A busy start to the year!

by Peter Raymundo

     This was easily the busiest January I have ever had.  I visited 10 schools in just one month, all while preparing for the release of my next book, Third Grade Mermaid and the Narwhals.  In many ways though, visiting schools and being able to speak to and inspire hundreds and hundreds of students in a day is the best part of my career.

 At Cypress Elementary in Orlando, Florida.

At Cypress Elementary in Orlando, Florida.

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     When I was younger, I was fortunate enough to meet Caldecott Honor winner, Cynthia Rylant.  I won a calendar contest for her coming to our town's library, so when I met Miss Rylant she not only signed her books, but the calendar with my drawing on the cover as well. 

      Our meeting was brief, but extremely meaningful. When I asked her if she thought I was good enough to become an artist one day, she held up the calendar with my drawing on the cover and said, "Peter, not only could you be, you SHOULD BE."  I took those words to heart and used them as fuel to push me past seemingly endless years of struggle.  Of course, I am by no means a Cynthia Rylant, but if I can give even a single child the kind of hope and motivation that Cynthia Rylant gave me, I would consider my career a success.