Friday, November 1, 2013

October Reads

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” --You've Got Mail

All my favorite reads from October were children's picture books, the effect of a project I am working on at, well, work. 

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
I love, love, love this book. If I had unlimited, free trade, wealth I would give this book to every single person living on the planet. It celebrates reading and books and writing and sharing stories. It makes me, unapologically, tear up every time I read it. Within its pages and beautiful illistrautions, we find the sweet story of Mr. Morris Lessmore who loses his personal library in a very Wizard of Oz like storm, but finds great meaning in caring for books in a new library. This story inspired an Academy Award winning animated short film, by the same title, which you can watch here (it's about 15 minutes long). 

Favorite passage: Morris liked to share the books with others. Sometimes it was a favorite that everyone loved, and other times he found a lonely little volume whose tale was seldom told. "Everyone's story matters," said Morris. And all the books agreed.

Gawd, my face is leaking just typing that. 

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
Mr. Tiger lives in world were all the animals wear top hats and uncomfortable shoes and have very proper Victorian era type manners. But Mr. Tiger is bored with all of it, so he decides one day to go a little wild. The moral of this story, told with lovely illustrations that play with pops of color and muted tones, is that we don't have to live life in the extremes. A little bit proper and a little bit wild can lead to a life well lived. 

Favorite passage: He wanted to loosen up. He wanted to have fun. He wanted to be . . .wild.

Oliver by Birgitta Sif
Oliver is another "being different is ok," story. I love the fact that more books about all different kinds of kids are getting more attention, hopefully emphasis in little minds that being different does not equal being bad, or unwanted or that there is something wrong with you. Oliver is a young boy who is happy to play by himself quietly when everyone else is at the party. He has plenty of adventures with his toys and his imagination. But one day, a chance meeting with someone else who is different changes everything. 

Favorite passage: Oliver was a bit different. But it didn't matter. Olivia was a bit different too. 

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
This is not a new book, but it is such a fun book, that I reread it, and push Mo Willems on people, as often as I can. This book, which is the first in the pigeon series, has a super simple premise: DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS. He will be sneaky, and pout, and stomp his little bird feet and do everything he can think of to try to get you to let him drive the bus. Don't fall for it. Mo Willems started his career working on Sesame Street, so he knows how to keep the kids entertained without completely boring the grownups. 

Favorite passage: {from the pigeon} I have dreams, you know!

That Book Woman by Heather Henson, pictures by David Small
This book is a tribute to the Pack Horse Librarians who in the 1930s would bring books to remote regions, mainly in the Appalachian mountains in Kentucky, where there were few schools and no libraries.  Being paid very little, these librarians, mostly women, would travel the rough trails up and down the mountains either on foot or by pack mules every couple weeks, no matter the weather to bring books and reading to those seemingly forgotten by the outside world. The narrator of this picture book is Cal, a boy who never really saw the need to read, but curiosity about the Book Woman and the books she brings to his sister finally gets the best of him, and he learns, not only to read, but also of hope of a wider world.

Favorite passage:  I pick a book with words and pictures, too, and hold it out. "Teach me what it says." And Lark, she does not laugh or even tease, but makes a place, and quiet-like, we start to read."


  1. We LOVE Mo Willems at our house. I think we have 7 of the Piggie & Gerald books. We will have to look at the others you have on here.

  2. Excellent choices, all! And one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies to top it all off. Thanks! (here's where I confess I teared up just a tiny bit reading this and missing having access to so many books, I always guessed I was obsessed/addicted but now I know!)