Author Lindsay Lackey’s All the Impossible Things is a beautiful, tender story of family—both the ones we’re born into, and the ones we find—along with a touch of magic, some heartache, and a dancing donkey. We asked Ms. Lackey to write about her love of books for The B&N Kids’ Blog, and she shared some amazing stories (and photos!) about her adventures in dressing up like some of her favorite literary characters.
Books have always been a huge part of my identity and have shaped my understanding of the world. When I was a toddler, long before I could read on my own, I had every word of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree perfectly memorized—page turns and all! The Babysitters Club inspired me to start my own clubs (most notably, TGC, or “The Garden Club”) with my friends and Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy turned me into the nosiest kid on the block.
My love for books was immersive. I could spend hours alone with books—and, as an only child, I often did. Now that I’m older, my love of books is maybe even more immersive than it was when I was a kid. Luckily for me, it’s perfectly acceptable for an author to obsess over books. Also luckily for me, the world of cosplay has become mainstream, and nerdiness is now celebrated!
I’ve loved dressing in costume for as long as I’ve loved books. Over the years, a theme has emerged in my costume preferences: literary. No surprise there, really. Here are some of my favorite literary costumes over the years. (And yes, most of these have occurred in the last two years. I’m not even sorry.)
2000: The Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow
Here’s a washed-out picture of me with my best friend in high school. We got to pick our own costumes for a themed theater club night, and of course we went with The Wizard of Oz. It was perfect for me: it was theater and books in one! I even stuffed my sleeves and pant legs with straw. It was itchy, but worth it.
2014: Olivia’s Olivia the Pig
Who says picture books are just for kids?! For my birthday in 2014, I hosted a literary costume party. Everyone came dressed as a book or character or author. I chose the character Olivia from Ian Falconer’s picture books. I still own the red dress and am currently brainstorming another literary cos-play use for it. (I’m looking at you, Handmaid’s Tale…)
2017: Mary Poppins from Mary Poppins
This is one of my all-time favorites. I adore Mary Poppins—both the onscreen, singing, jolly version, and the rather cranky book version. I put so much detail into this costume. The carpet bag was loaded with items specifically listed in the book—including hair pins, a pair of boots, medicine and a spoon, and a nightdress.
2017: The Great Gatsby’s Daisy
I, too, am a sucker for the fun that can be had in a good Great Gatsby getup. My husband and I went to a real speakeasy in San Francisco in 2017. It’s at a top-secret location, and you even have to enter through a broom cupboard. We of course dressed to the nines for the occasion, and I channeled my inner Daisy Buchanan for this outfit. I even researched historically accurate 1920’s makeup and stuck as closely to the “real” thing as I could.
2018: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter
Drawing inspiration from both the book and the recent movie franchise, I personally feel I knocked it out of the park with my portrayal of the Mad Hatter for Halloween 2018. I’m so proud of this costume! It took me about a month to put together, and I was conscientious of every detail—from hat pins to the thread bandolier to the ribbons I used as shoelaces, every detail was meant to evoke this classic character. I even carried around my own teacup and saucer and used quotes from the book throughout the night. Why is a raven like a writing desk…?
I raise a toast to all my fellow book-lovers and shamelessly literary cosplayers out there!
Lindsay Lackey’s debut middle grade novel, All the Impossible Things, is on B&N bookshelves now.