an enchanting ode to books and the diversity of thought and experience they offer

by David Miles, illustrated by Natalie Hoopes - Familius, 2015
ages early childhood to grownup / coffee table, imagination

I love the information age we live in—the ability to find an instant answer to all but the most philosophical questions makes life increasingly vibrant and interesting. But …  I recently read this article and it got me thinking.

If, as the article suggests, all that instant-gratification learning is causing changes in the neural pathways of adult brains, it’s surely having a dramatic impact on the developing brains of our children. 

All of which is to say this: it’s a great article that advocates for the reading of actual books to reduce stress and increase the perception of having more time.

While reading the article, I was reminded of the beautiful and lyrical book, Book. It’s a book about books. A lovely conceit and one that is brilliantly executed.

Simply, Book is an ode to reading and imagining and exploring worlds outside of everyday lives.

It’s strikingly designed – the first few pages are nothing but black and white typeface that grows in font size on each page as the reader is encouraged to ‘learn to look closer’. 

As we look closer each letter begins to reveal a world full of life and imagination until we’re "suddenly in a place … Where imagination scrapes the skies of opportunity.”

Through page after beautiful page we follow a child through the myriad of adventures that are only available in a great book. 

There are “friends of fact and fiction,” time spent “alone on the highest mountain” and so much more.

There are fun moments that remind us of the enduring benefits of paper over electronics – a book “will never be sick, because viruses can’t catch it.” 

And my personal favourite: 

It will never go dark, because it doesn’t need batteries.
Which is fortunate, because in our search for truth, only light can show us what was imprisoned for so long … and set it free."

That’s what we’re doing when we read a book isn’t it? Searching for truth? And truth needs light. The light that can be found in the complexities of Shakespeare, the loveliness of a picture book, or in any book that tells a story, fact or fiction, that speaks to the heart.

Book is perfect for the coffee table; it’s nostalgic and appealing to adults and teens who will fondly remember moments of escape or enlightenment that flowed from a book. 

It’s also a lovely book to read at the end of a frantic day... the illustrations are full of detail and life for a child to scour, and full of promise and hope for the adult reading aloud.

Book is an enchanting marriage of words and art that begs to be picked up and pored over again and again. It’s a lovely reminder to slow down, plunge into a book, embrace whatever world the book offers, and enjoy the many gifts that follow.

And, if that resonates with you, you’ll probably love the quote from Daniel Pennac in our collection of 16 books that make bedtime a communion of parent and child