A Velocity of Being

A Velocity of Being


Edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Zoe Bedrick

A New York Times Bestseller

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.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-228-2
5.9" (W) x 8.3" (H) • 272 pages • HC

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A New York Times Bestseller
A CBC "Hot Off The Press" Selection of December 2018
A Brain Pickings Best Children’s Book of 2018
Featured in Green Source DFW December 2018 gift guide

“…an embarrassment of riches.” —The New York Times

“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." —Megan Cox Gurdon, The Wall Street Journal

This feast of a book provides ample food for thought, with some dazzling visuals, to boot. The collection will nourish readers of all kinds, deserving a permanent place on our bookshelves.” —Joan Silverman, The National Book Review

"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


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