I haven't shut up about Innocents and Others since I opened it. Dana Spiotta's writing is a perfect mix of addictively weird characters, slightly skewed history and art within art. One of the hardest things to do as a writer is to craft believable artistic output for creative characters, but Spiotta is a master of the form. That's never been more on display than in this book about a pair of best frenemies who also both happen to be filmmakers. Whether your obsession is the challenges of creativity, the dangerous lore of old Hollywood or simply female friendship, Innocents and Others will have you forgetting that the bath has grown cold as you read long into the night.
Lately my daughter has been very interested in exploring feelings—hers, mine, her friends', her stuffed animals'. Are they lonely? Are they cold? Do they need a hug? Luckily we have two wonderful books on hand to help her unpack all her feelings...about feelings. One is Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal. It emphasizes that everyone has the same range of emotions, and that you're not alone when you're angry or sad (a lesson for grown ups, as well). The illustrations are big and bold — my preschooler especially loves the way the flowers look. And the words are simple enough that it can double as an early-reading book. The other book we've been reading on this topic is In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey. Each page has a different sized heart cut out, which makes for a very pleasing almost origami-ish reading experience. The writing is both lovely and complex, with similes like, "My heart feels lazy and slow, as quiet as a snowfall. This is when my heart is calm." It makes my heart calm just thinking about this book!