Meet Linda Ragsdale, President of The Peace Dragon
Linda Ragsdale Biography
Award winning Author, illustrator and international speaker/teacher Linda Ragsdale shares how the powerful skills of View, Voice and Choice can lead people through the more challenging parts of their lives with a peaceful and productive outcome. As a survivor of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, her physically devastating wound validates her message of empathy and compassion over retaliation or resentment. Her work in peace education has led her around the world, empowering over 37,000 students to see and speak with a new voice, and an expanded capability of choice. These same tenets of peace offered her a safe journey through breast cancer, finding treasures within the moments of darkness. Whether the terrorist comes from outside or within, Ragsdale believes peace offers a balanced journey through every challenging event. She was recently honored with the a 2017 nomination for the Peace Educator award from the El-Hibri Foundation.
Currently, The Peace Dragon is her vehicle to bring peace to the world, though it isn’t her first entrepreneurial adventure. As a designer, her first design company won her three awards for her novelty in design and manufacturing from the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute. With a kick of her foot, Ragsdale turned a moment of anger into a patented pop-up display design. Expanding her view from design and production, her second venture, a marketing and manufacturing firm, created the first video retail sweepstakes kits with scratch and win cards and awardable prizes. Her third company took triple-layer cardboard out of the food industry and into home décor products. Her fun and funky designs caught the eye of publishers, giving her vision a voice.
She penned how-to articles in a variety of craft and home décor magazines and her first book, Creative Cardboard: Making Fabulous Furniture, Amazing Accessories and Other Spectacular Stuff (Lark Books, 2002). This led to demonstrating art techniques on cable craft television shows. Her decorating techniques challenge people to look beyond standards to break the barriers of thought and design to create. Ragsdale proves office supplies; kitchen utensils and toys are viable options as brushes and tools. She encourages people of all ages to own the artistry of their lives, redefining mistakes as explorations of the path to learning. In her five book drawing series, The Amazing Step-by-Step Art Card Studio (Lark Books, 2007-8) she uses the familiar strokes of letters, punctuation and numbers allowing everyone to feel the power of their art and creation through their own signature style.
Every path of her career supports her current work, which has bloomed in her first picture books, WORDS and NOT OPPOSITES (Both Flowerpot Press, 2016) for her Peace Dragon Tale Collection. The books present the first two powers of teaching peace, View and Voice. WORDS (Winner of 2017 Living Now Gold Award for Picture Book) expands the idea of teaching basic words to include understanding the power of their intention, and their ability to encourage, inspire and comfort not only the people around them, but themselves. NOT OPPOSITES breaks the polar mindset of teaching opposites by presenting a view and understanding that supports and promotes diversity, allowing a child to find their place and accept others.
In the newest books, Linda keeps the power of words in the forefront of peace teaching with ALPHABETTER. A colorful group of characters bring to life a playful mix of rematched words in a lively set of portmanteaus designed to bring out the giggles and encouraging vocabulary and syllabic play, all with the intent of positively empowering language. HOW I DID IT (2017 Gold winner picture book for Imagination from the Moonbeam Spirit Awards) explores the ideas of trying, succeeding, and support through a rollicking tale of a character who tries something new and finds a whole new way of seeing themselves.
The Peace Dragon Tale Collection recently won the 2017 Children's Publication Award from the National Association of Multicultural Education. (NAME)
Fall of 2018 will bring two new stories, each attached to both the personal life of Linda, and her Peace mission. The Peace Dragon Tale honors the two friends she lost in the Mumbai attacks, and written during her recovery. It is a powerful tale of community, unity and the myths that need to fall away. Omani the Peace Dragon makes her first appearance. Positively Purple is a tale loosely based on a true story of a Polar bear who turned purple after she received medicine. A message of inclusivity and positivity, Linda hopes this book will open conversations about being a positive patient, and loving friend to a patient. By learning how to bring down the Each story is part of a living curriculum where conflict management skills can be applied whenever an issue arises. Its all about peace between the pages, brought into the world!
Ragsdale can be found speaking in in local and international schools, colleges, rotary clubs, women’s groups, FBI meetings, and online in her TEDx talk, Picturing Peace and clips of her international keynote speeches. She delivers a powerful message with laughs, tears, and the challenge to find and keep personal peace. As a local volunteer, she is on the community boards of NPT and SouthernWord, and organizes community events around the International Day of Peace and social issues. Most recently, Linda was asked to be the first traveling speaker for My 2nd Act, a stage performance of cancer survivor's sharing their stories and how they are thriving after a diagnosis of cancer. Under New Focus Network, Linda wil be hosting A Happy Place and A Happy Place Jr., cohosting a podcast and live show (To be announced in 2018!)
Occasionally, she’s been overheard sharing her peace of mind at coffee shops and drive through windows, hand delivering paper dragons and peace wishes. At other times, you can find her and her husband curled up with their pets at home, or visiting with her three children.
What’s next for Ragsdale? Only time will tell.