NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — Saturday was a very busy day for local author Cindy Gelormini — from 11 to 2 p.m. she signed copies of her three “Robbie’s World” books at Linda’s Creative Gifts, then took a break before heading to Paolo’s Kitchen to sign books from 3 to 6 p.m. Earlier in the month she was featured on the NBC Morning Show as Autism Awareness Month. On Friday, she will be giving a live talk on Zoom to students at Salt Brook and Roberts schools on how she wrote and illustrated her books, and will be back signing books on Saturday, April 24, at Tons of Toys in Madison from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There are three books in the series: “Robbie's World, and his Spectrum of Adventures," and each starts with the same sentence: "Robbie is a penguin who loves riding in the car, his mama always says, 'I love you just the way you are'."
In reality, Robbie was Gelormini’s son. He was on the autism spectrum, somewhere between profound and severe, and died in 2017 from a seizure at the age of 27.
On Saturday, Gelormini said the books are filled with stories based upon things that actually happened in Robbie’s life — most of them in New Providence. For instance, one story is about the time she and other leaders were holding a Brownie meeting at Salt Brook School. Robbie was there, but snuck out and, when they discovered he was gone, they mounted a search. With the help of Brownie leaders, the police and others, he was quickly found — happily splashing in the Salt Brook.
He liked to explore and run away (“elope”) she said, and once was found at the 50-yard-line at the Pioneer’s Football Field.
There are four chapters in each of the three books, 12 overall. The books cover his adventures during different time periods. Book 1 is from birth through 4 and follows Robbie as his parents take him to the doctor, and they learn why he is different from other children, Book 2 covers his adventures in the fall and winter, Book 3, new adventures with twin sisters and a baby brother in the spring and summer. At the end of each chapter there’s a section called “Mom’s Minutes,” specifically for the mom or other adult reader. These sections contain photos of Robbie, his family and friends, and provide awareness, insight and educational resources on autism for the adult reader.
Gelormini is an artist, so it is no surprise that she illustrated the books herself to bring the stories to life. There are a total of 340 illustrations in the three books, each of which is more than 100 pages long, and all of which were published this year.
Learn more about autism and Robbie on the Robbie’s World: Robbie and Me, Autism Reality on their Facebook Page,
"Robbie's world, and his spectrum of adventures" can be ordered through Amazon.