To add some encouragement during stressful times and to show how tough times can produce positive effects, look no further than author Tracy Ryder Bradshaw.
Bradshaw, an elementary school teacher in Tennessee, has been a bereaved mom since her son Sawyer’s life was taken on October 13, 2011. He was 19 years old, and she said her world seemed to stop. Three and a half years later, she was given a precious gift in a stuffed therapy bear made from a T-shirt Sawyer wore as a child and another he wore as a teenager. She named him Sawbear and began taking him on vacations and to events.
Camera in hand, Bradshaw said it seemed natural and crazy at the same time to snap pictures of Sawbear. Those photos turned into a children’s book series following the adventures of Sawbear. She said creating Sawbear books has brought sweet memories of her son, smiles, motivation, and love which has comforted her heart.
As part of her journey with Sawbear, she revisited her son’s favorite vacation spot - Orange Beach, Alabama. Bradshaw first published “Sawbear’s Vacation to Orange Beach” in 2017 and recently reached out to the city.
This spring, she created a read aloud of Sawbear’s Orange Beach adventures on YouTube. She hopes children in and around Orange Beach will enjoy the read aloud video. The book is perfect for young children. Kids can follow Sawbear’s vacation as he learns about finding shells, using sunscreen, riding a Ferris Wheel at The Wharf, and much more fun. His adventures are shared from a child's voice with innocence and curiosity as he explores our slice of paradise
The book certainly shows that “Life is Better Here.” We hope to see Bradshaw and Sawbear back in Orange Beach for a vacation soon.