This is a picture of the first school presentation back in 1993 at the Moorey School in Lowell Massachusetts. A lot of these students now have families and children of their own. What an awesome feeling it is to discover that these new children are being read to with the same Billy Bee books thier mother and fathers were given at their age! We have picked out a few testimonials collected over these past few decades so that you can read about this response first hand and get an idea how all this happened :)
I wish to thank you for sharing your very interesting, artistic, and poetic masterpieces of children's literature about "Billy Bee" with the students of the Paul Revere School. Every story about Billy gives children a positive self image as they look to him for inspiration in handling various circumstances in life that they can encounter. I believe the children can identify with all the characters in your stories. The characters speak to them about "confidence" they can have in themselves as well as friendship and building the confidence of others.
Joseph A. Belmonte - Paul Revere School - Revere, MA
As a teacher and a first-time mom- to- be, it is important for me to select literature, which will teach my students to be better people. I look for books with positive healthy messages, which will build them up and guide them in a positive direction. The public would benefit from reading Billy Bee’s adventures! The children really enjoyed listening to his journey.
Kim Stevens - 5th Grade Teacher - Revere, Massachusetts
Dear Mr. Thomas,
Before I thank you immensely for visiting our school last Wednesday, I have a confession to make. I walked into your presentation last week with a stack of papers under my arm! Yes, I fully intended to be able to Multi-task as usual and listen and correct at the same time. What I found happening was that after about five minutes I put my papers on the floor and sat captivated and fully entertained. I was captivated by your storytelling, by your sharing of life experiences and by the look on my students faces as they watched you bring the art of writing to life! You are truly a highly motivating and highly inspirational speaker. Thank you for pulling me in and planting that seed of inspiration inside of me, for me to share.
After your presentation and feeling that inspiration, I took my class back to the classroom. I canned the math lesson I had planned to teach, and I said, “lets write.” I had planned a writing lesson for Thanksgiving, so we went with that. The students had to write a story taking the turkey’s point of view as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. After a few writing sessions the essays were complete. As I read them, I found a pattern happening. A few turkeys were ending up as part of the Thanksgiving Feast but most of the turkeys were escaping. They broke free from the farms; they outran the hunters – it was like they became turkey superheroes! Then I saw the pattern of the “Billy Bee” motto – “I can do anything, I know I can” and I realized they had used that inspiration and transferred it to the turkey in their stories. What power you have to touch the lives of so many!
In ending this letter, I would just like to say that I hope you continue this incredible gift that you have. Our children need people like you in today’s very difficult and challenging world to inspire and encourage them. Your story Colors of Love touched my heart and I think everyone in the world should read that story! It’s incredible! I feel very lucky that my class was able to be a part of your presentation. Thank You, Thank You!
Lisa Steere - 5th grade teacher - Riddle Brook School - Bedford, NH
P.S. Yesterday, the day after your visit, I was bringing my kids to lunch. A few kids started saying the “Billy Bee” motto. Soon my whole class was walking through the hall chanting “I can do anything, I know I can….” I wish you had been there!
Thank you for your outstanding presentation. The children enjoyed you and all your wonderful stories. The Billy Bee series focuses on self-esteem which is so very important when we speak about children. Your illustrations are bold and bright, capturing the imagination of every child. The rhyming of the words is so comforting and pleasurable, making listening easy. I hope we will enjoy another visit with you in the future. Thank you for sharing Billy Bee with us.
Mrs. O'Connor - Abraham Lincoln School - Revere, MA
My children have been reciting over and over the words 'A BIZZ, A BUZZ, A BEEZ, A BAMM - I'M BILLY BEE, I AM, I AM! I CAN DO ANYTHING - I KNOW I CAN CAUSE I'M BILLY BEE, I AM, I AM!" The repetition of these words throughout the story adds to the memorization of the children and at the kindergarten level this is very important. It helps them learn in a simple way, a way that they will remember.
Kimberly Havens - Teacher - Revere, MA
Peter Thomas has developed a message that all children need to hear and internalize. If you believe in yourself, even if you make a mistake, hard work and effort will bring about a positive result. Peter's message flies home on the wings of Billy Bee. Peter's belief in his message coupled with a genuine desire to make a difference in children's lives is easily visible in his presentation. The children were captivated by his energy and enthusiasm.
As administrators of primary aged public school chidren, we are careful about who interacts with our children because of the extreme trust they have in adults and how easily they can be influenced. Peter Thomas is a superb model for the children. In a short period of time Peter has made us a believer in him. He is a good person who carries a strong and important message to the children.
