Letter to My Younger Self: Kelly Light

In All, Books by Matthew WinnerLeave a Comment

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Many of the experiences we have in elementary school shape the person we become in our adulthood. We invited author-illustrator Kelly Light to send a letter to her younger self along with a copy of the Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship.

Dear Little Kelly,

“When you wish upon a star…makes no difference who you are…anything your heart desires will come to you…. If your heart is in your dreams…. No request is too extreme…. When you wish upon a star as dreamers do.”

You really love this song. You love wishing on stars. You believe in never missing your one chance every night to get that wish in. Because, ofcourse the rule is…your wish is made on the first star you see tonight. You wish you may, you wish you might… have the wish you wish every night.

Pencil in hand, you make that wish over and over. “I want to be a great artist.” “I want to draw my whole life.” “I want to work for Disney.” “I want to make cartoons.” “I want to be an animator.” “I want to show the world what I can make.”

“I want Brian Kelly to like me and marry me and then my name will be Kelly Kelly.”

OK, boys are gonna be in the mix too. But NOT as much as you wish for a lifetime with a pencil and paper in front of you, pulling lines and curves and creating characters that make people smile.

You know what? You get your wish. Do you believe it? I know you do.
You always believe, I remember that.

You always believe in yourself. It’s not the wishing part after all, is it? It’s the “If your heart is in your dreams..” part of the song, that got it right. Your heart was in your dream. You never put down the pencil.

You were told a few times that you didn’t fit in. The you weren’t not be good enough. You found yourself in situations where the pencil became hard to hold on to. Sometimes, you may have wanted to stop believing in yourself. Even in those times, you looked up at the stars and wished to keep going. You picked up a new piece of paper and sharpened that pencil. (You still love an extra sharp point!) You kept drawing. You worked harder. You drew better.

Each wish was a declaration! I’m not sure stars have much sway with fate, even if fate is kind. I think, YOU made my life happen. Your unyielding belief and determination made almost all of those wishes come true.

Not the one about Brian Kelly…but,the wish about drawing for the rest of your life? Slam Dunk!

Making art has turned out to be the continuous line throughout our life. A glorious drawn line that brings wonderful people and places and adventure into your life.

These things happening to you as a kid? The bad stuff?
I want to tell you “it gets better”. But in truth…
People hurt each other. You continue to hurt. People can be cruel.
Life is not always fair.
People leave. People change.
Grown up bullies exist.
But the pencil is mightier than the sword. Kindness is not a weakness.
You are stronger than those who do not know from kindness. Kindness is a superpower.
You will learn the “Art of Friendship” over time. When you think you can’t go on, it will be friends that get you through. They show up, like unspoken wishes that your heart made.

And your Dad is in the stars now. So it’s like having a Bat Phone – direct dial, private wish line!

Here, as grown up, middle aged Kelly, you have had some really tough moments. Thinking about you, Little Kelly, and the way you believed in yourself, helps me pick up the pencil again. This heart is still in your dreams.

Let’s draw!

Your Pal,

Thanks, Kelly!

Kelly Light lives in New York but grew up down the shore in New Jersey surrounded by giant pink dinosaurs, cotton candy colors, and Skee-Ball sounds. She was schooled on Saturday-morning cartoons and Sunday funny pages. She picked up a pencil, started drawing, and never stopped.

Kelly is the author/Illustrator of the Louise series. Louise Loves Art (Fall 2014) and Louise and Andie, The Art of Friendship (Spring 2016) are the first two books in the series.

Kelly has also illustrated Elvis and the Underdogs andElvis and the Underdogs: Secrets, Secret Service, and Room Service by Jenny Lee, and The Quirks series by Erin Soderberg.

For more about Kelly, visit kellylight.com.

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