C.C.: Q&A with Peter H. Reynolds

Q&A-LighterSideUp_WriterSideUp.com_byDonnaMariePeter - portrait

     A “Lighter Side Up”

            Q & A with

        Peter Reynolds


Confident that someone wouldn’t have to be unusually perceptive, it’s not a stretch to assume you’ve gotten just a bit of a hint that I am somewhat OVER-THE-MOON, JUMPING-OUT-OF-MY-SKIN EXCITED about the Reynolds brothers visiting my blogs for a “chat” in celebration of International Dot Day 😁😍👍👏😎❣💥!!!!!!!

No “Dynamic Duo” is complete when you have one of a pair. Last week I had the pleasure of one cape-donning superhero dropping by: the amazing Paul Reynolds. This week none other than the pencil-and-brush-wielding Peter Reynolds is here. Needless to say, very much in “Lois Lane” fashion, I’ve been swept off my feet to circle the stars by their gracious presence and certainly their incredibly thoughtful, moving and inspirational responses to my questions. I’m betting you enjoyed Paul’s and are about to enjoy Peter’s too 😀 😎 (also posted on “Writer Side UP!“)

If you missed it last week, in Paul’s Q&A I highlighted a bit of their background and work, so in case you missed it or simply want to reread those couple of paragraphs, rather than reiterate now, please check it out. But what I will reiterate is mentioning the books they have collaborated on (so far) because they should be mentioned — often! 😀

Going Places -cover

Their first book was Going Places published March 2014, followed by their “STEAM” series which includes (as of this post) 3 books featuring Sydney & Simon: Full Steam Ahead!, Sept. 2014; Go Green!, Oct 2015; and To the Moon!, Aug, 2017 (you can get autographed copies too!).


Full Steam Ahead-cover       

One of my most cherished KidLit highlights is, without question, the day in 2015 when, for the first time, I got to meet and speak with Peter at a Bank Street College event. I’d informed him I would be attending so he wasn’t surprised when he, upon entering a filled, dark auditorium mid-speaker and not wanting to interfere with the engaged audience, just happened to sit on the step right next to my seat (seriously—what are the chances?) and I introduced myself. He greeted me so warmly then almost instantly pulled out a small, blank card, began doodling, and handed it to me (click to enlarge) →

Every once in a great while (excluding close family and friends), I cross paths with someone whose capacious heart (thanks for the word, Kate DiCamillo 😉 ) compels me to want to express my appreciation for that beautiful, innate quality (I see you, Julie <3). You see, I wasn’t the only recipient bestowed with a “Peter” treasure that day. Like an enchanting Happiness Fairy, when the book-signing area had emptied due to another speaker in the auditorium and he wasn’t yet alerted to my presence, I spied Peter flitting about, scattering more of his doodled “orphans” (as he calls them) like fairy dust, spreading delight wherever he could. I then had the pleasure of chatting with him for a bit and do believe I caught a glimpse of his wings 🙂 . Everything I’d witnessed and experienced of Peter that day (and I’m SURE he does this everywhere he goes 😎 ), along with the immeasurable joy his work has brought to me for many years, led me to painting a t-shirt for him. This first image was on its front, while the second was on its sleeve—since that’s where Peter wears his heart ❤ …

There is SO much to enjoy about Peter and Paul Reynolds, it’s hard to get enough of them which is why I’ve included many links overflowing with interesting info, videos and more.  Some links were included in Paul’s Q&A, but Peter’s KidLit presence makes him even more visible to the world, so you will find many additional links at the bottom of this post. With that said, we can get to the highlights: Peter’s delightful answers. You’re in for another “Reynolds” treat 😀 …


What’s your favorite thing about having a twin brother?

  • It’s an amazing blessing to be born with your best friend. From day one, we shared the journey together. We realize that many siblings are quite close, but the twin connection is extra special. There is a synchronization that probably is similar to players on the best sports teams — that initiative, non-verbal communication. Paul and I are definitely an amazing team. We share the mission and love to work, create, share, and celebrate along the journey. 

DM: There’s a lot to be said for destiny and yours and Paul’s relationship is a beauty to behold 😀 ❤

What did you enjoy most about finally getting to collaborate on books together?

  • Paul was the quieter twin growing up leaving me to be the “spokes-twin.” He also was very patient and content with doing chores. Our roles developed early with me being the dreamer/storyteller and Paul being the “get it done” guy. It makes sense that I Going Places -coverstarted creating books first, but it was clear to me that Paul was just as creative a storyteller as I was, as well as being an amazing teacher. I urged Paul to start writing. It was so wonderful to finally see Paul’s name on a book alongside my own. The book, Going Places was our first collaboration and it is fitting that the book is ABOUT collaboration! Illustrating Paul’s words is a joy. Our “Sydney & Simon” series, which has three books, feature creative twins , so those books were a great way to share some insights to what it’s like experiencing “twin-sync.” During the writing process, we’d have brainstorm sessions and I’d do a few sketches which really helped Paul see the story and shape the books. 

