Moomins!

To all of you who are acquainted with some of the world’s most delightful creatures, the Moomins, I ask that you bear with me as I gush about them. I just discovered the Mooomins by accident a couple of months ago and Comet In Moominland arrived at my house yesterday, so in keeping with my blog’s initial theme of writing about quirky, slightly unusual books, I had to do a post on the Moomins. Not that Moomin books don’t abound or already have a huge following, which they do, but they aren’t quite run-of-the-mill in North America. Yet.

I’m one of those people who reads series in the order the books were published, if it’s at all possible. So naturally, I began with the completely adorable first installment, The Moomins and the Great Flood.
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Illustrated in just pen and ink, these little creatures who don’t like the cold and traditionally live behind stoves (not happy when central air started becoming more and more common) are so endearing I couldn’t put the book down. The books are written and illustrated by Tove Jansson, and the stories were published between 1945 and 1970. There are also comics and picture books, as well as all kinds of fun paraphernalia including calendars, mugs, sweatshirts, a theme park and more!

Moomins are technically children’s books, but Comet in Moominland is over 150 pages (I’m assuming the other books are equally long), so really they are more like Pixar movies. That is, they are officially billed as children’s entertainment, but people of all ages enjoy them. And it’s the same with the Moomin books.
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I mean.. those tails! How adorable are these little guys?!

While so far these are the only two Moomin installments in my collection, I look forward to getting acquainted with the rest of the books and characters. And if you haven’t yet made a trip to Moomin Valley, I hope you do! It will bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.

Books for Babies

Hi everyone! Is there anyone else out there who can’t believe we are well into September? The summer flew by faster than ever this year.

The other day I received an invitation to a baby shower, and in the invitation was card that asked the guests to bring a book instead of a traditional baby shower gift. I had seen a post on Twitter a week or two before I got the invitation, showing a baby shower invitation with the same request, so I guess this has become a thing. And I am not complaining! On the contrary, there are few things in life that I enjoy more than choosing books for others, especially children’s books. Here are some books I pooled for my options, even though I knew I would have to narrow it down:

Beatrix Potter stories
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The Berenstain Bears
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Curious George
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Goodnight Moon
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Paddington Bear
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Corduroy
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There are many, many other options, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, The Snowy Day, and of course, Dr Seuss. Also, a lot of these books are not only available in paperback, but also in hard cover for a more formal gift, or as board books, more appropriate for babies.

In the end, my husband chose Curious George, as they  were favorites from his childhood, and my selection was Goodnight Moon, because those bright colors will catch the eye of a little one, and every new parent needs a helping hand when getting their baby to sleep!

If you want to give books for a special occasion (or even for no reason at all), and are in need of suggestions, I’d love to help you out! Just reply to this post and I’ll do my best to provide some appropriate titles.

Girl Power!

Lately there have been some very exciting news articles about young girls effecting positive change in the lives of their communities, and abroad.

#1000blackgirlbooks reached international news with the inspiring story of a young girl from New Jersey who started a movement to gather books that weren’t just about ‘white boys and their dogs.’ She wanted to collect 1,000 books and surpassed her goal with the help of many generous donors:
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*image retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/09/marley-dias-1000-black-girl-books-hits-target-with-outpouring-of-donations

Also in February, we learned of two teens in India who saved their district library from decay. They formed a girl-power coalition, and approached the district’s administration about not only saving it, but giving it a facelift. Read more about it from the Times of India’s article, “Girl power puts district library in revamp mode.”

Recently, more good news from India reached us about a girl who sets up a small library at her home every day after school so the children nearby can access books they would not otherwise have access to. Read more on this amazing story here.
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*image retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/andreborges/a-9-year-old-girl-is-running-a-library-for-underprivileged-c#.djvQNkz3w

What amazing, fearless, inspirational stories!

Which Book Memories Do You Treasure?

For readers of this post who have children and are looking for something to read with them, here are some of my favorite books from my childhood. It has been decades since I’ve read them, but they will stay in my heart forever. I wonder, what makes some books leave such deep impressions on us, while others don’t? I’m sure the illustrations have something to do with it, but there’s more, too. I can’t put a finger on it, though.

Here are three books that come to mind that I read at a very early age, and that I still love to look at whenever I visit my old room in my parents’ house:

1. What’s the Matter With Carruthers? written and illustrated by James Marshall (1972)
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The copy I had as a child has a certain, unmistakable smell, which takes me back as soon as I open the book. The adorable, quirky story is about Emily (a pig) and Eugene (a turtle) as they try to figure out why their friend Carruthers (a bear) is so very grumpy. Even their tuba and tambourine serenade doesn’t do the trick! At the end they find out why.

2. The Visit written by Joan Esley, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin (1980)
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Eva, at The Sycamore Street Press, did a post about this book, and includes pictures of some of the pages. Please check it out!

3. Noddy by Enid Blyton (1949-1963)
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My father started reading Noddy books to me when I was about 5, and I still have the collection. These books have adorable illustrations and stories that show positive problem-solving and conflict resolution.

And so I ask you, dear readers, are there some books from your childhood that will always be in your heart? And, are you familiar with any of the books in this post?