About the Author

Richard P. Gleason

The late children’s book author Richard P. Gleason was on a spiritual journey for most of his life, studying philosophy, backpacking around the world, traveling to India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. This had a great influence on his writing and, particularly, his children’s literary middle-grade fiction fairy tale novel, Sprout, about a young boy’s search for the meaning of life.

A student of eastern philosophy and religion, Richard had a passion for adventure and learning, much like his book’s character. He majored in those concepts at American University where he continued his quest for the meaning of life. Having met the storied American novelist, James Michener, at his parents’ restaurant, Richard became inspired by the author’s style of writing and genre.

Richard attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where he first thought about a future as a writer. Sprout was originally published by Winston-Derek Publishers in 1987 to respected literary recognition. Having made his home in Pennsylvania with his wife and two daughters, it was Richard’s hope that his intellectual and compassionate children’s novel would kindle the fire of knowledge within the minds of his young readers. His book was also used as a teaching tool to encourage philosophical thinking in the classroom.

After his untimely death and thirty-five years since its original publication, Richard’s family wished to revise and reissue a relaunch of Sprout as a celebration of a clever and witty-minded author, a loving and caring father, and a wise and inspiring uncle.

"I am personally very impressed by how Richard’s mind worked. Storytelling craft has a unique style here and he unloads immense beauty as each chapter concludes."

The Backstory

In 2009, we lost my uncle to the throes of mental illness. Were he still alive, I am sure many more Sprout books would have come to life and I could have asked him questions about how he developed this delightful story.

My uncle left behind two beautiful and amazing daughters, my cousins Alyssa & Brigitte, as well as my good friend and aunt, Mette. I reached out and asked how they would feel if we published his book again together. This was the spark that lit our collective fire to share Richard’s story and his book again with the world.

Together, we embarked on our own family adventure, soliciting my mother Colleen’s (Richard’s sister), my sister Stephanie’s (Richard’s niece), and my uncle close friend Rob’s advice and help, as well as recruited my talented and artistic niece, Taylor, to work on illustrations.

This book is a celebration of a clever and witty minded author, a loving and caring father, and a wise and inspiring uncle. I can imagine him sitting in his chair puffing on a pipe, thinking of us and our efforts, saying “COOL BEANS! , well done, well done!”

Xxoo,
Karen Norheim, Richard’s Niece

All the contributors

to this project

Mette Gleason

Widow of Richard, critic, and supporter of the efforts

Alyssa Sollenberger

Daughter of Richard, critic, and supporter of the efforts

Brigitte Gleason

Daughter of Richard, critic,and supporter of the efforts

Robin Santangelo

Close friend of Richard, critic, and supporter of the efforts

Colleen Norheim

Sister of Richard, critic, and supporter of the efforts

Stephanie Norheim

Niece of Richard, critic, and supporter of the efforts

Taylor Suzenski

Niece-once-removed of Richard, Stephanie’s daughter, critic, and illustrator this edition

Karen Norheim

Niece of Richard, critic, and initiator of the project

scroll-to-top