'The Bear’s journey is delightful and the love between Ava and her grandfather is touching…a kid’s book for adults…with an emphasis on keeping a grateful heart.' – Kirkus Reviews



Ava's Grateful Bears

The inspiration to write the true story of Ava’s Grateful Bears came about on a secluded beach in Nosara, Costa Rica. A wedding was taking place and one of the guests was Jerry Garcia. In Spirit. Over the next year, through a series of very serendipitous events, I became friends with Wendy Weir. Wendy had previously written two children’s books with her brother Bob. Bob Weir is a founding member of the rock group, The Grateful Dead. When I shared the story with Wendy, I asked if she would be interested in creating the illustrations. She was too busy at the time and suggested I contact the University of California, Santa Cruz to see if an art student would be interested in the project. UCSC is home to the Grateful Dead archives as well as a major exhibit showcasing both their music and art.

My wife, Laurie, suggested a contest for all UCSC art majors to have an opportunity to illustrate “Ava’s Grateful Bears.” Over 50 students applied for the project by forwarding their artwork to us. When we narrowed it to five, I drove to UCSC to interview the lucky artists. Maggie High was the chosen student. Her interpretations of the Grateful Bears were exactly what I had envisioned. She captured their spirit, playfulness and warmth perfectly. As for Ava, Maggie has created a caricature of my granddaughter that will be treasured for generations to come.

Douglas Bratt, aka Ava’s Grandpa

With over 100 solid 5-star reviews on Amazon and over 50,000 followers on Facebook, “Ava’s Grateful Bears,” continues to touch the hearts of children, parents and grandparents across the country and around the world. A simple story of a grandfather looking for connection with his granddaughter, via a box of over 100 stuffed bears. One recent review compared the story to The Velveteen Rabbit …times 100! Celebrities, rock stars and counter culture icons all agree: “Ava’s Grateful Bears,” is a book worth reading to those little ones you love…or just to open your own adult heart.

Have a Grateful Journey-
With “Ava’s Grateful Bears”

Purchase an Autographed Copy of Ava’s Grateful Bears here. Also available at Amazon.

What Folks Are Saying About Ava’s Grateful Bears


Keith Richards

With grandson and the 1st. Deva Premal Grateful Bear.


Bob Weir

May the magic never end


Wavy Gravy

“This heartwarming book will make every grandparent reevaluate their connection with their grandkids.”


Wendy Weir

Doug Bratt and Wendy Weir with the first prototype Grateful Bear.

Ava’s Grateful Bears is a wonderful, heart-warming children’s story about gratitude and love as expressed by author Doug Bratt and his delightful Grateful Dead stuffed bears. It is also a real life story about Doug and his granddaughter Ava. When I first read it, it brought tears to my eyes. Once the beautiful creative illustrations were added, it made the story come alive. Although special for Christmas, the message is perfect year-round. I highly recommend it!

– Wendy Weir


Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead and Grateful Wavy Gravy Bear.

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"If you loved The Velveteen Rabbit,
you're going to LOVE Ava's Grateful Bears."

Roger McNamee
Moonalice, Elevation Partners, Silver Lake Partners and Author of ‘Zucked’


Jack Canfield

“You’ve got a winner here!”

Jack Canfield, co-author of worldwide bestselling series Chicken Soup For the Soul.
Tee shirt from U. Cal Berkeley proudly displayed. G0 BEARS!


Rusty Goldman aka Professor Poster

"My niece and nephew loved this story...so did I."


Deva Premal and Miten

“Ava’s Grateful Bears is full of simple, unadulterated wisdom – and a basic message of loving kindness. We love it!! We also love the great illustrations by maggie high (great name!!). Can’t wait for the movie!”


Norman “Spirit In the Sky” Greenbaum and Bonita Kapps

“Just a couple of Deadheads loving Ava’s Grateful Bears. Our highest recommendations!”


Wes Wilson

Legendary 1960's psychedelic poster artist.
The cover art of Ava's Grateful Bears was influenced
by his work


Commander Cody

"Grateful Bears love Boogie Woogie!"


Dan Hicks

At The Red Dog Saloon, Virginia City, NV, June 16, 2015 50-year reunion with The Amazing Charlatans. Happy Trails dear friend.