3 Books by Brian Selznick

One of the categories in the “Reading for Growth” of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 challenge is to read “three books by the same author”. I had previously read The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Marvels and enjoyed both books immensly, so Brian immediately popped in my head as I knew he had written one more in a similar style. Upon researching what else he wrote, I saw that he wrote (and illustrated) two other books the public library had in circulation, so I checked them out. Below are the three books I read by him.

I think the things that strike me the most of interest is after reading his books are: 1) I love his pencil drawings. It’s amazing that such a simple tool can create such a cool drawing. 2) I’m a fan of his part picture, part words style of writing. Yes, picking up a 400+ page book seems a daunting read. But when you look closer and it feels that half those pages are pictures just when you thumb through the book? Doesn’t seem so daunting now. 3) This is probably something that would explain other picture books, but wow! A picture really does say a thousand words! As someone who works with kids, I’m finding myself drawn to books that are told with no words, only pictures. I think it takes talent to tell a story with just a picture, and Brian seems to take that to the next level with his style of telling a wordless story, a word story, and combining the two together in the end.

Without further ado, the books …

The Boy of a Thousand FacesThis one seemed like it could be on the scary end and not one I would normally go to (If you know me, you know I don’t do scary or horror – even in book form I avoid it). I think the only reason I read it was for this challenge. However, I liked the concept of the challenge the boy created for himself. Similar to a photo-a-day challenge, or a selfie-a-day challenge that I’ve seen.

The Houdini Box – If you aren’t familiar with Harry Houdini, he is a famous magician. This story is about a boy who is fascinated with magic and gets the chance to learn a secret from the master, but unfortunately receives a box instead. The boy leaves the box closed and forgets about magic. But by a small chance, years later, his former passion is revised and when he finally opens that box, a childhood answer was revealed.

Wonderstruck – This book features two characters who are deaf, trying to find where they belong, both ultimately finding the answer in New York City.

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NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

After being on my “to-read” list for over a year, I have finally read NeuroTribes. As stated below, my husband first heard about the book while reading science articles about Autism. (He is at the present moment un-diagnosed with the spectrum disorder.) He checked the book out from the public library and enjoying it himself, purchased it from Amazon for family to read. My mother-in-law read it first, and now I can say I have finally done so.

It took me a while to actually start the book for several reasons. 1) One, it is a non-fiction book, talking about the history of Autism, and I’m generally not a fan of non-fiction, usually finding them a bit of a dry read. That was true for this one as well, but as the history lesson came into more modern times, it did pick up a bit. 2) Secondly, the size was a bit daunting, the book being about 480 pages. Granted I have read longer books (Harry Potter series for example), but as already stated, non-fiction books are a bit dry and take longer for me to consume, probably because I’m not as absorbed in the pages.

This book does fit the reading challenge I’m completing by “Modern Mrs. Darcy”. I’m putting this under the label “a book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet” because having a husband on the spectrum does make me want to learn more about it so that I can better understand him better, and it is something that I will willingly pass on to anyone who would like to learn more about Autism themselves.

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NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of NeurodiversityNeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

It took me a while to finally get started on this book, as the size seemed a bit daunting, and I’m normally not a non-fiction fan, but after hubby and my mother-in-law read it, I figured it was finally time.

Hubby first discovered the book through science articles about Autism. Being un-diagnosed himself, hubby has immersed himself in research to find out more about Autism spectrum and if it fits him.

This book talks about the history of Autism spectrum including the two gentlemen who coined the terms we know now, Hans Asperger (from Austria, 1938, used the term autistic psychopaths) and Leo Kanner (from the US, 1943, first labeled as early infantile autism), and the start of organizations that helped define the disorder as we know it today. It also talks about the future of Autism as seen in several movements, both of those looking for a “cure” and those looking for “acceptance”.

If you or a loved one is on the spectrum or you think they might be, I highly recommend this book. I think even those not on the spectrum will see themselves in the characteristics of Autism spectrum somewhere.