“Books! How I love them!” - Jeanette Winter on the many gifts of reading


I learn about faraway countries far away from mine
by reading books and magazines and looking online
and listening to music from the faraway country.

Help came from an unexpected source
when I began Nasreen’s Secret School,
I came into possession of dolls that were made
by a group of women in Kabul, Afghanistan
earning their own money.

Nasreen bears no small resemblance to the dolls.


We are Big— a book is little…..
then the book opens a door to the whole world —
and we become little…
the book encompasses


I just finished writing and illustrating a book about the artist Sister Mary Corita.
She was a Hopeful artist and a person who looked for Goodness in the world.
She wrote on one of her prints:
“flowers grow out of the dark moments.”

Corita died in 1986.
We need her now.


I have been in my apartment for what seems like
a long time…… or……a short time…….
time no longer has that fixed meaning.
I work every day—
living in another world—
away from the uncertainty and fear.
Books surround me in my cave.


I haven’t read all the books on my shelves—
they are like my nest egg.
I want to know I always have unread books to read
that will take me to new places and ideas.

There were few books at home when I was a child—
but my 25 cent allowance bought many comic books.
How I loved them!

And when I started school,
the library opened MY world
to the OUTSIDE world
through books.
How I love them!


True stories about brave people inspire me.
Bravery comes in so many forms…
— standing up for what is right and good
— speaking truth to power
— creating something new to the world
— having the courage to be yourself
It’s important for children to learn about Bravery.

Many of the stories in my books come by way of the newspaper.
I learned about Iqbal and Malala and Biblioburro
from the New York Times,
and more recently Greta Thunberg. Our House is On Fire.


These texts are courtesy of Jeanette Winter for A UNIVERSE OF STORIES. STARRING: THE BOOK exhibition. Some of the illustrations were specially made by Jeanette to accompany her contribution to the exhibition.