For the past few weeks we have been hearing about events being cancelled; flights being postponed; Disneyland and Walt Disney World closing their gates for the rest of the month; tragic deaths and concerning border closings; and employees required to work remotely in an attempt to self-quarantine and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It is a tough and trying time. Here we reflect on books we’ve read recently and what we recommend to help you pass the time at home or otherwise take your mind off of recent concerning events. In no particular order, we recommend checking out the following:
#1 Straight On Till Morning: A Twisted Tale. Author Liz Braswell’s twisted tale-take on Peter Pan which could be better described as ‘the adventures of Wendy and Tinkerbell’ is an exciting read that will transport you from dreary London to daring Never Land. Check out our review of Straight On Till Morning and our interview with the author here.
#2 Walt Disney’s Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks. We have a soft spot for Disney history books and Don Iwerk’s book showcasing the many talents of his dad – and Walt Disney’s right-hand man – Ub Iwerks is no exception. Walt Disney’s Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks plugs the gap in Disney’s record of technical triumphs from 1940 through 1971 and is a testament to everything Ub stood for: hard work, problem solving and persistence. Check out our interview with Don here.
#3 The Art of Frozen II. If somehow history and adventure stories are not your thing, The Art of Frozen II may be more your style. This book, beautifully written and compiled by Jessica Julius, explores animation, technical animation, design and the level of research involved in a project of the Frozen scale. This goes without saying, but the illustrations are BEAUTIFUL. You can check out our full review of the book here.
#4 Mulan: Before the Sword (and other recently released Mulan books). We were disappointed to read that the March 27 release date for Disney’s live action Mulan has been postponed and currently awaits a new release date. However, what is not disappointing is the number of books you can dive into to get your Mulan fix in the meantime. As we said in our review of Before the Sword, Grace Lin’s story ‘is so much more than a great story. It is mythological-inspired fiction fused with Disney heroine-ism.’
We also checked out A Place for Mulan, a stylized picture book for children that has one of the most wonderful “embrace-your-own-path” messages that we have ever seen in a book for younglings. Written by Marie Chow and illustrated by Jasper Shaw, this book should be in bedrooms, libraries and classrooms. And don’t forget Elizabeth Rudnick’s novelization which will bring the live action adventure to you before the film makes it to the theater.
Okay, fine. I did sneakily squeeze several books into #4, but ya gotta let me get in #5.
#5 Disney’s Art of Hand Lettering. If you are looking for recommendations on the workbook front, we can’t recommend Disney’s Art of Hand Lettering highly enough. This artful activity book educates the reader on the meaning of the fonts and feelings behind many famous Disney titles and also gives the reader the opportunity to practice their own writing. We loved seeing the title cards of our favorite Disney films and getting some insight into why those particular fonts might have been chosen. Our full review of the workbook can be found here.
We’re all in this together now. Let’s help pass the time by sharing our fandom with each other. Add your favorite Disney books you’ve recently read in the comments below!