About the Book

2023 FOREWORD INDIES FINALIST

2023 PUBWEST DESIGN AWARDS WINNER

2024 FEATHERED QUILL BOOK AWARDS WINNER | GOLD

2024 IBPA BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARDS FINALIST

Steeped in beautiful art and verse that invites reflection, Morning Leaves is the perfect gift book or self-purchase for those grieving the loss of a loved one.

In the wake of the untimely death of the author's younger sister and isolated by the pandemic, Rikkers produced Morning Leaves, a book of vulnerable, evocative, and ultimately hopeful poems. She introduces her story and explains how counseling, the artistic process, and nature helped her through the healing process.

Her poems, paired with Kelly Leahy Radding's stunningly realistic botanical paintings, metaphorically describe the range of emotions she passes through while grieving. Rikkers seizes the opportunity to be attentive to who she is and, more importantly, who she wants to be, leaving space for the reader to do the same. Her writing is soulful, open, and accessible and the artwork is exquisite. Ultimately, readers are invited to reflect on themselves as they address the grief and loss they have experienced in their own lives.

MORE PRAISE FOR MORNING LEAVES

“The poems within Morning Leaves are tender, compassionate and full of wonder. Laing's writing and Kelly's illustrations are conduits for healing and hope.” –Kristin A. Meekhof, co-author of A Widow's Guide to Healing

“Laing Rikkers’ first book is a wonderful example of the ways in which communion with the natural world can calm, restore and heal. Dedicated to her late sister Ginna, it makes a meaningful argument for the power of quiet observation in the midst of chaos, and an appreciation for the beauty and wisdom which is all around.” –Anna Holmes, award-winning writer and editor at publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The New Yorker, and founder of the site Jezebel

“So beautifully written and thoughtfully constructed. Visceral. Visual. Vulnerable. The passages cracked open my heart.” –Amy K. Hutchens, award-winning speaker and bestselling author of Get It and The Secrets Leaders Keep

"Through *Morning Leaves, Laing has found an elegant, beautiful way to deal with her loss. Poetry is so helpful here, isn’t it. The book is quite beautiful to look at as well." *–Nils Peterson, first Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County and author of The Comedy of Desire

Awards and Press

Mel Yoakum

Ph.D.

Everything about Morning Leaves is calming, soothing, peaceful, and then engaging. . . [Laing] has illuminated a road map, of sorts, for each new reader to find their own path forward towards healing and acceptance.

Tucker Malarkey

author of An Obvious Enchantment

With spare, lyrical verses, Rikkers brings us into commune with the earth, with all of life; connecting us with ourselves, with each other.

Edward Slingerland

author of Drunk and Trying Not to Try and Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia

This is a beautiful book. I think it will be very helpful to people navigating grief or loss, pointing the way to finding meaning and solace in connecting to plants, animals and the rhythms of nature.

Reverend Elizabeth Uslander

MSW

The voice is beautiful, delicate, powerful, rich, relatable, clear, articulate, whimsical and penetrating.

Dr. Elizabeth Andrews

psychologist

Beautiful, powerful, humbling, painful, at times terrifying – all one messy mix. It touches somewhere deep. Will read again and again to digest and fuel.

Nils Peterson

first Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County and author of The Comedy of Desire

Through Morning Leaves, Laing has found an elegant, beautiful way to deal with her loss.

Neal Seltzer

DMD

The story that this book tells is certainly valuable to anyone who has not ‘stopped to smell the roses.’

Bonnie Smith Whitehouse

Author of Seasons of Wonder: Making the Ordinary Sacred Through Projects

Rikkers’ beautiful volume demonstrates how artistic endeavors can become healing balms.

Dr. Bob Uslander

co-founder of Empowered Endings Medical Group

Laing’s beautiful poems offer reflections of her deep connection with the simple beauty that exists all around us, and allows the reader a glimpse beyond what the eyes see, into what the soul experiences. The poems are soothing and provocative at the same time.

Anna Holmes

an award-winning writer

Dedicated to [Rikkers'] late sister Ginna, [Morning Leaves] makes a meaningful argument for the power of quiet observation in the midst of chaos, and an appreciation for the beauty and wisdom which is all around.

Faith Salie

Emmy-winning contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning and author of Approval Junkie

Morning Leaves is a gift to all who open their eyes to its images and their hearts to its whispers and exhortations.

Kitty O'Meara

bestselling author of And the People Stayed Home

Laing bravely lifts her raw pain and willingness to listen to the lessons offered by the natural world during her morning walks and waits for the metaphors to be revealed...The striking illustrations by Kelly Leahy Radding perfectly accompany this journey, underscoring its fragility, unique gifts, and profound unfolding beauty.

Kristin A. Meekhof

M.S.W.

The poems within Morning Leaves are tender, compassionate and full of wonder. Laing's writing and Kelly's illustrations are conduits for healing and hope.

Jessica Zemple

author of Shuck This Way

This book is for everyone whether grieving or craving a connection to your soul...This is a retreat for your soul. This is a way to connect to your heart. This is a way to slow down and truly see the interconnections of all of life. This is love.

Trish Healy Luna

author of Timbi Talks about Addiction

This beautiful, gorgeous thing that Laing Rikkers and Kelly Leahy Radding have created together is…incredible, deeply moving and profound.

Meet the Author

Laing F. Rikkers grew up in New York City, attended Harvard College and received an MA in Psychology from Columbia University. She spent eighteen years working in private equity and is a founder and Executive Chairman of ProSomnus Sleep Technologies which develops medical devices for the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. She currently lives in Cardiff, California, with her husband, children, and dogs.

Meet the Illustrator

Kelly Leahy Radding honors the natural world she loves through her art. She finds all aspects of nature interesting subjects for her paintings. Animals, plants, butterflies, rocks, the sometimes overlooked minute details of Nature, are to her an integral and necessary part of the whole. Kelly grew up in rural Connecticut on the edge of a state forest and has come full circle living on a farm in Columbia, Connecticut at the end of a dirt road surrounded by woods. She shares the farm with her husband, her brother, three gray cats, seven elderly goats and one perfect border collie.