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The Well of Being: A Picture Book for Adults

The Well of Being: A Picture Book for Adults

This past Christmas, I gifted Jean-Pierre Weill’s The Well of Being: A Picture Book for Adults (Flatiron Books, 2016) to a number of friends. I stumbled upon it a couple of years ago when I was devouring hundreds of picture books for children as part of my MFA studies. With one or two lines of text per double-page spread, The Well of Being is indeed a picture book. Only rather than filling 32 pages, Weill’s masterpiece tops out at nearly 200. And every page is exquisite.

So I added it to my collection, where it sat untouched for many months. Then in 2020, it found its way back into my hands, filling my artists’ well and reminding me of what I know to be true: “Well-being is generated not from the outside but from the inside.”

As he puzzles and paints his way through an intimate, layered, and often humorous exploration of the nature of being, Weill’s spare, lyrical text and evocative watercolor illustrations provoke, inspire, and delight. Every time I open it, I discover something new on the page – a word, a phrase, a color, a texture – that touches and uplifts me in spite of the chaos and uncertainty.

As 2020 came to a close, I was compelled to put Weill’s magical exploration of being into new hands, and my friends immediately began gifting the book to others. The Well of Being is that kind of book.

“We appreciate the fleeting marginal things scattered everywhere. And when there’s drama about, we remain at home in the world,” Weill tells us.

Yes, we do.

Take that, 2020.

 

Learn more about The Well of Being or order it from our Bookshop HERE.

The Book of Longings is a Masterpiece

The Book of Longings is a Masterpiece

Our Brain Candy Book Club has been reading Sue Monk Kidd’s The Book of Longings: A Novel. And it’s getting rave reviews from the whole group. 

The premise is what if Jesus had a wife? The Book of Longings is written in the first person from the main character Ana’s point of view. And yes, Ana is the wife of Jesus, but she is much more.

Longings is not a religious treatise; rather, it is an emotionally evocative work of fiction that explores the life of a woman, who longs to write, living in an age when very few women were literate and even fewer had the freedom to choose their own path.

As always, Kidd’s writing is fresh, sensual, and lyrical, and her deep historical research is evident. Ana is a beautifully drawn character – in turns willful, rebellious, kind, and passionate. Her voice drew me in from the very first sentence and kept me turning the page. 

In her author’s note, Kidd writes: “The day Ana appeared, I knew one thing about her besides her name. I knew that what she wanted most was a voice. If Jesus actually did have a wife, and history unfolded exactly the way it has, then she would be the most silenced woman in history and the woman most in need of a voice. I’ve tried to give her one.”

Kidd tried and succeeded.

 

Learn more about The Book of Longings or order it from our Bookshop HERE.

Books About Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Children of All Ages (including you!)

Books About Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Children of All Ages (including you!)

* From Baby Feminists by Libby Babbott-Klein and Jessica Walker.*

Looking for a book for introducing a young person to the Notorious RBG? Or maybe even a quick, entertaining read for yourself?  Here are some of my favorites in order by age group. Happy reading!  - Mo

BabyFem1Baby Feminists by Libby Babbott-Klein and Jessica Walker – a lift-the-flap board book for ages 0-3. Lift the flap to discover what femnist icons Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mae Jemison, Frida Kahlo, Barack and Michelle Obama, Gloria Steinem, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Billie Jean King, Yoko Ono, and Malala Yousafzai might have looked like as infants and toddlers. 

 I Look Up To…Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Anna Membrino and Fatti Burke – a board book for ages 2-4. Part of the “I Look Up To..” series that introduces babies, toddlers, and preschoolers to inspiring women.

I Dissent Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley – a picture book for ages 5-9. This was the first picture book about RBG, and it’s my favorite. It introduces children to the power of dissent and speaking up for justice while also showing that you can vehemently disagree with someone and remain friends.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter and Stacy Innerst – a picture book for ages 6-9. "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury: During this trial, you will learn about a little girl who had no clue just how important she would become." Justice Ginsburg’s story is presented in the form of a court case. And it’s a page turner. 

NotorioNotorious RGBus RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Young Readers' Edition by Irin Carmen and Shana Knizhnik ­– a 200-page, full-color edition for ages 8-13. Cheeky, fun, full of pop culture references, photos, and illustrations.  



Becoming RGB

Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy and Whitney Gardner – a graphic novel biography for ages 10 and up. A compelling and empowering, cinematically rendered portrayal of the life of RGB from shy child to Supreme Court legend. If you enjoy graphic novels as much as I do, you’ll love this one.

Dissenter On the Bench

Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life and Work by Victoria Ortiz – a biography with black and white archival photos for ages 13 and up. Each of the ten chapters highlights one court case alongside one aspect of Ginsburg's life, from her childhood to the influence of her faith on her work to her judicial career. Readers also get a better picture of how America's legal system works, and how cases reach the Supreme Court. A 2020 Sydney Taylor Honor Book.

 

Learn more about these book or order them our Bookshop HERE.

 

 

Books for Babies

10LittleFingersPeople are always asking me what books they should gift to the young people in their lives. So I am going to use my book review space to recommend books for children and teens. I will create lists of fiction and nonfiction, spanning a variety of genres and interests, for all ages. 

Let's start with babies. Most of us are aware that reading to newborns is integral to their development, but many of us don't know of a single title published after Good Night Moon. 

What books could you take to a baby shower or suggest a pregnant couple add to their gift registry? 

Here's a list of beautifully written and illustrated read alouds crafted with the kinds of words, rhythms, concepts, and illustrations that delight and engage wee ones.

First, I recommend any and all books written by Mem Fox. She is masterful. My favorites include:

 Other titles, authors, and illustrators I love:

 For more information or to order any of these books, go to our Bookshop HERE.

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