Rick ChrustowskiGrowing up in Valparaiso, Indiana, our house was the rowdiest one in the whole neighborhood. We have six kids in my family, and I’m number five. Even though we were different ages we still played together, got into fights, and helped each other out of jams. Name any type of kid and we probably had it covered:  cheerleader, jock, computer geek, social butterfly, trombone player in a marching band.  We each had our own area of interest. I emerged as the artist probably because I drew constantly. And I still do!

For me the only thing that came close to my love of art was exploring the outdoors. I wandered far from home, sliding down ravines, swinging from branches, wading into ponds. It was so much fun pretending to be the animals I saw. 

And I still pretend I’m different animals. When I study an animal I want to know how it experiences the world. I want to feel the sun warm my skin like a turtle basking on a log or kick my feet and swim under lily pads like a frog. I crawl through the meadow on my hands and knees like a ladybug. I feel the wind whip my feathers during a thunderstorm like a newly fledged bluebird.

Making books is such a blast!  I hope to keep making them until the day I die. (Hopefully that won’t be for a hundred years!)

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