Gracie and Josh welcomes everyone of all ages into the story of Incy Wincy Spider, singing, dancing and like Incy Wincy – ‘You just have to try, try and try again’ – because the sun will come out again.

Gracie and Josh is a joyous celebration of all kids, especially those with special needs, their siblings, family and community . It recognises the commonality of emotions, relationships, hope and family in all of us.

‘So brilliantly created, with story and illustrations intricately blended … illness does not become the focus …, but the means by which Gracie and Josh take every moment of life as a precious gift. A sweet telling of siblings loving each other, enjoying each others, and rising above what life throws at them.

Inspiration for creating Gracie and Josh

Variety spoke to Susanne Gervay about creating a picture book that shares the journey of children and adults, within families with a special needs child, and the broader community.

Thinking at her computer, she looked up and saw the photo of her daughter dressed as a spider taped onto the bookshelf.

This became the inspiration behind Gracie and Josh where Susanne used the nursery rhyme to acknowledge the challenges and the spirit to celebrate each day.

Then illustrator Serena Geddes embraced ‘Gracie and Josh’ celebrating the joy of children.Serena spent weeks at the school in the chidren’s hospital, played and drew with kids capturing their spirit for Gracie and Josh.

A Disney animator, Serena Geddes is one of Australia’s most loved illustrators. Her books included illustrator for the best selling Lulu Bell series written by Belinda Murrell.

What people are saying

“Gracie and Josh is a book about sticking together – through good and bad. It is about unconditional love and support, about resilience and about never giving up. It is a book that will make you turn to your family members and hug them. It is a book that you won’t easily forget.”

BUZZ WORDS MAGAZINE Reviewed by Francine Sculli

“A sweet telling of siblings loving each other, enjoying each other, and rising above what life throws at them.”

Children’s Book Council Australia, Rachel Greenwood Editor

“It is a story which shows both the joys of being a kid as well as their vulnerability and confusion when confronted with tough stuff, and how the special relationship between siblings is so critical. As much as Gracie is there for Josh, he is there for Gracie.”

Barbara Braxton Teacher Librarian M.Ed. (TL); M.App.Sci. (TL); M.I.S. (Children’s Services)

“It isn’t often – if ever – that a picture book has the power to bring a lump to my throat. This one did it for me. Endorsed by Variety the children’s charity, Gracie and Josh is not a story about fighting a life-threatening disease; it’s a story about life and living – and milking every drop from every minute we have been given. This is a profound lesson for us all. Sadly, the world is filled with children like Gracie and Josh. Every one of them is undoubtedly a hero.”

PIO reviewer Jenny Mounfield