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.
Edited and introduced by: Maria Popova, who has been writing since 2006 about what she reads on Brain Pickings (brainpickings.org), which is now included in the Library of Congress archive of culturally valuable materials;
Edited by Claudia Bedrick, publisher, editorial and art director of Enchanted Lion Books.
"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