William H. Estey - Principal - Fred C. Underhill School - Hooksett, NH
What a performance! To stand back and observe 125 students and 10 or more adults become enraptured by your Billy Bee stories and what you have to say has inspired me to dream dreams. Forty-seven of those students are with me every day and we have a joyous group who has fallen in love with Billy Bee, his author and his illustrator. I have students drawing pictures of Billy Bee on their papers – even on Math papers!
For someone to motivate and inspire children like this is a wonder to watch. There were times during your presentation when tears were in my eyes while I watched you connect in a very personal way to each and every child. It is a gift… a gift that you are sharing and if I have anything to do with it, will continue to share with more and more children and more and more adults. The children love your stories. They come to my classroom and ask to borrow your books. They ALL want to be Writers and Illustrators. You have captured their enthusiasm, their joy, their spirit. Just like Billy Bee, they “believe” they can do anything.
Thank you for this, most amazing, journey.
Alice N. Jette - 5th grade teacher - Riddle Brook School Bedford, NH
Peter Thomas engages children with a "down-to-earth" approach, his message to children echoes that of his books-they can be and do anything as long as they believe in themselves. With the assistance of his illustrator, they bring the creation of his Billy Bee series to life. Our 340 students in kindergarten through grade five enjoyed listening, seeing the books and asking very real questions--all of which were answered with good humor and candor.
Dr. Joyce Radiches - Principal - Liberty School - Braintree, MA
I truly enjoyed your presentation of your Billy Bee books. My students found the stories to be very exciting and the children were very involved. My students are bilingual and I was amazed to see how much they knew from your stories. The illustrations and short explanations say it all.
Jeannie La Rosa - Revere School
"I have been teaching in Malden for 28 years. This was one of the top five assemblies I have witnessed. He was entertaining as well as informative."
Steve Rubin - eighth grademath teacher - Beebe School - Malden, Ma
On behalf of our school community, I would like to thank you for your recent visit to our school. All of our children, Kindergarten through fifth grade and their parents, were enthralled with your reading of Billy Bee's Adventures. Your down to earth manner makes Billy Bee come alive for the youngsters. Your stories are positive and appropriate for all ages. Thank you for giving us a part of your life and we look forward to seeing you again. We are true Beeeeelievers!
George Paul - Principal - Louise Davy Trahan - Billerica, MA
Author, Peter Thomas along with illustrator John Mahomet of the Billy Bee series challenged us to focus on our ideas and strive to achieve our goals. His emphasis on the writing process reinforced our curriculum. Peter's style and presentation captivated the students and held their attention. For days following our presentation, everyone was "buzzing" about Billy Bee. Prior to Peter's visit, I had the opportunity to speak with him about the topics that he would be covering. His well organized approach and age appropriate topics put me at ease. True to his word, the presentation was exactly as I anticipated. Highly Recommended
Peter Bonaccorsi - Principal - Milford Elementary School - Milford, NH
Peter's charismatic personality grabbed the attention of our youngsters and teachers. In forty-five minutes he made us believe we had important ideas to share with others. He inspired us to write and see where it takes us. Students in all grade levels were eager to write when they got back to their classrooms. Amen!!!
Susan DuBois - Principal - Nabnasset School - Westford, MA
It was such a pleasure to observe our students listen to your poetic language and rhythmical tone as you shared your story line from "The Adventures of Billy Bee" from memory. Your words relative to your beginnings and your creative pursuits after much personal growth, left your audience even more enamored with your stories. Your work still resounds in the classrooms of North East High School, as you have been an inspiration to many.
Gloria Mezikofsky - Chair Person - Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School District.
I was in the library with my class of eighth graders and three classes of sixth graders and I can tell you that although I love these kids and have chosen to spend my career with them (24 years so far) they can be an unruly lot- especially our present eighth graders! But Peter Thomas was such an engaging speaker he held those students enthralled for an hour while he talked about his books and his personal stories. It was a real Horatio Alger sort of story and our students seemed to transfer it to possibilities for themselves.
Harmony Anderson - 8th Grade Teacher - Epsom Central School - Epsom, NH
The Peter Thomas assembly with illustrator, John Mahomet, was exceptionally motivational for students as well as staff. I highly recommend it for K-8. If you are in an upper elementary or middle school and can have only one assembly this year, this is the one.
Claire Pagnotta - ninth year - K-8 library media specialist - Beebe School Malden, MA
Dear Peter, thank you for making Catholic school week so special for the children. Billy Bee reflects the goodness and generosity of its creator and author. You and your stories are a wonderful role model of the values that we try to teach our children. Our world is indeed a better place because of people like you.
Sister Rita St.Onge - Principal - Assumption School - Woocester, MA
Billy Bee's illustrations are imaginative. Beautifully composed and full of personality. The rhymes are peppered with fun new words for children's vocabularies and mind play.
