Books Faeries, Goddesses, Spirit-Stars It's Monday What Are You Reading Picture Books Read-a-Latte Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] A William Joyce Guardians of Childhood Special


Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

Here are a few of the reviews we have done last week. We are also inviting everyone to join our Award-Winning-Books Reading Challenge. We hosted the AWB Challenge last year and we are thrilled to be able to host it again. Do sign up if you are looking for exciting reading challenges with monthly book prizes. Click on the titles/images below to be taken to our blog posts.

I have also written a post about my thoughts on the Accelerated Reader Program.

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 9.19.37 AM

I am inviting fellow teachers, teacher educators, writers, librarians, authors, artists, parents, fellow book enthusiasts to share their own experiences and ideas about the AR program.

Does the Accelerated Reader Program help develop Lifelong Readers?

Widget courtesy of the ever-talented Iphigene.
Widget courtesy of the ever-talented Iphigene.

I was drawn to these books from early this year. I was unable to feature them as they did not fit into any of our previous themes. Now that we are celebrating Goddesses, Fairies, Spirit-Stars, Celestial Beings (and other elementals), the Guardians of Childhood picturebooks are perfect to share with everyone, as they all help vanquish darknesses and evil in various forms.

IMG_9521The Man in the Moon

Text and Illustrations By: William Joyce
Published by: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011.
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

This book traces the history of the ultimate Guardian of Childhood, the Man in the Moon himself (or MiM for short) from when he was a baby, back during the Golden Age when there was nothing but hope, happiness, and shimmering dreams that glow in the dark. The book showed his beautiful loving mother who would read to him using the light of giant glowworms while his father would educate him about celestial wonders through a giant telescope. Not to forget, MiM’s loyal friend Nightlight who would constantly watch over him.


The family is also able to travel quite easily from one peaceful planet to the next via Moon Clipper, their beautiful ship. Before there was even a Sandman, there was Nightlight who would sprinkle Dreamsand over MiM to keep him safe from nightmares.


But of course, light can not exist without darkness. Thus, the presence of Pitch, the King of Nightmares who wanted to capture MiM and transform this baby who has never had any nightmares to be his Prince. He thrives on fear and chaos and nothingness.


How this battle between good and evil ended, I shall leave for you to discover, dear friends. It is a story of self-sacrifice, unremitting kindness, and steadfast faith. There are also lots of Moonbots, Moonmice, Glowworms, and Lunar Moths thrown into the mix. The wonders found in this book are exquisite. The text is longer than the average picture book of the usual 300 words, as it goes in great detail about MiM’s journeys and what made him the man that he is. Perfect read-aloud during bedtime for starry-eyed children.

The SandmanIMG_9511

Written and Illustrated By: William Joyce
Published by: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

This is the second book in the Guardians of Childhood picture book series published in 2012. Here, we are introduced to the golden-greatness of Sanderson Mansnoozie, popularly known as the Sandman, or if you are quite close to him, you could call him Sandy.

The story begins with Sanderson Mansnoozie living inside and being the pilot of a shooting star. He lived a quiet serene life just passing through countless worlds. Anyone who sees the shooting star dart past could make a quiet wish and the Sandy would “send back a dream that would help that person make their wish come true, for a wish always begins with a dream.” How beautiful is that.


This idyllic existence was disrupted by the attack of Pitch and his Dream Pirates aboard the Nightmare Galleon. Pitch was intent on harpooning stars and hurling the moons and the planets into a black hole, never to be seen again. Sandy lost control of his star and crashed into Earth. For the first time in Sandy’s existence, he felt fear. Despite this free fall and the uncertainty and anxiety, a kind voice can be heard from far away: “I wish you well” it said.


Sandy crashed on an island filled with mermaids who vowed to help this sleeping little man. He slept for ten thousand nights “until every grain of sand on his island contained a dream.” William Joyce is a poet, as you can see. How Sandy woke up and how he was transformed into the Sandman that we know and love, a veritable Guardian of Childhood, I shall leave for you to discover.

This is a golden story that helps the reader find the hero within, giving one the courage to grab the night terrors through one’s hand with Sandy’s mantra: “You are not real. You are not true. You are nothing.” And just like that, the monsters (except perhaps for those we create ourselves) will turn to dust, touched by Sanderson’s Mansnoozie’s golden sandstorm. I can not wait to read the next few books in the series. I hope they release the one on Santa Claus for Christmas this year. That would be such a treat. For those who wish to know more about the Guardians of Childhood, click here to be taken to the official website.

Currently Reading…

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My adult book club Saturday Night Out for Book Geeks (or SNOB-Geeks) met up last Saturday night to discuss Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian at the Book Cafe. Sadly, we were not able to take a group photo, but at least Mr Kenneth Quek was able to take a picture of his flat white for posterity’s sake, and for blogging purposes.


