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7 (More) Children's Books by Famous "Adult" Literature Authors

7 (More) Children's Books by Famous "Adult" Literature Authors
by Maria Popova What a magical car engine has to do with social justice, a parrot named Arturo and the history of jazz. A week ago, we featured 7 little-known children’s books by famous authors of “grown-up” literature, on the trails of some favorite children’s books with timeless philosophy for grown-ups. The response has been so fantastic that, today, we’re back with seven more, based on reader suggestions and belated findings from the rabbit hole of research surrounding the first installment. Aldous Huxley may be best known for his iconic 1932 novel Brave New World, one of the most important meditations on futurism and how technology is changing society ever published, but he was also deeply fascinated by children’s fiction. In 1967, three years after Huxley’s death, Random House released a posthumous volume of the only children’s book he ever wrote, some 23 years earlier. The wonderful We Too Were Children has the backstory. Thanks, stormagnet Thanks, Rachel Thanks, SaVen Share on Tumblr

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The Gashlycrumb Tinies: A Very Gorey Alphabet Book by Maria Popova It’s no secret I have a massive soft spot for alphabet books. In 1963, prolific mid-century illustrator and author Edward Gorey published an alphabet book so grimly antithetical to the very premise of the genre — making children feel comfortable and inspiring them to learn — that it took the macabre humor genre to a new level. “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs,” The Gashlycrumb Tinies begins. “B is for Basil assaulted by bears.

7 Obscure Children's Books by Authors of Adult Literature by Maria Popova What a moral cat has to do with a lost boy, a happy prince and the rules for little girls. We’ve previously explored some beloved children’s classics with timeless philosophy for grown-ups, plus some quirky coloring books for the eternal kid, and today’s we’re looking at the flipside — little-known children’s books by beloved authors of literature for grown-ups. New Year's Resolution Reading List: 9 Essential Books on Reading and Writing by Maria Popova Dancing with the absurdity of life, or what symbolism has to do with the osmosis of trash and treasure. Hardly anything does one’s mental, spiritual, and creative health more good than resolving to read more and write better. Today’s reading list addresses these parallel aspirations.

You Are Stardust: Teaching kids about the whimsy of the universe in stunning illustrated dioramas by Maria Popova “Every tiny atom in your body came from a star that exploded long before you were born.” “Everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was … lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” Carl Sagan famously marveled in his poetic Pale Blue Dot monologue, titled after the iconic 1990 photograph of Earth. The stardust metaphor for our interconnection with the cosmos soon permeated popular culture and became a vehicle for the allure of space exploration. People: A Meditation on Human Duality by French Illustrator Blexbolex by Maria Popova The difference between a dictator and a conductor, or why a biologist is the opposite of an astronomer. From French illustrator Blexbolex — whose poetic meditation on time, impermanence and the seasons you might recall from earlier this month — comes People, a continued exploration of the world building on Seasons. Each charmingly matte and papery double-page spread features a full-bleed illustrated vignette that captures the human condition in its diversity, richness and paradoxes. From mothers and fathers to dancers and warriors to hypnotists and genies, Blexbolex’s signature softly textured, pastel-colored, minimalist illustrations are paired in a way that gives you pause and, over the course of the book, reveals his subtle yet thought-provoking visual moral commentary on the relationships between the characters depicted in each pairing.

How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love “Find something more important than you are,” philosopher Dan Dennett once said in discussing the secret of happiness, “and dedicate your life to it.” But how, exactly, do we find that? Surely, it isn’t by luck. I myself am a firm believer in the power of curiosity and choice as the engine of fulfillment, but precisely how you arrive at your true calling is an intricate and highly individual dance of discovery. Still, there are certain factors — certain choices — that make it easier. A Picture-Book Like No Other by Maria Popova The gloriously illustrated story of an errand turned adventure turned existential parable. The Moomin series by Swedish-Finn artist, writer, comic strip creator, and children’s book author Tove Jansson (1914–2001), recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Medal, is among the most imaginative storytelling of the past century. Partway between children’s books and comics, her lovable family of roundish white hippopotamus-like creatures have captivated generations since their birth in 1945.

The Little Red Hen: Andy Warhol's Pre-Pop 1958 Children's Illustration by Maria Popova How to own “a Warhol” for under $5, part deux. Several weeks ago, we uncovered some little-known children’s illustration by Andy Warhol from the 1959 anthology Best of Children’s Books #27. (A discovery made in the research process of this series on obscure children’s books by famous authors.) But it turns out the gig wasn’t a one-off for Warhol, who in the 1950s was making a living as part of Doubleday’s stable of freelance artists. The previous year, he also illustrated a story titled “The Little Red Hen” for Best of Children’s Books #15, which you can snag as a used copy with some rummaging through Amazon.

Visionary Vintage Children’s Book Celebrates Gender Equality, Ethnic Diversity, and Space Exploration by Maria Popova “The blackness of space was dotted with stars.” For all their immeasurable delight, children’s books also have a serious cultural responsibility — they capture young minds and plant in them the seeds that blossom into beliefs about what is socially acceptable, what is right and wrong, and what is possible. This weight of possibility is both a blessing and a burden, given the terrible track record children’s books have of celebrating diversity — both ethnically and in terms of gender norms. Only 31 percent of children’s books feature female heroines, and even those consistently purvey limiting gender expectations; of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, a mere 93 were about black people.

New McSweeney's Children's Book Uses Thermal Ink for Secret Images by Maria Popova Old-school storytelling gets new-school tools, or how heat-sensitive ink is giving the iPad a run for its money. UPDATE 01/13/12: The book is now out and available to order. It’s no secret I have a soft spot for children’s books, especially the timeless classics. But I’m also keenly fascinated by the evolution of publishing and innovation in books. What If We Admitted to Children That Sex Is About Pleasure? A couple of months ago, the sex education notice came home in my nine-year-old son’s backpack. I didn’t realize that, in our district, sex ed starts in the fourth grade. Another sign of the state having more access to my baby than I sometimes wish. When I handed the note to my mate at the dinner table, our son said with something of a proud smile, “I told Mrs.

Life of Pi: Croatian Illustrator Takes on a Modern Classic by Maria Popova What perseverance in the face of rejection has to do with tigers and the quest for belonging. It’s a familiar story — author faces series of rejection letters but perseveres to eventually reach wide critical acclaim. That’s exactly what happened to Yann Martel, whose fantasy adventure novel Life of Pi was rejected by at least five UK publishers before being published by a Canadian one in 2001 and awarded the Man Booker Prize for Fiction the following year for its UK edition. It tells the story of an Indian boy, Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, stranded for 227 days after a shipwreck on a boat he shares with a Bengali tiger named Pi.

Love Is Forever: A Children’s Book That Helps Kids Deal with Losing a Loved One by Maria Popova A tender lesson in living with loss from Little Owl. If grief is so gargantuan a struggle even for grownups, how are tiny humans to handle a weight so monumental once it presses down? That’s precisely what writer Casey Rislov, who holds a master’s degree in elementary education and has an intense interest in special needs, and Minneapolis-based children’s book illustrator Rachel Balsaits explore in Love is Forever (public library) — the story of Little Owl, who loves her Grandfather Owl very much, and how she, with the help of her parents and baby brother, deals with the sadness of her grandfather’s death by learning to keep his love alive forever.