By Celeste McNeil; photo courtesy of Monica Harrmon
Local children’s author, illustrator and artist Mark Ludy recently visited Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) school. Ludy captivated students and staff alike with his inspirational message, humor and artwork.
With a passion for encouragement and out-of-the-box thinking, Ludy talked about his own journey as a struggling young student. “I did terrible in school and never felt like I fit in – wasn’t ‘normal’ and didn’t seem to be cut from the same cloth” he said. Despite his bumpy road and through hard work, grit and determination, Ludy has found a path to success and an outlet to help raise others along the way.
Ludy shared his process for creating books and art. He highlighted parallel principles for anyone who “has dared to be all they were intended to be.” He emphasized just doing “good” is actually the enemy of our “best.” When we don’t push ourselves to “best,” it doesn’t allow for that extra measure of growth that only comes from stretching the perceived constraints of our abilities.
Although he often speaks at schools, Ludy’s message isn’t just for kids. “Many, many adults need to be encouraged that they are multifaceted individuals with different capacities and interests.” Ludy feels our culture’s prescribed path for what defines beauty and success is “rubbish, and it’s important to put light upon this and show it for the lie that it is.” We should be celebrating everyone’s talents and abilities, even if they don’t fit into the prescribed cultural norms.
Ludy’s message is one of encouragement to be yourself and shine your unique light. “It just happens that the journey of creating and growing as individuals, or ‘pursuing our BEST’ are principles that are common across the board.” His message was for everyone; BRE students and staff were inspired after hearing it.
In addition to encouraging, Ludy entertained the assembly by drawing and sharing portions of his newest book. “All the kids, even the kindergarteners, were enthralled with him [Ludy]. It was amazing,” said learning commons teacher Jodi Robinson.
Ludy’s books and art can be found at https://markludy.com.