Who she is: Laurada Byers, founder of The Russell Byers Charter School, named for her Daily News columnist husband, who was murdered in 1999. She’s also a cancer survivor and lives with Parkinson’s disease.
What’s new: She has just published Wild Wisdom: A Warthog’s Tale — illustrated with whimsical images of warthogs — that tells Byers’ story of survival, in five short chapters. Book sales benefit the Byers school.
What surprised her about tragedy: “While looking for peace in dire circumstances, I found purpose.”
Why warthogs? “Have you ever seen a more imperfect creature? That’s life. That’s me. Covered in warts and full of flaws, my path has been anything but pretty.”
How warthog life mimics the human experience: “Every day the warthog encounters the ‘big five’ on the savannas: rhinos, lions, elephants, leopards, and cape buffalo. In our daily lives we struggle with our own ‘big five’ — questions of identity, purpose, relationships, crises, and health. A successful life is a lot like a day on the African plains.”
The takeaway: “Our reactions, not our circumstances, create our story.”
— Ronnie Polaneczky