Robin Rome - Bilingual Spanish
Peter Thomas visited with all grade levels of the Epsom Central, which includes grades k-8. Everyone who came out of his presentation thought he was awesome! Most of the time junior high grade levels think our guest speakers are very boring and have no bearing on this age level. Not so with Peter Thomas! I had three eight grade students volunteer to my room after the presentation with Peter. They wanted to know if my class was visiting next with the author because they wanted to go back in! You know when you hear this from an older student that the presenter is really good. My first grade students loved him just as much.
Lynne M. Lesical - 1st grade teacher - Epsom Central School - Epsom, NH
Dear Mr. Thomas my students were as charmed as I was by your stories. You demonstrated that dreams can and do come true, if you believe!!!!! What a powerful (and sorely needed) message! It was refreshing to hear/see you present your books. I loved your "straight-from-the-heart," beautifully simple (though powerful) messages. I think it's great when kids of all ages (and I do mean all ages) can walk away feeling that their very own possibilities are endless! My very favorite part of your presentation was when you talked about how we all should use each and every day as an opportunity to find our own personal treasure! Thank you, again. Your works are a wonderful blend of talent, goodness and optimism! Sincerely:
Donna Amato - 3rd grade teacher - Fred C. Underhill School - Hooksett, NH
I am a teacher at the Reed Academy, which has been developed for special needs children. Most come from broken homes and have very low self-esteem. The majority of students here have attention deficit disorder and behavior problems. In short, the boys are in desperate need of a male who can be a positive role model that they can relate to in their current situation. Such a person is Peter Thomas. As he spoke to them about his books and his own life, I watched their faces light up. They seemed to feel there was hope for them to achieve some success also if they find and use their gifts as he did. If there were more people like Peter Thomas, the number of young people ruining their lives would diminish. He needs to tell his story, which resembles a "Good Will Hunting" scenario (Peter comes from Boston also).
Ursula Lyons - Teacher - Counselor - Reed Academy
As a teacher, I found your books to be very well rounded and educational. The lessons taught in these books can be used with any age and are everyday lessons. Thank you for writing such powerful stories with great lessons and illustrations. We can't wait to read about Billy Bee's next adventure.
Mrs. Christine Nagle - St. Michael School - North Andover, MA
I have eighteen students, all of whom are targeted as students with learning difficulties. I read your book "Billy and His Friends" to my students, and I wanted you to know how much they enjoyed it. They loved the story and also the wonderful illustrations. I liked the fact that the story taught an important lesson for all children.
Nancy L. Snyder - Spring Hill Elementary
I want to thank you for your visit to Vernon Hill recently. My kindergarten students are truly BEElievers! They have been chanting "I can do anything, I know I can" all week, and that is music to my ears! You have a gift for capturing our attention and I look forward to future books / materials from your creative mind!
Debbie Vuona - Vernon Hill Elementary
I want to thank you for coming to our school. It means so much for the children to meet an author. Most of all, thank you for inspiring the children. After reading your books, I have taught my children many valuable lessons through Billy Bee, especially through, "Winning." The children are absolutely hooked on Billy Bee and all of his friends. Continue to enforce a positive message to the children because they love it.
Melissa DeSimone - Venerini Academy
Peter's down-to-earth, sincere, ON TOP OF THE WORLD personality drew the children into every word he said. He is an average guy who anyone can relate to. He took an enormous risk, followed his dream, and made his dream come true. One of my children said, "If he can do it, I can do it too!'' Which was music to my ears. I'm always telling my students, if you can imagine it, if you can dream it, you can become it! You can say it to the children until you're blue, but children and adults too often have to see, to believe. Peter Thomas gave all of us something to see and we BEELIEVED! He is truly inspiring!
Maura Walsh McPhee - 7th Grade - St. Michael School - N-Andover, MA
Billy Bee offers children an enchanting adventure that is destined to capture their imagination and undivided attention. The story line provides a serious theme certain to inspire the young reader. Highly recommended!
Marjory A. Stewart - Executive Vice President - Massachusetts Bay Community College
Peter Thomas speaks through his Billy Bee Adventures' with wisdom and the healing power of Love. He touches the heart in each of us at all ages.
Sonya B. Cutson - Friend & Mentor - Clearwater Florida
Thank you for a most wonderful morning in our classroom. You are a very talented and gifted person. I know you will be a famous author one day. The children truly loved you. They still break out with Billy Bee's chant in the classroom. They definitely liked his message. I wish you the best of luck in your career. You are truly a wonderful person.
Phyllis Gray - 1st grade teacher - Hollis Elementary - Hollis, NH