Father Fox's Penny Rhymes

This book of nonsense rhymes written and illustrated in the early 1970s is absolutely delicious - and feels like the antidote to all the stale Mother Goose nursery rhymes that just won't quit. Father Fox is the storyteller spinning silly yarns to his many children as they tumble all over the pages in assorted ridiculous hijinks. The prose is silly, sweet, nostalgic and downright yummy. These little gems paired with the detailed comic illustrations makes for a real treat.

Last Stop On Market Street

Last Stop On Market Street takes an everyday commute by bus and turns it into a joyful treat. The ordinary becomes magical when seen through an optimistic point of view. CJ and his nana set out on a wet rainy day and he quickly becomes envious of people who have more - their own cars, iphones, freer schedules. His nana smartly meets each gloomy complaint with a positive perspective that uncovers the spirit behind things.

Sonya's Chickens

I bought Sonya's Chickens because I love Pheobe Wahl's illustrations and I love chickens. My husband got some biddies for our backyard a couple years ago, and we've been enjoying fresh eggs and clucking antics ever since. Upon reading the story to my daughter we discovered it is about the cycle of life and death told in a way that is simplistic enough for a child to grasp and accept.


Mandujano/Cell is a small bookshop and art exhibition space run by the artist couple Hazel Mandujano and Juan Capistran. It is a rare space which reflects the taste and interest of its curators perfectly. Located on the second floor of an office building on La Brea and Regent (close to Inglewood City Hall and Public Library), there is nothing else like it the area. 

How To Be Happy

How To Be Happy is a collection of emotionally complex stories centered around the search for happiness.  It is the impressive work of the cartoonist and illustrator Eleanor Davis. It is not, however, a book about how to find happiness - rather more the bewildering pursuit of that elusive state.

A New Coat for Anna

A New Coat for Anna, by Harriet Ziefert, follows a mother and daughter in post World War II Europe as they barter their last valuable belongings to acquire a new warm coat for Anna. The reader gets to follow the process of creating a product from scratch - from shearing sheep to a tailor's shop. It's fascinating for a child to see how many steps are needed to make a seemingly simple object like a coat. I loved this book as a child, and fond it has even more meaning to offer an adult reader.

The Tomten and the Fox

This quiet story is lovely for bedtime, especially at Christmas! Astrid Lindgren adapted a poem by Karl-Erik Forssund about a hungry fox who goes looking for food on a cold December night. He encounters a Tomten who looks after the farm. The watercolor illustrations by Harald Wiberg are starry, snowy and hushed, just right for this time of year!

Maps / The 50 States

These books are great gifts - large format, informative, playful and enjoyably educational. There is so much to linger over, you’ll spend hours with this book dreaming about traveling and learning more about the world.

Illustrated Peter Pan by MinaLima Design

Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima are MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter films. They've created this delightfully illustrated version of J.M Barrie's classic story with plenty of fun interactive features: fold-out maps, paper spinning wheels and pop-up fairy wings. With a beautiful foil embossed cloth cover, I will be gifting this book for Christmas!

My Brother's Book

Maurice Sendak's posthumously published My Brother's Book is a poetic send off from a profound artist. It feels like a final love letter to the world, to a beloved brother, and also to his partner of fifty years. It pulls together all the themes that populate his vast body of work in a slender volume of prose and stunning illustrations that bring William Blake to mind.

Men Explain Things To Me

Rebecca Solnit's slim volume brings to mind the Flaming Lips lyric, "a spoonful weighs a ton." They are referencing the density of planetary mass, but it's the right sentiment for this lean, intelligent set of essays in which each small bite of content feels like a meal, it is so filling with substance. 

East of the Sun West of the Moon

I still have my childhood copy of Mercer Mayer's East of the Sun West of the Moon. It's one of my most beloved treasures from that time. When I pick it up it resonates with the same magic it held so many years ago. The story follows a resilient girl's difficult quest to rescue her prince. Overcoming fear and enduring hardship, she encounters magical sprits of the earth who encourage her along the way.

In The Company Of Women

Grace Bonney, the founder of Design Sponge, is responsible for this inspiring collection of interviews and photographs of women of all kinds who have carved their own paths to successful creative living. They have overcome adversity to run their own businesses, create their own art, speak their own messages in clear proud voices. What is so important about this book is that Bonney has made them visible for other women to see proof of what can be done - evidence that women can lead. If we cannot see ourselves reflected in positions of power and respect we may not ponder what is possible.

Cloth Lullaby

This biographical picture book introduces the reader to the life of Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist whose work ranged from sculpture, installation, weaving, painting and printmaking. In a narrative crafted for children, it focuses on the childhood of a young girl who grows into an artist. Though appropriate for children I feel this book will resonate more deeply with adults, especially for those with a background in - or appreciation of - visual arts. 

The Doyle Diary

Here's some spooky October fun! Charles Altamont Doyle, father of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, was living at the Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum in Scotland when he created this diary of musings and sketches. He draws sinister birds, plants and flowers, fairies and peculiar ladies. 

Star Child

Claire A. Nivola's elegant little book Star Child tells the story of the human life cycle through the eyes of a star born on Earth. Star elders tell the story of how he would be born human, grow up, fall in love with the beautiful world, and be swept up in our river of time. It deals with love, change and loss with a very gentle touch.

Brown Bag Books

I was pleasantly surprised to wander into an unexpected bookshop while on a beer-y afternoon in San Pedro, complete with an Honesty Library payment system, and a nicely curated selection.