The best Pixar books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Pixar and why they recommend each book.

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Becoming Steve Jobs

By Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli,

Book cover of Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader

This biography was almost written as a “response” to the Isaacson book. It better covers the NeXT and Pixar years. In fact, it makes the case that those years in Steve Jobs's life were critical for his later success after returning to Apple. This book should probably be read after the Isaacson book because it’s not as comprehensive as the Isaacson book and provides a different perspective.


Who am I?

I’m a programming book author, software developer, podcaster, and computer science professor at a teaching college. But I’ve also always been a devoted fan of Apple Inc. and deeply interested in its history. I’ve read more than two dozen books about Apple so you can just read the best ones. If five books are not enough for you, and you want to dig deeper into books about Apple and Steve Jobs, you can check out my blog post on my website.


I wrote...

Classic Computer Science Problems in Java

By David Kopec,

Book cover of Classic Computer Science Problems in Java

What is my book about?

Sharpen your coding skills by exploring established computer science problems! Classic Computer Science Problems in Java challenges you with time-tested scenarios and algorithms. You’ll work through a series of exercises based on computer science fundamentals that are designed to improve your software development abilities, improve your understanding of artificial intelligence, and even prepare you to ace an interview. As you work through examples in search, clustering, graphs, and more, you'll remember important things you've forgotten and discover classic solutions to your "new" problems!

Ramayana

By Sanjay Patel,

Book cover of Ramayana: Divine Loophole

As an animator, I first knew of Sanjay Patel through his work at Pixar before discovering his book, Ramayana, a virtual explosion of colour and sharply-edged design, exploring traditional tales from Hindu Mythology through anything but traditional means. Would I have read these tales without the artwork dragging me in? Probably not. But I’m so glad they did, opening my eyes to a whole new world of folklore I was unaware of.


Who am I?

At some point in our tweens, we learn that picture books are for children, and comic books are for nerds. I personally never heard it spoken aloud. It was more that thinly disguised looks of disapproval from adults delivered the message. As a graphic novelist, it sometimes feels like an uphill battle. I find pushing a reluctant ‘grown-up’ straight to graphic novels is perhaps a step too far. A start is an illustrated book. No speech bubbles. No comic book panels. Just illustrations supporting text, and text supporting illustrations. And sometimes, just sometimes, this opens the door to graphic novels.


I wrote...

The Junction

By Norm Konyu,

Book cover of The Junction

What is my book about?

When Lucas Jones turns up on his Uncle’s doorstep 12 years after disappearing, it should be a cause for celebration, but there are far too many unanswered questions. Where is his father who disappeared with him? Where is Kirby Junction, the town he claims to have lived in for 12 years, a town not on any map? And how can Lucas still be 11 years old?

Norm Konyu’s The Junction is probably my favourite graphic novel. Gorgeous in every way, it is hallucinatory, moving, and always mesmerising.” - Jordan Roberts, writer of Big Hero 6

Giants Beware!

By Jorge Aguirre, Rafael Rosado (illustrator),

Book cover of Giants Beware!

Jorge and Rafael have created a lovable trio of heroes with Claudette, Marie, and (personal favorite) Gaston. These three friends go on an adventure to fight a dangerous giant while their entire town tries to stop them. The kids encounter all manner of magical foes who are more than meets the eye, adding up to an adventure that’s as surprising as it is hilarious. 


Who am I?

I’m a stay-at-home working dad, and have handed my boys countless books to keep them entertained so I could get some work done. There’s something magical about giving your kid a book that sparks their love of reading. In my own experience, adventure books that made my boys laugh out loud would captivate my kids for hours…and keep them out of my hair.


I wrote...

Star Scouts

By Mike Lawrence,

Book cover of Star Scouts

What is my book about?

Avani is the new kid in town, and she’s not happy about it. Everyone in school thinks she’s weird, especially the girls in her Flower Scouts troop. Is it so weird to think scouting should be about fun and adventure, not about makeovers and boys, boys, boys?

But everything changes when Avani is “accidentally” abducted by a spunky alien named Mabel. Mabel is a scout too—a Star Scout. Collecting alien specimens (like Avani) goes with the territory, along with teleportation and jetpack racing. Avani might be weird, but in the Star Scouts she fits right in. If she can just survive Camp Andromeda, and keep her dad from discovering that she’s left planet Earth, she’s in for the adventure of a lifetime.

Dialogue

By Robert McKee,

Book cover of Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for Page, Stage, and Screen

This author is a renowned Master Teacher of storytelling art whose students have won numerous writing awards across the media spectrum. He covers dialogue writing for live theater, film, and television and offers suggestions on building effective dialogue writing skills, no matter the media, even showing how a dialogue line might change depending upon the writing category. He provides easy-to-follow examples of both good and bad dialogue writing in the various media categories.

Who am I?

