Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A BUTTERFLY CIRCUS _ In Memory of Nancy Peréz

[NOTE: This was first written in 2011 after the killing of Osama Bin Laden]

Imagine that you're working in a solid office job but know that you're destined for something else. Nancy Peréz was just such a person, an aspiring writer who worked with my dad for the Port Authority of NY/NJ. She had written a story, "The Butterfly Circus," as a way to help give her shy nephew Kyle the confidence to attend school. Looking to take the book idea to a Publisher, Nancy asked my father if I might be interested in illustrating the story.  My first reaction was that there was A LOT of text for a picture book, but the gem of the story was so sweet. I was working in my own dream job as an animation designer. Long hours and a long commute but it was worth it. And here was this lady taking a shot at her own dream. Working at the old computer in my parents' kitchen, I was only able to illustrate a few sample pages as best I could. She was very nice about it and tried shopping the book around.  That was in 2000.

On September 11th of 2001, Nancy Peréz was one of the many victims of the attack on the World Trade Center. For me, these pages represent the lost potential of each and every one of the lives that were cut short that day. She had a dream and a talent few of her co-workers even knew about. I am honored to have known her and to have shared, even briefly, in her life.

Given the events of the past few days and current debates regarding the validity of releasing an image of death, I would like to share these images with you. In honor of what was lost and what could have been, may we always continue to chase our dreams and share the gifts, talents, and brief time we have been given with one another.


  1. What a lovely moment to have been a part of; what a lovely memory to have shared.

  2. This is beautiful, the book, her idea for it, her dream, your help, and also your thoughtfulness of posting this now. I totally agree - we need more life-affirming images to feed us. Good for you, Michael.

  3. A very nice tribute, Michael. Thank you for sharing a bit of Nancy's life. Her own story is an inspiring showcase for everyone who dreams.

  4. Michael: Thanks so much for keeping Nancy's memory alive. It is appreciated by her family and friends!

    Marie Roman

  5. What a beautiful tribute to my cousin Nancy. Thank you for helping her with this beautiful book. She will always inspire us to live our lives to e fullest. She was special to so many, we will never forget her and always have her in our hearts. Irma meneve

  6. Michael, thank you so much for keeping Nancy's memory alive. The family really appreciates it.

    Her sister, Maritza Conti.........

  7. I'm honored to have been able to work with Nancy and I hope that her talent and memory continue to inspire others.

    Much love,