Behind the Book

William Joyce has been working on The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore since 1999. The story began as a tribute to the late Bill Morris, the soft-spoken, dry-witted pioneer of library promotions. Then hurricane Katrina devastated Mr. Joyce’s home state and interrupted the progress on the book. The author saw firsthand the curative power of stories as he visited displaced children reading donated books in the shelters. And so Morris Lessmore evolved. Unable to paint for long periods of time because of eye surgeries, finishing the book took many paths—an Academy Award-winning short film, a groundbreaking story app, and now, at last, the book. It is the most personal story of Joyce’s career.