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A Velocity of Being: Letters to A Young Reader Hardcover – December 14, 2018
A Brain Pickings Best Children's Book of the Year
"An embarrassment of riches." —The New York Times
An expansive collection of love letters to books, libraries, and reading, from a wonderfully eclectic array of thinkers and creators.
In these pages, some of today's most wonderful culture-makers—writers, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and philosophers—reflect on the joys of reading, how books broaden and deepen human experience, and the ways in which the written word has formed their own character. On the page facing each letter, an illustration by a celebrated illustrator or graphic artist presents that artist's visual response. Among the diverse contributions are letters from Jane Goodall, Neil Gaiman, Jerome Bruner, Shonda Rhimes, Ursula K. Le Guin, Yo-Yo Ma, Judy Blume, Lena Dunham, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Jacqueline Woodson, as well as a ninety-eight-year-old Holocaust survivor, a pioneering oceanographer, and Italy's first woman in space. Some of the illustrators, cartoonists, and graphic designers involved are Marianne Dubuc, Sean Qualls, Oliver Jeffers, Maira Kalman, Mo Willems, Isabelle Arsenault, Chris Ware, Liniers, Shaun Tan, Tomi Ungerer, and Art Spiegelman.
This project is woven entirely of goodwill, generosity of spirit, and a shared love of books. Everyone involved has donated their time, and all profits will go to the New York Public Library systems.This stunning 272-page hardcover volume features a lay-flat binding to allow for greater ease of reading.
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From the Publisher
A CBC "Hot Off The Press" Selection of December 2018
Featured in Green Source DFW December 2018 gift guide
"Impelled to defend the dignity and authority of books, and the transformative power of continuing to read them in the digital age, Maria Popova and Claudia Zoe Bedrick spent eight years collecting the words and artwork for A Velocity of Being, a treasury of thoughtful, quirky, heartfelt letters from notable adults to the young reader. ...For adults devoted to raising strong readers amid what Ms. Popova calls the 'fragment fetishism' of the internet—and for book lovers of any age on a Christmas list—A Velocity of Being has arrived not a moment too soon." —Wall Street Journal
"This feast of a book provides ample food for thought, with some dazzling visuals, to boot. But like many feasts, this one goes on at length, with flavors and courses that tend to overlap. Still, the collection will nourish readers of all kinds, deserving a permanent place on our bookshelves." —Joan Silverman, The National Book Reveiw
"This should live on the nightstand, be picked up regularly, and savored. A treasure trove for anyone who loves words and pictures." —Amina Chaudhri, Booklist
“The heft of A Velocity of Being: Letters to a Young Reader makes it feel grand and immense; momentous on its first page turn yet deeply personal. It’s a collection of letters and art for readers young and old from a community of writers, artists and other notable figures who speak about the deep magic of falling headlong into a story, the transformative power of words—stories settling into us, burrowing into our souls, running through our veins and becoming a part of who we are. ... Reading through compelling letter after letter is overwhelming in the best way possible. What are we without words, stories and books?” — Michelle Sterling, Avery and Augustine
About the Author
- Publisher : Enchanted Lion Books; First Edition (December 14, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1592702287
- ISBN-13 : 978-1592702282
- Reading age : 8+ years, from customers
- Grade level : 4 - 6
- Item Weight : 2.85 pounds
- Dimensions : 8.5 x 1.25 x 10.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #75,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2019
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
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*The most enduring relationships are the ones we have with ourselves and God (books deepen our growth in this direction too)--they help us learn what is true for us
*Where the reader and writer meet they create something which has never existed before...also there is a meeting of a tree (from which the paper derived) and human gifts
*You only have one life but reading gives you many, ditto re personality – you get to be inside another heart and mind.
