Books That Inspire 2012

The Twenty-One Balloons
William Pene duBois

Krakatoa before it exploded; exotic jungles and Eden-like society; diamonds the size of oranges; a balloon-propelled merry-go-round of 21 sailboats (fly luxuriously, land in the sea, race the boats back with sails fashioned from the balloons); Krakatau exploding: The Twenty-One Balloons expanded my 10-year-old world. I loved its line drawings (now I love Hirshfeld and The New Yorker). I've happily given this book to a number of children. As newlyweds, my wife and I read The Twenty-One Balloons aloud to each other. It brought back much for me-and we both delight at how it enriched our new life.

David Nagle
Associate Professor of Microbiology
Botany and Microbiology