NOMA’s Learning and Engagement staff suggests the following books related to themes of process and materials in art. In partnership with Octavia Books, links are provided to purchase these titles through this independent bookstore based in New Orleans, which offers nationwide shipping or curbside pickup. The store has also been approved for Phase 1 of reopening. For more information, visit their website.
Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams, Vintage, 2009, ISBN: 9780375725197
“Shards of glass can cut and wound or magnify a vision,” Terry Tempest Williams tells us. “Mosaic celebrates brokenness and the beauty of being brought together.” Ranging from Ravenna, Italy, where she learns the ancient art of mosaic, to the American Southwest, where she observes prairie dogs on the brink of extinction, to a small village in Rwanda where she joins genocide survivors to build a memorial from the rubble of war, Williams searches for meaning and community in an era of physical and spiritual fragmentation.
In her compassionate meditation on how nature and humans both collide and connect, Williams affirms a reverence for all life, and constructs a narrative of hopeful acts, taking that which is broken and creating something whole.
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit, Penguin Books, 2006, ISBN: 9780143037248
Written as a series of autobiographical essays, A Field Guide to Getting Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Rebecca Solnit’s life to explore issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place. Solnit is interested in the stories we use to navigate our way through the world, and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves, or losing ourselves. While deeply personal, her own stories link up to larger stories, from captivity narratives of early Americans to the use of the color blue in Renaissance painting, not to mention encounters with tortoises, monks, punk rockers, mountains, deserts, and the movie Vertigo. The result is a distinctive, stimulating voyage of discovery.
What a Time to Be Alone: The Slumflowers’s Guide to Why You Are Already Enough by Chidera Eggerue, Quadrille Publishing, 2018, ISBN: 9781787132115
In What A Time To Be Alone, the Slumflower will be your life guru, confidante and best friend. She’ll show you that being alone is not just okay: it’s just about the best freaking thing that’s ever happened to you. As she says, ‘You’re bad as hell and you were made with intention.’ It’s about time you realized.
Peppered with insightful Igbo proverbs from Chidera’s Nigerian mother and full of her own original artwork, What A Time To Be Alone will help you navigate the modern world. We can all decide our own fates and Chidera shows us how, using a three-part approach filled with sass, wisdom, and charm—Learn how to celebrate YOU, don’t worry about THEM, feel the togetherness in US. Own your story. Create your own narrative.
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, HarperOne, 2017, ISBN: 9780062315007
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations. Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy, edited by John Brehm, Wisdom Publications, 2017, ISBN: 9781614293316
The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy contains over 125 poetic companions, from Basho to Billy Collins, Saigyo to Shakespeare.
For Young Adults
Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel, TarcherParigree, 2015, ISBN: 9780399174827
Start Where You Are is an interactive journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, mindfulness, and self-motivation. It helps readers navigate the confusion and chaos of daily life with a simple reminder: that by taking the time to know ourselves and what those dreams are, we can appreciate the world around us and achieve our dreams.
Featuring vibrant hand-lettering and images that have attracted a large following for her stationery and textile line in boutiques across the country, Meera Lee Patel’s uplifting book presents supportive prompts and exercises along with inspirational quotes to encourage reflection through writing, drawing, chart-making, and more.
Featuring inspiring quotes from writers, artists, and other visionaries paired with open-ended questions and prompts, with plenty of room for writing and reflecting, this appealing full-color book is a powerful tool for positive change.
Light Filters In: Poems by Caroline Kaufman, Illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova, HarperCollins, 2018, ISBN: 9780062844682
In Light Filters In, Caroline Kaufman—known as @poeticpoison—does what she does best: reflects our own experiences back at us and makes us feel less alone, one exquisite and insightful piece at a time. She writes about giving up too much of yourself to someone else, not fitting in, endlessly Googling “how to be happy,” and ultimately figuring out who you are. This hardcover collection features completely new material plus some fan favorites from Caroline’s account. Filled with haunting, spare pieces of original art, Light Filters In will thrill existing fans and newcomers alike.
For Ages 9-12
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Puffin Books, 2017, ISBN: 9780142426425
Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.
The author of the beloved One for the Murphys gives readers an emotionally-charged, uplifting novel that will speak to anyone who’s ever thought there was something wrong with them because they didn’t fit in. This paperback edition includes The Sketchbook of Impossible Things and discussion questions.
Sticks & Stones by Abby Cooper, Square Fish, 2017, ISBN: 9781250115263
Ever since she was a baby, the words people use to describe Elyse have instantly appeared on her arms and legs. At first it was just “cute” and “adorable,” but as she’s gotten older and kids have gotten meaner, words like “loser” and “pathetic” appear, and those words bubble up and itch. And then there are words like “interesting,” which she’s not really sure how to feel about. Now, at age twelve, she’s starting middle school, and just when her friends who used to accept and protect her are drifting away, she receives an anonymous note saying “I know who you are, and I know what you’re dealing with. I want to help.” As Elyse works to solve the mystery of who is sending her these notes, she also finds new ways to accept who she is and to become her best self.
I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, Harry N. Abrams, 2017, ISBN: 9781419727016
(Suggested ages: 4 – 8)
When the world feels chaotic, find peace within through an accessible mindfulness practice from the bestselling picture-book dream team that brought us I Am Yoga. Express emotions through direct speech. Find empathy through imagination. Connect with the earth. Wonder at the beauty of the natural world. Breathe, taste, smell, touch, and be present. Perfect for the classroom or for bedtime, Susan Verde’s gentle, concrete narration and Peter H. Reynolds’s expressive watercolor illustrations bring the tenets of mindfulness to a kid-friendly level. Featuring an author’s note about the importance of mindfulness and a guided meditation for children, I Am Peace will help readers of all ages feel grounded and restored.
I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis, Illustrated by Laura Connell, HarperCollins, 2007, ISBN: 9780060287610
(Suggested ages: 4 – 8)
Celebrate liking yourself! Through alternating points of view, a girl’s and a boy’s, Jamie Lee Curtis’s triumphant text and Laura Cornell’s lively artwork show kids that the key to feeling good is liking yourself because you are you. A book to rejoice in and share, I’m Gonna Like Me will have kids letting off some self-esteem in no time!
The Good Egg by Jory John, Illustrated by Pete Oswald, HarperCollins, 2019, ISBN: 9780062866004
(Suggested ages: 4 – 8)
Meet the good egg. He’s a verrrrrry good egg indeed.
But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol’ rotten.
As the other eggs in the dozen behave badly, the good egg starts to crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect.
So, he decides enough is enough! It’s time for him to make a change…
Dynamic duo Jory John and Pete Oswald hatch a funny and charming story that reminds us of the importance of balance, self-care, and accepting those we love (even if they are sometimes a bit rotten).
It’s Ok To Be Different by Todd Parr, Little Brown Books For Young Readers, 2009, ISBN: 9780316043472
(Suggested ages: 3 – 6)
Told with Todd Parr’s signature wit and wisdom, It’s Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format. The book features the bold, bright colors and silly scenes that made Todd a premiere voice for emotional discussions in children’s literature. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book will inspire kids to celebrate their individuality through acceptance of others and self-confidence–and it’s never too early to develop a healthy self-esteem.
It’s Okay to be Different is designed to encourage early literacy, enhance emotional development, celebrate multiculturalism and diversity, and promote character growth.