Copyright © by Julie Brinckloe 2019

Grumpkin Press

All rights reserved.

Photographs and likenesses of Koko, Panny and Michael

© by Ron Cohn and The Gorilla Foundation

Koko’s Kitten © by Penny Patterson, Ron Cohn and The Gorilla Foundation.

No part of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in whole or in part without the prior written consent of Julie Brinckloe and The Gorilla Foundation.

Library of Congress

U.S. Copyright Office

Registraion Number TXu 2-131-759

ISBN 978057851838-1

Printed in the USA

Thank Yous

This story needed inspired players to give it authenticity.  I found them at La Honda Elementary School, a stone’s throw from where Koko lived her extraordinary life (at The Gorilla Foundation).  And I found it in the spirited souls of Stella Machado and her family.

Principal Liz Morgan and teacher Brett Miller embraced Koko with open hearts, and the generous consent of parents paved the way for students to participate in the story.

Ms. Miller’s classroom was the creative, warm place I had envisioned.  And her fourth and fifth grade students were the kids I’d crossed my fingers for.  They lit up the story with exuberance, inspired by true affection for Koko and her friends.

I thank them all.  And following the story they shall all be named.

I thank the San Francisco Zoo for permission to use my photographs taken at the Gorilla Preserve in this book.

I thank Koko’s lifetime photographer, Ron Cohn, for use of his brilliant , treasured photos of Koko, Penny and Michael.

I thank Dr. Gary Stanley, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Educational Technology, for inspiring me to write this story.

And I thank Dr. Penny Patterson for devoting her radiant life to a gorilla named Koko, whose hands became a voice for all Great Apes by showing the world their bright and noble souls.

When the species learn to share,

People of Earth become aware

That love and light unite us all …

Animal, human, great and small.”


How to Get the Book

We’re currently offering A Wish for Koko only to Gorilla Foundation members.  When you make a donation, you’ll automatically receive the electronic (eBook/pdf) version, and have the option to receive a high-quality paperbound version by making a donation of $50 or more:



Your feedback on the book is particularly welcome, and we may incorporate it in future testimonials (with your permission) and educational books by The Gorilla Foundation.

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Stay tuned for a new kids’ feature on that we’re calling “Kids4Koko.”

Kids4Koko is introduced in the book, A Wish for Koko, as a group of kids, teachers and schools dedicated to advancing Koko’s legacy of interspecies communication with great apes, and learning how to sign as an active show of support.

There’s even a cool Kids4Koko t-shirt that was designed by a boy who appears in the book, which we may make available for sale when the time is right.

If you, or your child, is interested in subscribing to Kids4Koko when it comes online, please email [email protected]g and we’ll keep you posted.


About the Author

Julie Brinckloe has published many books for young readers, including Fireflies!, Playing Marbles and A Stitch in Time for the Brothers Rhyme. She has illustrated stories by such noted authors as Art Buchwald, Claude Aubry and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Her art has appeared in Cricket and other magazines and was commissioned by Mister Rogers Neighborhood. She was awarded Parents Choice and Dr. Toy awards for her interactive children’s books to improve cognition. And she used her own character voice because “I’m a part of every story I write.” She has also worked as photo/videographer, and chose photographic art in A Wish for Koko “to bring a real story to life.”

Julie learned about Koko while employed as staff artist at McGraw-Hill in the early 1990’s. Profoundly moved, she vowed to support the Gorilla Foundation with donation and design—and now with a book, to honor and support Koko’s legacy.  She lives on the California Coastside with her dog, Yoshi, and her goldfish, Billy, Lilli and Smudge.