Al Cassidy has been interested in characters and stories from a very young age. Growing up, his father’s work in sales and marketing took the family of six all over the US—from Florida to California, Minnesota to Utah, and everywhere in between. Having to adapt to new places and relationships on the fly made him a talented observer, and he learned to quickly hone in on the defining characteristics that make each person, place, and situation unique. By age three, Cassidy was learning to draw animals, people and materials. This began a great enthusiasm for crafting characters based on observations gleaned throughout his travels and using them to tell stories. He pursued the arts through high school and college, graduating second in class from The Art Institute of Philadelphia then diving into the working world, merging his skills as an artist with communication in business. Like the characters in his childhood comics, Al Cassidy believes each person has a certain something that sets us apart, and that we all have something valuable to contribute to society. This belief was the drive behind the creation of the Freeing Linhurst series. Having witnessed firsthand the prejudice those with intellectual disabilities face, he observed the many conflicting lenses people view the crumbling remnants of institutions like Linhurst through and wanted to tell a tale that would give voice to those whose side of the story often goes untold.