Search form

New Book Chronicles Inspiring Life and Tragic Death of Chris Buck’s Son Ryder

‘Leave Your Light On,’ by Shelley Buck, artist and wife of the Oscar-winning Frozen and Frozen 2 director, shares the story of her son’s valiant battle against an unrelenting illness, the rich life he lived, and the love he shared with his family and friends.

Coming July 6 is a new book, “Leave Your Light On,” by Shelley Buck, artist and wife of Oscar-winning Frozen and Frozen 2 director Chris Buck, that chronicles the tragic death and inspiring life of their son Ryder. The young singer-songwriter was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 at age 22; surgery and extensive treatments beat back the disease within eight months. But only six months later, the 23-year-old Ryder was sadly struck and killed by a vehicle on a freeway after his car had broken down.

The 214-page book will be released in hardcover ($24.99), paperback ($18.99), e-book ($9.99) and audiobook (releasing soon) by Eagle’s Quest Publishing and available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book retailers. 

“Leave Your Light On” is the story of how Ryder adapted to life after learning he had cancer and how that inspired him and changed his relationship with his parents and the world around him. Told through first person accounts, recollections from friends and family and Ryder’s own words from his journals and social media posts, the book shows a parent-child relationship challenged by an unrelenting illness and a young man’s determination to live life on his own terms. The book was co-written with writer Kathy Curtis, with the title coming from a song written by Ryder about maintaining a positive attitude.

“His legacy lives on through this story, which I hope will inspire many people who are faced with the difficulty of hearing and processing bad news,” Shelley Buck shared. “We can’t always change what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to it.”

Chris Buck dedicated his 2014 Best Animated Feature Oscar for Frozen to Ryder’s memory; his son was also the inspiration for the song “The Next Right Thing” from Frozen 2 and the film’s character, Ryder Nattura, was named after him. In addition, the just released Disney+ documentary series Into the Unknown: The Making of Frozen 2 features a segment about Shelley and Chris’ son.

“Shelley has done an extraordinary job capturing the impact Ryder had on us and the world during his short life,” Chris Buck said. “Ryder was the type of person who inspired others to be and do their best and he was such a gift to us in so many ways.”

“’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,” said Robert Iger, Executive Chairman, The Walt Disney Company.

Jennifer Lee, Walt Disney Feature Animation’s Chief Creative Officer and Chris Buck’s directing partner on both Frozen and Frozen 2, commented, “’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.”

Visit for more information.

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.