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"After 7 rounds of Chemo, I lost my hair, but not my love of livin' life."

- Ryder Buck


“With no warning, he was gone. GONE.”

Singer and songwriter Ryder Buck was a young man with an unstoppable dream to lift people up through his music. But a threatening cancer diagnosis showed that life had other plans. The disease should have beaten him, but Ryder rose above it all to live from a place of passion.

Then fate stepped in.


Leave Your Light On,” is the song Ryder wrote that became his mantra. In this uplifting and powerful story you’ll meet an unforgettable character determined to accept his own quirks and flaws with humor.

And you’ll see a parent-child relationship tested by unrelenting disease.

“I was committed to making sure he lived.

He was committed to living in the moment.

We both needed to win.

Though it wasn’t cancer that took Ryder, it was the catalyst that helped him grow into the shining spirit he became. His journey of love, courage and truth will convince you that there is no challenge big enough to keep you from putting your special touch on the world.

"This amazing memoir comes straight from a mother’s heart. Through Shelley’s words, we learn that Ryder Buck’s light has hardly dimmed. In fact, it shines brighter than ever. You could warm your hands on it."
Chris Erskine, Author/Columnist





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The Disney + documentary,

"Into the Unknown: The Making of Frozen II"  features a segment in Episode 3 about Ryder.


It is with the deepest appreciation that I share the following endorsements:


“Leave Your Light On is a truly inspirational tale of love and loss, extraordinary happiness and profound sadness. It’s the story of Ryder Buck, who filled the world he lived in every day of his life and left his family and friends with a lasting energy and spirit that will never be doused.”

Bob Iger, CEO The Walt Disney Company


“No matter when you encounter Shelley Buck, it is impossible not to be somehow transformed. Her raw willingness to trust, share and guide is all evidenced in this new memoir, where she recounts the unforgettable journey of love, struggle, loss and discovery, led by her son, Ryder.”

Thomas Schumacher

Producer of the Tony Award Winning Musical, The Lion King

President Walt Disney Theatrical Productions


"Leave Your Light On is a beautiful and heartbreaking journey that highlights the lessons we learn from profound loss. Shelley and Ryder teach us that despite the weight of life's most tragic circumstance, wisdom, perspective and humor always find a way to rise to the top. "

Kristen Bell, Actress


"LEAVE YOUR LIGHT ON is one of the most honest, visceral, and inspiring books about love, loss, grief, and survival. There's no greater loss than that of a child, but Shelley Buck turns her loss into a gift for the world. She gives us the light of her son to carry with us as he inspires us to live our best lives."

Jennifer Lee, CCO Walt Disney Feature Animation


“This searingly honest memoir in all its sadness, tragedy, and humor unleashes powerful emotional forces and a profound understanding of loss, and the cost of loving unconditionally. By turns poetic and pragmatic, but always illuminating, as Shelley shares her story we become part of the family on the journey from denial to acceptance, from pain to a deeper understanding of the true meaning of love.”

Alfred Molina, Actor


"A bittersweet and heart wrenching tale of a young man’s journey into consciousness through physical hardship. It is a story that will inspire everyone to find the light in their own lives, and to cherish every day of the journey that leads them to it."

Peter Segal, Director, TOMMY BOY, 50 FIRST DATES, GET SMART


Shelley’s unfiltered realness made me laugh and cry in the same sentence, and reading Ryder's story makes me want to put down the sheet music and just JAM. Shelley’s managed to show both the human and superhuman sides of herself AND Ryder. He is both a magical figure with an otherworldly poetic existence and an equally lovable and aggravating human being. I am changed forever by hearing Ryder's story, I feel like I know him. 

Jonathan Groff, Tony Award-nominated actor for HAMILTON, FROZEN 1 & 2


“Take this journey with Shelley, Ryder and the courageous Buck family. You will come away forever changed. As I read the last page, I found myself infused with a kind of spiritual lightness and peace. It was as if Ryder, himself, had come and whispered in my ear, “Life is beautiful. Live it large and let it sing.” 

Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Oscar-winning songwriter, FROZEN 1 & 2, COCO


 “As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up and be released from my parents’ grip. As a parent, I cannot fathom letting go of my teenager. This book is undeniably relatable. It is a story about transition.”

Jamie S. Roberts, Casting, Walt Disney Feature Animation


"… a mother’s wrenchingly honest and beautiful love letter, not only to the son whose spirit sings to her from the other side, but also to the two sons and her soul mate who remain with her here.”

Brenda Chapman, Writer/Director


Shelley pays beautiful tribute to her boy; in so many ways it’s the story of Apollo, the god of music, truth and healing, as seen through his mother Leto’s loving eyes.

Kevin Lima, Writer/Director/Producer


“A profound and emotional book that is both life-affirming and uplifting, it details the inspiring journey of Ryder Buck, a creative, charismatic, and courageous young man, who lived life to its fullest and did so on his own terms in the face of overwhelming odds. Shelley Buck gives a brutally honest account of her sometimes contentious (but always nurturing and loving) relationship with her proud and independent son who refused to ever give up. Ryder’s music and spirit live on in this extraordinary book, and the reader will come away better for the experience, feeling as if they’d gotten to know a unique and giving individual whose shining light left a profound impact on the world.”

Howard Green, Walt Disney Publicist/ Historian

“I’ll never forget the moment I encountered the light that emanated from Ryder Buck. He was strumming a guitar on top of a popular hiking trail. He asked if he could play a song for us, and we experienced a lovely moment of live music performed by a stranger.

This book is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul. It is a story of courage, hope, determination and tenacity, of finding light in the mountains and valleys of grief and reserves of strength within.

Anyone reading this book will feel the warmth that defined Ryder, and will be touched by the grace that he and his mother discovered in themselves and each other… an unforgettable read!”

Cater Lee, Broadcast Journalist


‘“The light I’m about to share with you was earthbound, and now it’s not’ - Wow! Infectious and heartfelt, LEAVE YOUR LIGHT ON celebrates the extraordinary life of Ryder Buck and his passion for life, family and music. This unimaginable journey of a mother capturing her son’s soul and spirit into a limited amount of words is remarkable. A true testament to the immense power of a mother’s infinite love and devotion.” 

Pete Donaldson, Literary Manager


To be close to the Buck family is to be forever warmed by their light.

So, when the clouds block out the sun and the waves toss and the tide rips and you finally crawl your way to shore, come and sing a song of love, joy, peace, and hope with us around Ryder’s fire...everyone is welcome.

Dr. Warren Brown


"A mother's celebration of a son she lost too soon and a deeply felt story of motherhood; a moving account of a son's search for health while trying to find who he was; and finally a quilt of memories of love between parents and children that lives beyond mortal lives."

John Musker, Director, Disney Feature Animation, THE LITTLE MERMAID, ALADDIN, HERCULES

"I loved reading this book. One sitting. It is unflinchingly blunt with honest reflection, cold candor, hot-blooded battles, and the never-remedied regrets that haunt to the grave. Shelley's simple profound words of wisdom are dropped so gently as if we all know these things to be true- motherly soft words full of hard truths.

Through Ryder's generosity of spirit, he has shown how even the darkest streets can be lit with love. This book is about that illumination, his bright and warm, loving light as if it was created expressly for us to spread love and joy alone. And most important for Ryder was making uplifting music. Ryder felt strongly, no matter what else you do with each day, be brave enough to be you. You have nothing to lose if you have won your true self and are following your own personal bliss. Life is short. But for him, you will find, just as long as it was meant to be, which was long enough to make a huge difference in many lives. Then and now."

Mike Gabriel, Director, Walt Disney Feature Animation, RESCUERS DOWN UNDER, POCAHONTAS

To learn more about Ryder, his life and his music,


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