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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002

Hours

TEMPORARILY CLOSED

  • Tuesday- Friday10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

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Picture Books We Love

A Velocity of Readers

The book Velocity of Being stand in the grass with violets and dandelions

When this book, Velocity of Being: Letters to Young Readers edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick (Enchanted Lion, 2018) first came to my attention, I oohed and ahhed at every gorgeous entry! Hi, this is Sara from the Bookshop here to tell you that this book is a feast for the eyes and nutrition for the heart! Each of the 121 letters written by scientists, philosophers, poets and more is paired with a contemporary illustration by one of a host of fabulous artists, most of whom are also picture book illustrators! 
Each double page spread shows a letter on one side and the corresponding illustration on the other. This one shows a letter from astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and an illustration by award-winning artist John Parra.

Open book shows letter to a reader and an illustration of a girl reading on a rug surrounded by book characters

The illustrations are all of children reading, often surrounded with a cast of beloved literary characters. This idea of finding best friends in between the pages of a book feels especially poignant in our current reality, you don’t have to distance yourself from friends who live in your imagination!

illustration of boy in blue sneakers reading book, images of book characters surrounding his head

Interior illustration by Matt Forsythe shows girl reading under tree full of book characters

boy in baseball uniform gives high fives to children book characters

This idea of finding best friends in between the pages of a book feels especially poignant in our current reality, you don’t have to distance yourself from the friends who live in your imagination! 

Each entry is delightful in its own way, some reflective, some silly, but every single one is a gem.

This humorous pairing between actress Felicia Day and illustrator Emily Hughes was a favorite for me as I often talk to my brain as if it were my friend and would love for it to write me a letter in return!

interior illustration of girl with nose in book, pink brain sitting on her head and reading with her

Humorous letter written to a reader from their brain by Felicia Day

And this stunning watercolor of a book hoarding dragon by Charles Vess, paired with a poem by the great Ursula K. Le Guin that details the literary appetites of said dragon, is another example of the fantastic collaborations contained within this beautiful book.

illustration by Charles Vess shows dragon and girl under tree sharing book hoard and pie

 

There are entirely too many quotable lines in this book, but here’s one that sticks out to me, reassuring and plainly stated, “You can depend on books. They will always be there for you. Their patience is infinite and they have been known to save lives.” (Millman, pg. 60) Books are our friends, our teachers and often the most reliable parts of our lives. A book, once read, is a forever companion, and I am glad to have so much pleasant company resting on my bookshelves, always ready to share a cup of tea and a story with me.

illustration of three humans and two cats lounge on a bed napping and reading together

 

 

 

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