When I remember my mother reading these stories to me or paging through them under the covers in the dark with my tiny reading light, it brings a tear to my eye. Okay, maybe several tears. Alright, alright, maybe I completely break down from the overwhelming nostalgia. We should all take a look back at the five books that stole our hearts as kids.
The story of a teddy bear named Corduroy who lives in a department store and is missing a button. The missing button stops the bear from being sold, so he goes on a quest to find it. He never does find that button, which I find to be so incredibly depressing. It’s a void which he was never able to fill. Fortunately for the bear, the kind girl from earlier in the story uses all of her piggy bank savings to buy the bear and sews in one of her own buttons, leading to the happy ending.
Our two amphibian friends in these stories share such a powerful friendship that it’s hard to conceive of them apart. Their adventures were always exploring the value of comradery in the face of things like loneliness, insecurity, and existential dread… all packaged in the pages of a children’s book.
By the same author as Goodnight Moon, this one features a rabbit who imagines himself being much more than just a rabbit until he comes to the realization that he has to stay with his mother and that he will always remain her child. A testament to a child’s imagination and the call to adventure.
Another leporine tale. This one is even worse than the Runaway one because it’s about a cute little stuffed rabbit that so desperately wants to become real before almost being burned to ash when the little boy who owns him falls sick and needs to have all his things disinfected. Naturally, a magic fairy comes to save the day and turns the rabbit into a real one.
This one is a classic, and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. Perhaps you saw the very strange film adaptation, but regardless, it’s a tearjerker of epic proportions. A lesson that even when you are surrounded by people, or in this case monsters, it’s still possible to feel incredibly lonely. And that’s okay.
Okay, it’s over. I’m sorry for the waterworks. Here’s a tissue.
There are so many treasured children’s books that are classics and staples in the homes of families around the world. At 27-years-old, I can still remember the delight I felt reading books like The Giving Tree or The Velveteen Rabbit and of course of course Corduroy, the story of a teddy bear searching for his lost button, written by Don Freeman in 1968. Today, the popular Corduroy is getting a sequel penned by actress Viola Davis.
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Davis explains that the original book was so important to her growing up because the little girl who befriends Corduroy, Lisa, is African American. Davis goes on to say that this was integral to her development because at the time it was so rare to find a children’s book that featured a character of color. Growing up in an extremely poor household, finding a book that she could identify with was very important to her, and helped to shape her into the role model she is today.
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Viola Davis has won several major awards including Tony awards, BAFTA awards, and most recently an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 2017 movie Fences. Her book is entitled Corduroy Takes a Bow, and it brings Lisa and the titular Corduroy to the theater where the bear goes off to explore backstage before inevitably ending up on stage himself. The book is written by Davis, illustrated by Jody Wheeler, and is set to be released on September 4th, 2018, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the original book by Don Freeman.
In a world where diversity can oftentimes be met with anxiety and defensiveness, we should embrace the celebration of differences that Davis and many other talents hope to bestow upon society. Davis goes on to say that a truth she holds important is the fact that when our bodies fade away, all that we have left is the mark and impression left by us on this world. Needless to say, Davis’s book will hopefully be as influential and inspiring to young readers as the original was for her. Perhaps in another fifty years we will see another Viola Davis charm the world citing this as their inspiration!
The actress responsible for bringing some drama to our Thursday nights with her scandalous show How To Get Away With Murder is putting aside the smoking guns and legal pads and is picking up a pen to write a children’s book!
Davis will be writing a sequel to the beloved children’s classic Corduroy, which will be released by Viking Children’s Books in September 2018.
Titled Corduroy Takes A Bow, the picture book will portray the adorable fluffy character’s first trip to the theater. Davis is certainly no stranger to the stage, having won two Tony Awards for her theatrical performances in August Wilson’s King Hedley II (2001) and Fences (2010). She has also performed in other plays including As You Like It (1992), Seven Guitars (1996), and Intimate Apparel (2004).
Davis will be able to use her first hand experience to communicate the awe and impression of the theater world to younger (and older) audiences.
Corduroy has always held a special place in my life, first as a child paging through it, and then again with my daughter, introducing her to the adventures of that adorable teddy bear. I am honored and excited by the chance to continue the story that Don Freeman started 50 years ago.