*Experiencing the elegance of language is one of the greatest pleasures of consciousness
*Reading let's you be quiet in a chaotic world and commune with people who happen to be dead now
*Reading takes apart our world and expectations and rearranges them...souls meet and find the way together
*Barriers of personality fall, joys and sorrows accumulate, the individual pours himself into the collectivity and unreservedly experiences whatever is allotted to humanity--an expansion takes place
*Reading is a great extension of time, a way for one person to live a thousand lives in a single life span, to watch the great impersonal universe at work, to watch the great personal psyche spar with it, until the very dizziness of it all becomes a source of compassion for ourselves
This compendium of letters from literary and creative luminaries across the spectrum of arts and science is everything! And it's all that much more divine because these creative geniuises have been hand-picked and curated by the great modern genius, Maria Popova herself.
It's a reaffirmation of why we must read, and why we must write and is the perfect cure for reader's and writer's block alike.
Oh and did I mention how the original artwork that pairs with each letter is beyond perfect and amazing?
This is the perfect gift book for readers of all ages in your life. Don't read another review - just buy the dang thing!
With a few artistic exceptions, each of the 121 letters is opposite a full-page illustration. Short bios of the authors are given below their letters. Short bios of the illustrators are compiled at the end, but each illustrator is identified above the letter. It is a comfortable size to hold while being large enough to do justice to the art.
The letters are good. The reason for the 5 is the visuals. Each right side page is a visual which loosely or closely follows the advice in the letter. Some of them are breathtaking. The artists are so gifted and creative that you could arguably treat this is a picture book with interesting "stories" shared on the left hand side. However you consider it, its' a lovely break to immerse yourself in other's perceptions and ideas on the importance of books. Done in a book that is worth owning and treasuring.
Top reviews from other countries
Some letters I liked came from Jane Goodall, Neil Gaiman, (educational psychologist) Jerome Bruner, Ursula K. Le Guin, Yo-Yo Ma, Judy Blume. I liked most of them, don’t get me wrong, but after a time I wondered about the audience for such a book. Pro-reading types, of course: Librarians, English/language arts teachers, Goodreads readers!! as well as the target audience stated in the title, young readers, but if they already like to read they would mostly rather read a book than talk about why books are so great. And the kids (or adults) who hate reading, well, this book ain’t gonna talk ‘em into it. But many of the statements are lovely, what any of us might have said, though why have a book what we said, we want to know what successful said about how reading help shape them and become world-renowned. It’s a kind of well-written confirmation of most readers’ generally held views, some of them a bit short and obvious.
But this is one gorgeous artifact, a coffee-table book every school and library oughtta have on display. I’ll tell you why I would personally want it, though. Popova also knows thousands of terrific illustrators, and she gets some of the best I know, a one page illustration per letter: Isabelle Arsenault, Chris Ware, Oliver Jeffers, Maira Kalman, Shaun Tan, Art Spiegelman. Almost every page is gorgeous, just stunning, like visual poems about reading. That’s the primary reason why this book gets five stars from me.
I loved Chris Ware’s two page illustrated story, one of my faves.
I liked this story: Author Elizabeth Gilbert skipped school to stay home and read Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. She got caught lying and was grounded. Yet she never forgot that day or that book. (How many days would I have preferred to stay home from school and just read a book all the way through!? Many of them!)
Holocaust survivor Helen Fagin once lived in a Polish ghetto where reading was punishable by hard labor, even death (like slaves in this country!), but she risked her life running a secret school for kids, though it couldn’t be about facts, she soon realized:
“What they needed wasn’t dry information but hope, the kind that comes from being transported into a dream-world of possibility. There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts.”
Though I generally liked school, that’s why I would have wanted to stay home from time to time, as learning in school was often configured as an accumulation of facts and skills rather than passionate engagement with the world through the imagination. You and I already know this, but it is nice to see it confirmed here again and again in this book.
The essays probably are not all great but there are lessons to learn even from weak essays! what is fun is to investigate who is the author and again watch the illustrations. You don't know most of the authors, but that is alright.
There is one short essay that I wish was placed at first. It says, books are like candies, don't feel you have to finish them when you open them ! so if you happen got this book, don't feel you have to read through all essays thoroughly, skip quickly the ones that you find boring ! that is what is called "velocity of being"
Amazing illustrations and beautiful words
Great for over 9 Y old I would suggest.