Words have been part of my life since I was ten years old when my father suggested I read a page from the dictionary each school night. “Words have lives and histories,” he said, ”make them your friends.” In my teens, I saw individual words setting the tone for how someone felt, and I promised myself one day I'd write a book about words and how they were a window to one's inner self. Little did I realize that when I wrote that book, it would morph into one about dialogue writing and achieve international kudos. The book offers this simple truth: make sure each line of dialogue moves your story forward...


I wrote...

Shut Up! He Explained: A Writer's Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue

By William Noble,

Book cover of Shut Up! He Explained: A Writer's Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue

What is my book about?

Dialogue must contribute to the telling of the story said Victorian-era novelist Anthony Trollope more than one hundred years ago and his words have been a yardstick for writers ever since. A more recent novelist, Stephen King, wrote, “When dialogue is right, we know. When it’s wrong we also know—it jags on the ear like a badly tuned musical instrument.”

In Shut Up! He Explained, William Noble shows you how to write dialogue that sounds right and contributes.

Up

By RH Disney,

Book cover of Up

It sure takes a village to turn an award-winning Disney Pixar movie, Up into a Read-Aloud Storybook, and this cast of creative characters does it well! A terrific story about those significant changes in life and about not closing doors to the inevitable new adventures to come. Heart-warming and brilliantly crafted. See the movie! And do certainly read this lovely book version too.

Who am I?

I grew up living above our family funeral home. My parents were exceptionally compassionate people. I learned through their kind upbringing that heaven was and is, here and now. Death was not only an inevitable part of life but a daily part. As an adult, I became a Yoga Teacher. Yoga means union. It's an exploration into the intimate balance between body and mind. One particular yoga pose essential to every single class – Savasana or Corpse PoseA coincidence a young girl raised in a funeral home would end up teaching daily classes of corpse pose? I think not. And through it all bloomed Floretta. The story of life and death coming together into a magnificent circular experience. Bilingual yet parallel worlds amidst beautiful chakra colors.


I wrote...

Floretta

By Joan Budilovsky, Brooke Dahmen (illustrator),

Book cover of Floretta

What is my book about?

Floretta is the story of an old woman who discovers life beautifully anew thru the helping hand of a child. The chakra colors of dawn and twilight are woven through the pages by the brilliant illustrations of Brooke Dahmen. Written in English and Spanish, an MP3 comes with to easily learn the spoken translations. Josephine Budilovsky masterfully reads the Spanish translation alongside Joan’s Chicago English. Subtle harp music guides the page turns. A simple way to begin learning either language. The Academy Award-winning movie Coco inspired the publication of Floretta - a story written by Joan decades earlier.

Learn to Draw Your Favorite Disney/Pixar Characters

By Disney Storybook Artists,

Book cover of Learn to Draw Your Favorite Disney/Pixar Characters:  Featuring Favorite Characters from Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, and More!

I had the pleasure of going to Disneyland as a child and working at Disneyland for many years in high school and college. It was an honor to create artwork for Disney Castmembers (employees), such as t-shirt designs and a giant cartoon mural when there was an attendance record one summer day. Anything Disney/Pixar-related from the 1990s to the early 2000s is near and dear to my heart, such as the movies Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo. We took our children to see these movies when they were young, and I still watch them today. This book covers everything, from teaching Disney/Pixar fans how to draw Lightning McQueen from the movie Cars to Elastigirl from The Incredibles. The drawing exercising section is also a nice touch. Snap out of it, Buzz, and buy this book!

Who am I?

I've been cartooning, or "curtooning," my entire life. As a child, I drew cartoons of everything, from animals to dinosaurs, and was the cartoonist for my elementary school, junior high school, high school, and college newspapers. My cartooning style with big eyes and simple lines came from my favorite cartoonists and their cartoon strips that I read every day in the newspapers. However, my most significant influence was reading every cartoon in Mad Magazine, including comics from Don Martin, Sergio Aragonés, and Al Jaffee. When cable came out with multiple channels in the 1980s, I felt there was not enough kid-friendly content, so I created my award-winning cable show titled It's Curtoon Time.


I wrote...

How to Draw Cartoon Reptiles

By Curt Visca, Kelley Visca,

Book cover of How to Draw Cartoon Reptiles

What is my book about?

Cartoonists of all ages will learn easy-to-follow techniques on how to draw eight reptiles in six easy steps while learning fascinating facts about each creature. Each reptile cartoon (rattlesnake, cobra, python, chameleon, gecko, desert tortoise, sea turtle, and crocodile) is paired with interesting facts to entice artists into the creeping, slithering, and crawling world of reptiles. Terms for drawing cartoons, a glossary, and an index are included to build a cartoonist's vocabulary. These drawing terms include action lines, angles lines, wiggly lines, and zigzag lines. This hardbound book has been in school and public libraries throughout the United States for over 20 years.