This edition has a discussion guide found at the end of the novel which we used to structure our animated conversation, as read-aloud by the scholarly-sounding Catherine Carvell. Oftimes, we veer off-topic as we discuss issues of race, identity, self-discovery, high school experiences, Steven Seagal, and go back to Grandmother Spirit, Rowdy, and Junior-slash-Arnold. I also shared Maya Angelou’s words as I felt that it was a good fit for our conversation:

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.”

Quite an apt description for Junior/Arnold as well.


Next book: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead when we meet in January 2014.


For my GatheringReaders book club of 9-11 year olds, we’re reading Ender’s Game this December. I am nearly done with this book.


Read-a-Latte Challenge Update:  234, 235 (150)

*** Video ads other readers may find at the bottom of this post are NOT endorsed by GatheringBooks but are randomly included by WordPress to maintain their site. ***

19 comments on “[Monday Reading] A William Joyce Guardians of Childhood Special

  1. I cannot get over how gorgeous the illustrations are. Absolutely wonderful!

    Happy Thanksgiving 🙂 The Brunette Librarian’s Blog


  2. Some beautifully illustrated picture books there! Sounds like The True Diary of a Part Time Indian sparked some great conversation.

    Have a great reading week,
    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out


  3. Great looking books! I love beautiful books! I really enjoyed Part Time Indian when I read it for Banned Book week.


  4. Myra, I own WHEN YOU REACH ME (you’ll love it, I bet!) and the two books by William Joyce. The man is incredibly talented and imaginative! In fact, if you haven’t read it, you MUST read THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE. It is one of my all time favorites. I purchased that book the minute I read it! There is also an oscar-winning short film based on that book that EVERYone should see:

    Enjoy! 😀


    • Donna! Thank you so much for sharing this video clip. It’s so nice to revisit it once again. I showed this to my book club of young readers (GatheringReaders) and they simply loved it. William Joyce is a genius. 🙂 Can’t wait to read When You Reach Me. 🙂


      • Glad to bring it up again! There are so many talented people in this world and he’s certainly one of them. LOVE that you shared this with your young readers! 😀


  5. LOVE The Man in the Moon, so beautiful!
    I’ve had that Sherman Alexi book on my shelf for years and still haven’t got around to reading it – for shame! I hear it’s very good.
    I quite enjoyed Ender’s Game when I read it a few years back. I rather miss reading sci-fi.
    Hope you have a great week!


  6. The Man in the Moon looks absolutely gorgeous. Whenever I see illustratos this talented, I always wish I could draw, but alas, I’m about as bad as one can get at drawing.

    Take a look at what I’m reading this week.


  7. The MM story sounds/looks fascinating. All of your books look great. Have a great week!


  8. Tara Smith

    I need a Sanderson Mansnoozie in my life. Such beautiful books, Myra! Enders Game is a sixth grade favorite, I’ll have to read it some day…after I’ve read what you have to say.


  9. I’ve never heard of the Guardian books, Myra. They look fantastic. What an imagination he has. I hope you like When You Reach Me. I found it very satisfying as a sweet family story. Also, despite some complaints about Card, I’ve found that Ender’s Game really catches readers who have previously been reluctant. The series is amazing. I read it with my daughter long ago when the first 3 or 4 were newly out. Thanks for The Man In The Moon too. Love the moon books!


  10. The illustrations in your picture books are just stunning! You have many books in my TBR pile that I really need to dig out, with Sherman Alexie’s book being one of those. I grew up a short drive from where the story takes place!


  11. Thanks, I need to remember to order Man in the Moon… and The Sandman. Beautiful books.


  12. Didn’t they make a movie about the Guardians of Childhood? (Rise of the Guardians) I want to read the books! 😀


  13. William Joyce’s The Guardians of Childhood appealed to me when they first came out. I enjoyed the multi-format approach and his illustrations are always amazing.but with the actual stories, I found them too lack and somewhat lacking. Maybe I should give the later books another try, though.


  14. I would like to read more Fantasy. Always like it when someone describes what they are reading. In this instance, I like The Sandman. Always wanted to read the Pullman titles. I think one title is The Golden Compass. Have been looking at The True Autobiography of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I’ve read Ceremony by him. It was for a school reading. Would love to get back in touch with his books.
    Luv your quote. I want to remember it. I believe it’s true. We belong to no one place really seems absolutely honest to me.


  15. Pingback: [BHE 83] Library Finds for our Theme |

  16. Pingback: Helpful Little Elves and Mischief-Makers in Fantasy Books for Children – Gathering Books

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