Oh, books. I love you, I love reading you, but I haven’t been writing about you for almost a year (except occasionally over at GeekMom). I still keep track of what we’re reading…for the most part. The list can be a little patchy, but it’s there. So I’ve decided it’s time to jump back into some book talking here in this space, and I figured I’d start with some of the things Hannah and I are reading together.
Mo Willems Season doesn’t fall on the calendar at the same time every year, but every Mo Willems Season is like Second Christmas to me. Everyone seems a little nicer during Mo Willems Season; a little wittier, a little more delightfully absurd. There’s an extra spring in my step the week I teach the kids how to draw The Pigeon. I am almost deliriously cheerful the week a new crop of kindergartners is introduced to Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie. And I always need to take a moment to collect myself during Knuffle Bunny Week, when Knuffle is passed on to the next generation. Elephant and Piggie, Cat the Cat, Leonardo, Amanda, Goldilocks. This year I have decided to extend the festivities into June.
What makes this year’s Mo Willems Season even more awesome is the fact that April is the 10th anniversary of the publication of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Mr. Willems’ first book. I know I’m down to the wire here with one day of April left, but I am still celebrating the start of the festive season during anniversary month. And there are some pretty great ways for anyone to be celebrating the big anniversary.
Like this new anniversary set, with smaller editions of 3 Pigeon books in their own bus box:
I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since I’ve posted. I’m not even sure why, this week just went really quickly. Last weekend was full of awesome birthday celebrations, which I will post more about in the next few days. And it’s just been quick and a little exhausting. We’re trying to work out a new morning and evening routine here, so we’ve been kind of hyper-focused on that. But the end result is that I have a pile of stuff to post about now, including the fact that Hannah turned 11 months old yesterday!
I took a ton of photos of her last night, but she was a little overtired and I wasn’t happy with them. We had an awful morning today trying to get blood drawn for some routine baby stuff, and that required a great deal of snuggle naps and smiling faces to bring everyone back to a happy place. Hannah’s now asleep, but Adam and I are still not recovered. It was traumatizing, and we have to go back because it couldn’t be done properly. It’s been a funny weekend so far. But, I can get that out of my mind with these photos I took while we played in Hannah’s room before dinner tonight. She is very much enjoying the 2013 Caldecott books.
My in-laws used to get nervous that they gave me too many books as gifts, that I’d get tired of them. They have learned by now that nothing makes me happier, and they’ve joined my own family in helping me build my library every year. And this year, the selection of books I was given was pretty astoundingly good. Some of these were on my own wishlist, some of them were given with great thought and care, and one of them was a gift to myself.
Quilting Modern:Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts was on my wishlist that I was really excited for, andInstinctive Quilt Art: Fusing Techniques and Design (right) was from my in-laws. And it has the most amazing, vivid art quilts in it. Both books really focus on free form, go-with-what-you-feel quilting, so maybe this is the universe telling me to just start cutting and sewing this year.
Felt Mistress: Creature Couture is an insanely strange and sublimely cool find from my brother-in-law Thomas. The Felt Mistress is heretofore unfamiliar to me, but apparently she is a force in British fashion, toy design, puppetry, and window displays. This giant art book details piles of her original stuff and her work with Jonathan Edwards creating some of the most awesome felt creatures I’ve ever seen. This is one of those fabulous, only-available-in-Britain treasures that I could spend hours upon hours poring over.
And to add to my ever-growing arsenal of food tomes are The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, this great resource that explains how to make everything from pop tarts to ketchup at home in your own kitchen. The feeling is more retro Home Ec than depressing preservative-free food Nazi, and that is infinitely cooler and more accessible.
I also got On a Stick to add to my party food collection and Jam On: The Craft of Canning Fruit. This one was actually written by a girl who was in the graduate Library and Information Science program with me at Pratt. We didn’t know each other, but Laena McCarthy is one of those faces you remember from the halls and somehow end up Facebook friends with. So I knew she’d become kind of this legendary artisanal jam maker in Brooklyn, which is very cool in and of itself. But when I found out she was publishing a book about jam at the end of the summer when I discovered this art form I got REALLY excited. All of the food books were on my wishlist.
My Ideal Bookshelf is also one from my wishlist. Again, I’m a little obsessed and plan on spending hours poring over this one. The title is pretty self-explanatory, but any book that includes the favorite books of James Franco AND Nancy Pearl Librarian Extraordinaire in the same book is perfection. Plus, the bookshelves are illustrated. Very cool.
And then finally, Dancers Among Us. This was my present to myself, and I am so smitten with this book. And don’t you dare judge me for reading about it in O magazine’s December issue. Look at the cover, how could you not be in love with this? And look at this photo:
This is the ultimate, cure-a-bad-day book of photos. Pure joy, and I love every page. We have 3 students from my school all battling relapsed leukemia, and the one I’ve taught the most (her mom is a teacher in the building) just went back into the hospital in December. She’s in 3rd grade, so I sent her a copy of Hugo Cabret, the next 2 books in the Bone series after the last one she checked out of the library, and this book for her whole family. I may send this book to everyone I know from here on out that could use a smile.
So, all in all I’d say this was one of my best hauls of books ever. I’m kind of over the moon.