Almost Super

By Marion Jensen,

Book cover of Almost Super

Rafter, Benny, and Juanita protagonate (yep, that’s a word) in a bizarre amalgamated world that could have been dreamed up by Stan Lee, the Andy Griffith Show writers, and Beverly Cleary. Dreamed up as a joke. Abandoned with a good comeraderific laugh (also a word). Then picked up, dusted off, and polished by Marion Jensen. But that’s not what happened. Jensen created the whole adventurous, hilarious, uplifting, good-buddy superhero story with his own solitary brain. My kids and I have laughed at his story many times.


Who am I?

The human body. The solar system. The science and math discoveries of ancient cultures. The power of taking care of neighbors and making everyone our neighbor. All amazing, all inspiring, so I write stories about them. Stories are what entertain us. Stories are what teach us. Stories can be misused to mislead us. Most importantly, the good stories, the right stories, can prompt us to grow. Expand. Empathize. Heal. I could use some of that. You too. Let’s read.


I wrote...

Space Boots

By Derick William Dalton,

Book cover of Space Boots

What is my book about?

Leo Jones wants nothing more than to become a surgeon, but a misplaced terrorist bomb destroys his chance. His plan B finds him cleaning a Navy starship, saving for school, and running out of patience. Hophnia Zimmerman wields her willpower with even more skill than her violin bow. As a new Navy officer, she's disappointed her first battle is not against an invader, but Leo's traitorous captain. She vows to bring him down, but agonizes over the collateral lives.

In the confusion, Leo creates more problems for Hophnia than a misplaced bomb did for him. As they struggle to save the ship and limp back to Earth, they find the battle isn't over. There are vindictive traitors who are not biding their time.

Creativity, Inc.

By Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace,

Book cover of Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Ed Catmull, together with his partner, George Lucas, completely changed the nature of animation with the founding of Pixar Animation Studios. This book outlines the philosophy and management practices that allowed Pixar to achieve unprecedented levels of success with its productions by shaking up traditional norms in the movie business. Sterling bits of advice include: It’s not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It’s the manager’s job to make it safe for others to take them; the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them; and a company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody.

Who am I?

When I first started in the field of strategy, all the cool kids were doing industry-level analysis. Order of entry, strategic groups, R&D intensity…anything you could get sufficient data about to run complex models was the order of the day. Those of us studying the ‘insides’ of corporations, particularly the process of innovation, were kind of huddled together for warmth! Today, strategy and innovation have come together in a remarkable way, but I find that most people still don’t understand the processes. One of my goals is to de-mystify the innovation process – these books will give you a great start in understanding the practices that are too bewildering for too many people.  


I wrote...

Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity

By Rita Gunther McGrath, Ian C. Macmillan,

Book cover of Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity

What is my book about?

It’s a secret hiding in plain sight! There is a predictable, repeatable path to creating growth in high uncertainty situations, but most leaders don’t know about it. This book unlocks the mystery for you.  

In Discovery-Driven Growth, we show how companies can plan and pursue an aggressive growth agenda with confidence. By carefully framing their strategic growth opportunities, testing each project assumption against a series of checkpoints, and creating a culture that acts on evidence and learning instead of blind stumbling, companies can better control their costs, minimize surprises, and know when to disengage from questionable projects—before it's too late.

Spirited Away

By Andrew Osmond,

Book cover of Spirited Away

This short book is a detailed study of just one great film, scholarly but without jargon. 

Along the way, he points out many details I had missed. He also demonstrates the connections of Spirited Away to Miyazawa Kenji’s Night of the Milky Way Railway, and other sources and inter-textual references. Very interesting and revealing.


Who am I?

Princess Mononoke blew my mind. And as I read about Miyazaki himself I thought: here is a kindred spirit. I thought I’d try teaching a course on Miyazaki, not sure if I could sustain a whole semester just about his work—and then I found, there’s way more than a semester’s worth to talk about. After teaching about Miyazaki for a few years, I had to write it all down. Some reviews of my book say my essays are personal, and it’s true, for better or worse—it isn’t about Studio Ghibli or the production process or even about Japan—it’s my reflections on these great films. 


I wrote...

The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

By Eric Reinders,

Book cover of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki

What is my book about?

In Miyazaki’s films, what is “the moral of the story?” What’s the message? What kind of people do we become, when we are watching a Miyazaki film? Why do fantastic stories matter in the real world? This book is a series of personal and philosophical reflections on the 10 major works, from Nausicäa to Wind Rises. Miyazaki’s films suggest how we can find meaning in our work; how to retain our creativity even when are tired of the job; and how we can hold true to our dreams when our dreams are compromised. The films lament the loss of the sacred in modern life but never give up hope. They address problems of growing into a new maturity while retaining the good things of childhood. 

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