While being an adult certainly comes with some major perks (hello, drivers license and disposable income!), it’s hard to beat the wonder of being a kid. No one knows that better than the incredibly talented artist and children’s book author, Juman Malouf. We’ve asked Juman to share the books she reads when she wants to revisit childhood. Whether you’re hunting for the perfect book for your niece or you’re in the mood to revel in nostalgia, these stories will surprise and delight you.
Meet the Author
Juman Malouf is an artist, fashion designer, costumer and, with the debut of her novel, The Trilogy of Two, she’s a children’s book author as well. She’s also the wildly talented artist behind the whimsical character sketches in Moonrise Kingdom, a film written and directed by her husband, Wes Anderson. She graduated from Brown University with a BA in fine arts and art history. She received an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts for set and costume design.
Juman’s Book Recommendations
1. Let’s Kill Uncle by Rohan O’Grady ($10): [This is] a wonderful children’s book, which had a great Edward Gorey illustrated cover when it was first published. I only discovered this book as an adult, but I would’ve loved it even more as a twelve-year-old. It’s suspenseful and whimsical. I like the extremely detailed descriptions of the foods in their little picnics.
2. Black Jack by Leon Garfield ($8): I love Leon Garfield, and this is one of my favorites. There’s a lot about it that reminds me of Charles Dickens, but it’s freer and wilder. There is a giant, a circus, a dark forest and a mad young girl named Belle.
3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ($18): A few years ago, I saw the first version Carroll actually wrote by hand and illustrated (which he called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground). Those drawings were the model for the illustrations in all the other versions over the years. Like everybody else, I was completely enchanted by this story as a child.
4. The Twits by Roald Dahl ($7): There isn’t a Dahl book I don’t like! This one I remember in particular because I loved Quentin Blake’s pictures of Mr. Twit and all the disgusting food that would get stuck in his beard.
5. Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary ($7): It’s been thirty years since I read these, but I remember loving Ramona and wanting to be as mischievous as she was. Also, I wanted her haircut.
6. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein ($17): In Shel Silverstein’s books, I think the drawings are exactly as important as the text, and they seem to have been conceived together. This always fascinated me, which makes sense now, as it is what I love doing. The Giving Tree still makes me cry today.
7. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens ($8): They gave us the abridged version. I was obsessed with Fagin and his gang of pickpocket street urchins. The Artful Dodger was my favorite. A gang called the Scrummagers in my book is inspired by them.
8. The All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor ($7): There are five of these books. I don’t know how I got my hands on them living in London. They were set in turn-of-the-century, Lower East Side Manhattan — a completely foreign world to me. I read them over and over and had to tape the spines back together. One of the covers was the five sisters dressed in matching smocks and pinafores, standing under a tree. It eventually fell off the book, and I tacked it to the wall of my bedroom.
9. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery ($8): In this book, the Prince Edward Islands are described as though they were almost magical, Edenic places. Anne is a memorable character. She talks non-stop and has bright red hair and a heart of gold.
10. Lord of the Flies by William Golding ($10): We had to write an essay about this one — not just a book report! We had to analyze it a bit, rather than just prove we had read it. I think it taught me and my classmates about looking for what’s below the surface in stories, and how they may work on a sub-conscious level. [It’s] a startling, haunting book.
More About Juman’s Book
Juman tells us, “The Trilogy of Two ($18) is a fantasy adventure novel for young readers. The heroines of the story are Charlotte and Sonja, twin sisters, who live and work in a travelling circus. An encounter with a man with a white Persian cat changes their lives forever. They are forced to leave their home and venture into harsh cities and enchanted lands to find out who they really are and where they came from.” For a glimpse at the magic and whimsy of this novel, check out the trailer below!
What books are on your nostalia-inducing book list? Let us know in the comments below!