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Friday, October 14, 2016

Omran... #ThisIsStillAleppo



Omran Daqneesh

It has been weeks since I drew this image after seeing the heart-wrenching news footage. I saw this little boy, covered in dust, dazed and confused, rubbed his head as blood flowed from a wound. He looked at his hand and then rubbed the blood onto the orange seat of the ambulance. Perhaps it resonated more deeply because I have a son about the same age and I couldn't imagine him having to go through the same experience. I was so grateful to the first responders, The White Helmets who risked their own lives to rescue this boy 

Tragically, the bombing continues as of today. I have been devastated by the continual news reports coming from Syria, but also inspired by  Omran Daqneesh, the 5-year-old boy in Aleppo, Syria remains a symbol for all those in need--especially those who do not have a voice. A good overview of ways we can help...  http://www.cfr.org/.../humanitarian-relief.../p9007 #childrenofaleppo #childrenofsyria 


Monday, April 18, 2016

Rare Moments



I painted this in Bologna, Italy. April 2016. I love my Bologna time... the book fair happens each spring.... the week gives me a chance to put the brakes on and spend a week quietly listening to myself think.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Going Home: Playing from the Heart


It's always a dreamy day when I finally hold the first copy of a book I've created. Playing from the Heart, released this week on April 12th,  is extra special to me. I'll share the behind the scenes details of how this book came to be later, but today I wanted to share a letter that illuminates the spirit of the book.

My friends, Ann Crewdson and Linda Erst visited me in Boston a few months ago. I happened to have an advanced copy of my new book, Playing from the Heart which I read aloud to them.

Here is Ann's letter:

Dear Peter,


Linda and I had the honor of hearing you read PLAYING FROM THE HEART out loud to us. Your character, Raj's story reminded me of my father-in-law who played the clarinet for years. He was a music major, but after serving in the military in WWII, he decided to be a dentist. 

He had lost touch with music for decades until my daughter, Victoria picked up the violin as an instrument.  He attended every single concert and I could swear he lived through her violin playing, vicariously.  He attended almost every single one of her Seattle Youth Symphony concerts until he couldn't do it anymore due to infirmary. 

Before he passed away, one of his last wishes was to have my daughter play "Going Home" at his funeral with her violin. 

It was in this moment that I connected your book with my memory.  

It brought me to tears.

And that is what I meant when I said the book is about "going home"
to your talent and the persistence of the human spirit.  


My father-in-law lives on in my children.

Kindest regards,
Ann


I asked Ann if I could share her connection to the story and she kindly allowed me to share it here. While my book is about music, about connecting deeply to the joy of expressing your spirit, it is also a book about what connects us all: love. 

It is my hope that my book will inspire others to "go home" to the place where joy lives--to perhaps a time when it flowed more easily--and to "go home" and rediscover the "chords" that keep us connected. 


Playing from the Heart is published by Candlewick Press who also published The Dot, Ish, The North Star, So Few of Me, and Rose's Garden.


Monday, January 25, 2016

"Who are you?" The North Star Questions



I created this image in 1998--inspired by The North Star book that I published the year before. Once I started thinking about the journey--it was hard to STOP thinking about it.  

 Where had I been? 

 Where was I now? 

Where was I going?  

Where was that I wanted to be going

That last question was THE big North Star question. Just making a few degrees change to the course can land you in a very different place eventually. Ocean navigators know this well. 

Oddly, during my school journey, we rarely seemed have much time for "North Star" thinking. I DO remember being asked:  "What did you do on your summer vacation?" It was the standard, back-to-school chestnut which at least asked me to share a bit about me beyond the classroom. There were, to be fair, a number of teachers along the way who did care about me, but it was rare that the curriculum supported them being able to get me thinking and writing about who I was and what was going in inside my head.

The North Star Interview

I rounded up a few North Star questions for you.  There are plenty more. You'll probably start thinking of them yourself once you get rolling. Your answers will help create a great snapshot of who you are--who you are becoming.

1. What is something important to you?


2. What special talent do you have?


3. What place has special meaning to you?


4. Who has helped you find your way?


5. What do you hope to do someday?


6. What do you need to be more happy?


7. What is a big dream you have--if reality wasn't an obstacle?


8. Who have you helped along the way?


9. If you wrote a book about your life up until now what would the title be?


10. If you wrote a book about your future what would it be titled?


Your answers will lead to more reflection and perhaps writing, drawing, painting, and singing. It might help you choose the next book you read or film to watch--or film to make! 

It's totally up to you. 

Your path. 

Your journey.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rescued Poem


I found this in my studio among my journals. A road-weary little journal. The cheapest kind you can buy in a drugstore. This page had obviously been almost washed away by rain. Or melting snowflakes--seeing that it was a Boston winter of 2003.

It took some effort to decipher:

There will be
stretches of goodness,
like rivers of wheat fields,
and occasional
storms, sudden
and angry
demanding.

Words. A moment in time. 

Almost lost to rain or snow.

The result looks tears-ish. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

How to Recharge Your Spirit in One Easy Step



How do you charge your creative "batteries"? 

Well, for me there is one easy way: connect with kids.  

On most days, I am busy in my studio creating books and films--but when I am lucky enough to break free and venture into schools--I experience the joy of "connecting the dots" with my audience. (Well, half of them anyway, as I try to create my picture books for all ages.)

Schools usually have me do several assemblies where I speak to a few hundred students at a time which I enjoy immensely, but it is after the "big show" is over when I get to connect with kids in an informal way. Some teachers let their kids linger a bit and they get a chance to connect. They bubble with enthusiasm, rattling off comments and asking questions. Timid kids get their chance to share with me. Their insights always delight and inspire me. It is amazing what they pick and what resonates with them. It is a reminder to me that kids are philosophers and deep thinkers. Some are comedians. They are creatives. Idea generators. Poets.

I was at St. Peter's School in Lincoln, Nebraska where the photo above was taken. I was swarmed with kids and tried to connect with each student the best I could. One student asked me:

"How old are you?" 

I paused trying to think of a clever answer.

A bright eyed lad named Nicholas jumped in to answer for me.

"You are as kind as when you were a child, as nice as you are now--and as wise as you will be in the future." 

Stunned--I just smiled--and said, "Yup--you guessed it." 

Batteries: recharged.