Peter Sís

Works of enchantment, from the bookshelf of the artist and author.



The children's books of  Peter Sís uniquely balance whimsy and profundity, darkness and radiant light. The internationally acclaimed Czech artist has written and illustrated more than twenty books, including Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei and the haunting work of graphic memoir The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. His first book for adults is a moving adaptation of the twelfth-century Sufi epic poem The Conference of the Birds. When we asked him to recommend three favorites, Sís responded with a trio of choices that range from a classic of modern travel writing to a work of fictional play by a master of the form.


Books by Peter Sís



To a Mountain in Tibet

By Colin Thubron


"This account of a pilgrimage to Mount Kailas, the center of the universe for Buddhists and Hindus, is a spiritual and meditative diary of a difficult trek. It's a masterful book, using beautiful language, full of memories and observations that make you feel you are with the author."




The Baron in the Trees

By Italo Calvino


"A delightful make-believe tale, which you believe as soon as you dive into it. Everything is part of a puzzle, and what a smart puzzle of imagination and magic it is. Initially, you think it's impossible that the young Baron will stay up in the trees forever. But you soon become a believer in Calvino, Baron, dreams, and fantasy, and you find yourself jumping from tree to tree with great delight."



The World Doesn't End

By Charles Simic


"There are so many beautiful collections of poetry and poets, but for some reason, Charlie Simic is very close to my heart. His memories, his experiences, his observations are mine. In his blend of the surreal and the startlingly real, I see through his eyes and feel through his heart. I can see the colors of the different situations. Could this be an intersection of our lives, where we meet for a wonderful moment? Or do we walk the same path in life? This collection is very enjoyable and at times quite sad."

July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).