DM: I’m such a fan of Going Places and your “Sydney & Simon” books are terrific teaching tools. In a world where competitiveness rules, the two of you are the much-needed “poster boys” for supportiveness. How lucky we are that you were born brothers—and best friends 🙂

In Dedham, MA, you and your brother established your family owned business, The Blue Bunny. What is your favorite aspect of owning a book store?

  • We love seeing how happy this space we created makes people. Everyday we get the reward of seeing our “creative community center” buzzing with energy and excitement.

The bookshop is a physical manifestation of our mission. It is a blend of storytelling and story-making. Books, toys, and art supplies are there to inspire reading , writing, drawing, and storytelling.

While we both love having impact globally with our stories, we both feel very passionate about making sure we are having local impact. Our bookshop is part of the fabric of our wonderful town of Dedham, Massachusetts. It’s a very special place. 

DM: Everything I’ve seen and heard about this store makes me long to visit. It’s a bit of a ride to get there, but not so far that I can’t make it happen. For sure, I’ll be letting you know if it does!

You are a great advocate of creativity, to say the least. Along with the help of Terry Shay, you and Paul are co-founders of International Dot Day, its birthday being September 15th-ish though is celebrated year-round. In 2017, the participation worldwide reached over 10,000,000! What is the most meaningful aspect, to you personally, of this inspiring movement?

  • It amazes me that one little dot on a page has evolved into something this big. I love that Dot Day has become a tradition — a sanctioned event that allows educators the time, resources, and support to celebrate some big ideas that help “set the compass” for the year. While the day certainly has a strong art theme — it actually has a wider scope which includes creativity, bravery, sharing, global connections, and for older students a focus on how they’ll use their talents, energy and time to “make their mark.” This leads to service learning projects as well as thinking about their future.

I think about being that kid in school doodling away and often being told to stop — to do it on my own time. So it’s amazing to have helped launch a day set aside for creative mark-making and seeing how that day also has influenced the culture and climate of schools. I like to point out that it’s not only kids that benefit from this creative re-charge, but it’s the educators, families and communities. The world needs more color, more kindness and generosity, more creative thinking. This is the mission that Terry, Paul and I share–one that drives us forward every day.

DM: And your mission is succeeding — growing exponentially! I know I thrill when spreading the word to those who weren’t aware of it yet, and I can tell you that every tome I do, there’s instant excitement over it. My daughter-in-law is an elementary school teacher and now celebrates International Dot Day every year 😀 ❤


Wow. Is it any wonder why Peter has become one of the most celebrated children’s book authors and illustrators in the world? Everything that drives him — through his giant heart and generous spirit — shines throughout his work. He and his brother, Paul, were destined to be powerful forces. Not just by imparting their thoughts and feelings in this and Paul’s Q&A here on my blogs and elsewhere, but through their many efforts driven by their shared passion they have made an indelible “mark” in a world hungry for all they offer. Who better to serve as examples to young and old alike how we can all “make our marks.”


I am SO grateful the Peter and his brother, Paul accepted my invitation to be guests in my humble, online “home” for this year’s #DotDay “party.” I hope all of you join in, whether as individuals or groups, because CREATIVITY is certainly worth celebrating 😀 💛🧡❤


Here’s even more to celebrate and enjoy…





  • INTERVIEW with Peter & Paul at edtech digest
  • Celebrity sightings at Peter & Paul‘s bookstore, The Blue Bunny
  • Interview with Peter on Words on a Limb blog
  • Interview with Peter at Candlewick.com
  • Interview with Peter at Fablevision Learning
  • Various interviews with Peter at TeachingBooks.net
  • Video of Peter doing an author’s visit
  • Interview with Peter on Mr. Schu’s blog Watch.Connect.Read.
  • Interview with Peter at TeacherVision.com
  • Interview with Peter at NicoleWalters.com
  • Jim Morrison interviews with Peter, 2009:


  • DEN Dot Day 2012 – Peter & Paul celebrate Dot Day – video (36 min.):


MISC. CREATIONS (Companies, videos, books, products, etc.):

  • Going Places Book Trailer:


THANK YOU FOR VISITING, Happy Readers 🙂 Please share in celebration of Dot Day and I hope you have some comments for PETER!…

Express yourself :)

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s