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08 March, 2018

Author who is blind releases second children's book

Leonie Pye holding a copy of her book 'The Broken Shell'

Despite progressively losing her sight, author Leonie Pye has written a second children’s book, which she says has become the next stage of her grieving and healing process.

The Broken Shell follows on from Leonie’s debut book The Little Shell. In the sequel, a seagull breaks the shell and the characters heal through allowing sadness and forgiveness.

“The book shows us it’s okay to cry, because tears help our heart to heal,” she says.

Leonie, a former accountant, says the shell that inspired the first book was accidentally broken by her sister.

“When that shell broke, it was like my heart had been broken, too.”

Leonie, 55, has been legally blind for almost 30 years, having been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa when she was 19. The condition initially affected her peripheral vision and she now has minimal functional vision, relying on her Guide Dog Franklin to get around safely and independently.

“Each time I lose more of my sight I grieve. It’s scary and emotional,” she said.

“I never intended to write another book, because for someone who can’t see it‘s quite a difficult process.”

Leonie Pye at the launch of her new book, reading to the crowd

The Broken Shell has been illustrated by local artist Susan Hey, and although Leonie says she can’t fully see the illustrations, she has had them described to her in detail.

“I’ve been told that Sammy the seagull looks very cheeky,” she said.

“It’s hard for me to read anything now, and that’s been stressful because I couldn’t look at the book by sight and say, that’s how it’s meant to be.”

“I had to trust and have a real sense of faith in those friends who helped bring the book to the place where it was ready to go to print.”

Leonie is donating 20% of book sales to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT. She has already donated over $2,000 to Guide Dogs from sales of her first book.

“We’re incredibly grateful for Leonie’s contribution,” said Patrick Shaddock, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Team Manager.

“Without this kind of generous support we wouldn’t be able to provide our services that enable people who are blind or vision impaired to remain safe, active and independent.”

You can purchase The Broken Shell from select Dymocks Bookshop and Harry Hartog stores, or by emailing Leonie at nonibear62 [at]