but she drew pictures. She never let go of her dreams.” Gleichouf said to a group of school children.
The same is true for Gleichouf who after decades, is finally living her dream.
“When I grew up, there was not an abundance of books. It was the 50s, the library was too far to walk,” Gleichouf said. “I found books in the attic of our home.”
“I read Little Woman multiple times before I was 10 years old and I resonated with Joe March, I pretended to be Joe March writing book, walking around my house with a clip board writing books — so that inspired me.”
Gleichouf put her dream of becoming an author on hold — traveling the world for her job in pharmaceuticals and raising a family. Her daughter said she never stopped believing she would eventually accomplish her goals.
“It was her bucket list item my whole life,” Caroline Preston said. “She knew that when she retired, she wanted to write children’s books and she truly started the day that she retired.”
Now, she’s gaining national and international recognition for her series of children’s books which brings awareness to endangered sea creatures.
“‘Sea Turtle Circle’ was my first book published when I was 62. These are all rhyming lessons about endangered sea creatures,” Gleichouf said.
Of the three books Gleichouf wrote, all three have won awards.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s really fun to see your name on the front of a book. But when someone calls you to say you just won a gold medal or you book just won a national award, like I just jump out of my chair.”
Gleichouf spends a lot of her time traveling to different schools throughout the state and reaching to children free of charge.
“She’s literally the most remarkable woman I know,” Preston said. “In her retirement, she takes her free time and goes and sits with groups of kids anywhere that will have her and talks to them about literacy and the importance of reading and sharing her story and that they, too can follow their dreams and be happy.”
Gleichouf said our greatest asset is children and they need to succeed — but can’t if they don’t read.
“If they don’t like to read, they’re reading the wrong books. That’s my message to them. Keep reading, don’t stop reading. Reading is they key that will unlock your dreams,” Gleichouf said.
Advice from a remarkable woman who is living proof that it’s never too late to go after your dreams.
“Keep your hand in your dream and stay focused on it and your dream will come true.”