Keep Austin Reading Weird 2015

weird sign

Keep Austin Weird is a familiar and apropos motto here in Austin. In BookKids, we even have a weird picture book section. Books get shelved in weird if they are just a little off beat for some reason. It could be the artwork, story, format, or the general “feel” of the book that gets it shelved in that section. It’s a small section, but well-curated, varied, and the perfect place to browse if you’re looking for a not-your-ordinary picture book.

curious display

Every year around SXSW time, we do our part to show visitors that in Austin we even like our books weird. Books showcased come from the weird section, but also from other sections all over BookKids. There is a little bit of weird everywhere. Our weird display, which has the official title of “Curiouser & Curiouser,” goes up front and center at the entrance to BookKids. Here are a few of our booksellers favorite sorta strange, off-beat, curious, and unique books for kids.


Round Trip by Ann Jonas
In Round Trip, Ann Jonas takes an ordinary boring car trip to town and turns it on its head, quite literally. When you get to the “end” of the book, turn it upside down and the same illustrations tell a completely different story of the trip home again. I’m amazed every time I look at it!


Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui
Before After is an amazing book with eye-catching illustrations that will appeal to everyone from the youngest children to adults. Every page is beautiful with its before and after images, and those make you think because they aren’t always as straightforward as an acorn and an oak tree. This is a wordless book that engages the readers both in mind and imagination.


The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut #1: Bowling Alley Bandit by Laurie Keller
I’m not sure there are words to describe how much I love Arnie. Mr. Bing did not realize his doughnut was alive when he bought him from the bakery, but has since dubbed him a doughnut-dog and been a great pet owner. Arnie the Doughnut does all kinds of wacky things, like having a friendly rivalry with a slice of pizza named Peezo (sometimes they have wrestling matches), singing karaoke (Livin’ La Vi-DOUGH Loca, for example) and heck, he even solves mysteries! If you enjoy silliness and a whole lot of doughnut related puns, Arnie’s brand of weirdness is the perfect fit.


Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton
So, I think this book is weird just because of the subject matter. Microbes? Huh, I never really thought about microbes being a subject kids would want to know more about, but why not? Kids like things that are hard even for adults to comprehend like space & big ideas, large numbers, and the humor in Captain Underpants. Microbes are also hard to comprehend since we never see them (unless with the help of a microscope) and they are so important to our bodies, environment, and food chain. I like this book because the science is solid and the illustrations are evocative of old illustrated science texts but more kid-friendly. Microbes are weird, and I think any kid who is curious about the natural world would love this weird book.


The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
The first time I read The Neverending Story, I was ten years old and hiding in the library from after-school bullies. I was so caught up in the adventures of Bastian, Atreyu, & Falcor against the all-encompassing Nothing, I forgot all about being teased! There’s nothing like it–it’s exciting, adventurous, suspenseful, fantastical, heroic, and more! I fall in love with it all over again every time I read it.

curious display 2

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