NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence native, Cindy Gelormini (aka The Paint Diva) has been locally known as an Interior Designer, Paint Color Expert, Stager and Decorative Artist for quite some time. Now after months in quarantine, she can add author and illustrator to her list of skills. Gelomini is currently seeking financial support by way of a Kickstarter campaign to get her children’s trilogy titled, “Robbie’s World and His Spectrum of Adventures” published and use the sales of her book to start a foundation to support families with autistic children.   

Gelormini, a mother of four, lost her son Robbie who had severe autism and suffered from seizures in November of 2017.  A year after her son’s passing, a colleague recommended that she write a book and base it on Robbie’s story. She ended up writing 12. “The books all rhyme, it is easy for me because I'm a singer/songwriter. So this was like sitting down and writing 12 songs. I was able to do my own illustrations because I am also a decorative artist,” Gelormini said.  She decided to break the 12 stories up into three books, with four chapters in each. 

At the time this article was published, Gelormini had raised $3,396 of her $18,000 goal in order to self-publish the trilogy. She faces a September 1st deadline to raise enough funds to print the books in time for her Designer Showcase to benefit the Autism Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital, which is also in September. After the event, Gelormini’s ultimate goal is to sell her books to raise money to start a foundation that will help families with autistic children. “I want to have retreat weekends for the parents. And I want to build more group homes with people that are highly trained and know how to work with people with autism because there is such a need for this,” she explained.

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Gelormini pays homage to her hometown in the trilogy, “people from New Providence will recognize many of the illustrations in the story. Places like Salt Brook school, Zita‘s Ice Cream, Our Lady of Peace Church, Gelormini’s Automotive, New Providence High School and the Jersey Shore,” said Gelormini.

She hopes that her children’s books featuring adorable penguins bring healing and hope to families with children who were recently diagnosed with autism.  “Parents are going to learn a lot about autism, and they are going to learn about it in a funny way,” explained Gelormini. At the end of each chapter she offers "Mom's Minute" where she tells the real life story of what the chapter was based on and educates parents about autistic behaviors like "stimming" and "eloping." Gelormini also hopes to broaden awareness of these behaviors so that the peers of autistic children will become more accepting and understanding.  “I have already heard from teachers that cannot wait to read the story to their students, it will teach all the other students about autism and how to understand their fellow students who may be on the spectrum,” said Gelormini.  

A message of unwavered acceptance and love is expressed throughout the trilogy, as the mother penguin often reminds Robbie, “I love you just the way you are.”  So, why penguins? “Beginning the day that Robbie passed away we began to find random penguins in places like our front lawn, on my husband's desk, almost everywhere we looked. When we cleaned his room and opened his DVD player we found that the last movie he watched was, “Happy Feet.” I like to say it was all Robbie's idea,” said Gelormini. 

To learn more about, “Robbie’s World and His Spectrum of Adventures” and to support the campaign click here.