Many Moons

I just returned from a week in Maine. In addition to visiting my family, the sea, and the rocky shore, I also got to visit old friends whom I had not seen in many moons. I’m referring – of course – to books.


Shelves and shelves of books. I could remember just when I had met most of them. These books connect me to my family, to my younger self, and to the world.


Time moves in only one direction, but books are time machines. They take us back to when we first read them. They take us to new or old worlds.

Across seas,

The Story of Vania, Helen Pons


and under trees.

They take us home even if home no longer exists.

They take us on unsettling adventures.

Dare Wright

Eudora Welty said “The events in our lives happen in a sequence of time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily – perhaps not possibly – chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation.”

Alice and Martin Provensen

The art and stories I have read, seen and loved (or sometimes disliked) provide intermittent sparks of revelation and inspiration. What books are sparks for you? What books offer time travel?

The Great Quillow by James Thurber, illustrated by Doris Lee

I hope that the my work will spark someone else. I can never create with that in mind; thinking about how something will be received is a quick way to kill the joy of making art. But in the abstract I hope that before croaking I can make time machines for someone else to ride.

Ed Emberly

14 responses to “Many Moons

  1. Delighted to see Edith the Lonely Doll in the mix!

  2. The Lonely Doll was an unsettling read for me, too. It was just plain odd. I never could figure out why–maybe it was that stiffness. What wonderful classic copies of those books you have, Julie. I hadn’t thought if it that way–but, I sure hope I’m creating time machines, too!

    • I think the oddness comes from many sources! There is a biography about Dare Wright called The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll, by Jean Nathan. I’ve read excerpts from it.
      Here’s a link to a review:

  3. Wonderful collection here! And I never knew Edith went on holiday with the bears – hope I can find it!

  4. I see a number of the books that I read to my elementary students–including Many Moons, The Wind in the Willows, Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, and a Tree is Nice. Reading aloud was my favorite part of the school day.

    • Thanks for your message. I used to read aloud to my elementary art students while they were drawing. A favorite part of my day too!

  5. You took me all the way back to 5 yrs. old here, Julie. So many books I hadn’t thought of in years, and so many I want to see again. And what a lovely thing for your students, to do art and listening to stories.

    • I like listening to stories or music at certain times when I’m making art (when I want my unconscious to kick in, or if I’m doing rote work). I figured the kids would like it too, and I think they did.

  6. What a treat to see these books! “A Tree is Nice” looks like a beautiful book. So many little joys. My grandmother had only one children’s book, “Danny Decoy.” It took years to find a copy. The story & illustrations were by John Held whose style reminds me of a bit of Charlie Harper. He inspired me to learn illustration.

  7. So fun to remember these books and their illustrators. Points to the value of actual books, words on paper, book covers. What treasures!

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