Titania and Oberon

 Titania and Oberon spoke to me from across the room - I immediately gravitated to the cover illustration by Phyllis Bray. The lushly illustrated pages continued within, and I knew I wanted to make this book my daughter's special present to bring back from Italy. This book is wrapped and under our Christmas tree, waiting to be discovered! I bought it at Fox Gallery in Rome on my holiday vacation.

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, by Emil Farris, is about young Karen who draws herself as a female Wolfman who is also a pulp novel detective bent on solving the murder of her upstairs neighbor, who is a survivor of sexual violence and the Holocaust. Karen fills her notebook with drawings of her beloved Horror comic book covers and the diverse people who populate her neighborhood and apartment building. She is inspired by her older brother who takes her to art museums and studies the master paintings with her. As Karen sketches the world around her, we see how everyday people can be monstrous, and the perceived "real" monsters can be a sanctuary.

House of Leaves

For October, I am sharing one the creepiest books I've ever read. House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski, is a complicated and fascinating novel that took ten years to write. It has a story within a story narrative, analyzing a documentary about a house where doors appear where they should not, leading to dark hallways that sometimes go nowhere and other times open to an infinite maze of corridors with an unknown destructive force inside.

The Tree Lady

The Tree Lady is a kid-friendly biography of Katherine Olivia Sessions, the botanist who brought a lush landscape of trees to San Diego, California, and was eventually named "The Mother of Balboa Park." It is the story of a girl who followed her passion for science and the cultivation of plants at a time when girls were not encouraged or expected to do so.

The Nightgown of the Sullen Moon

On the billionth birthnight of the moon, a little girl taking away clean laundry leaves her own blue flannel nightgown stitched with stars dancing on the line. It's spotted by the moon, who sullenly complains that though many have praised and adored her, no one has ever really given her what she truly wants: a beautiful nightgown. "But where will you get a nightgown, dear Moon?" asks the sun. "The same place they do," said the moon.

Pablo Neruda Poet of the People

Pablo Neruda Poet of the People tells the story of a man who loved the world and wrote about it in a way that brought beauty and hope in his reader's lives in prose that is simple for children but with a poetry of its own: "He wrote about scissors and thimbles and chairs and rings. He wrote about buttons and feathers and shoes and hats. He wrote about velvet cloth and the color of the sea."


Gasoline is a fantastical romp through the imagination of the one and only Dame Darcy - author, illustrator, animator, musical entertainer, and a self-proclaimed mermaid. Darcy is most widely known for her Fantagraphics published comic series Meat Cake. Gasoline is a 190 page illustrated novel that I have to admit I have not fully read, but find totally inspiring due to its sheer enthusiasm and unapologetic gusto for gothic magic. Darcy loves what she loves, and her vision feels uncompromised.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

“… to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that is it a conscious choice, a chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography.”

Love In Vain

Johnson is a mystical enigmatic figure who's history is swirled in myth. In this volume we see the bargain he supposedly made with the devil at a crossroads of Mississippi highways - selling his soul in order to play guitar with supernatural talent.

Infinity and Me

Young Uma contemplates the number infinity deeply for the first time while trying to count the stars in the sky. She feels very small in comparison and does not know how to make sense of something so large and endless. This can be a somewhat troublesome or even disturbing concept to understand, so Uma decides to ask her friends, teachers and family for their definitions of the word.

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.