pencils, disney christmas card, poppins in every way

From All of Us to All of You—23 Must-Have Books

By D23 Team

Did you enjoy reading our online series The Life and Times of Walt Disney—Across 23 Must-Have Disney Books? Each book excerpt was just a small portion of all the gifts galore within each title. If you want the whole package, unwrap the books below!

We’ve ranked each one, to help you pair the right gift with the special Disney fans in your life (and don’t forget about yourself!).

Excerpt No. 1—A Kiss Goodnight
By Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman and Illustrated by Disney Legend Floyd Norman

a kiss goodnight


Disney Legend Richard Sherman and Disney Legend Floyd Norman bring you a touching story about what inspired legendary songwriter Richard Sherman to write the song “A Kiss Goodnight” and tells how a young Walt Disney was enchanted by fireworks, keeping his promise to send all his guests home with a special “kiss goodnight.”

Excerpt No. 2—Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland: An Illustrated Journey Through Time
By Mark Salisbury and with a Foreword by Disney Legend Kathryn Beaumont, as told to Mindy Johnson, and an Introduction by James Bobin

alice in wonderland


Nearly 60 years after Lewis Carroll’s literary masterpiece Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published, a new filmmaker named Walt Disney created a silent film about a little girl named Alice and her adventures in Cartoonland. That led Disney down a rabbit hole to form the company that would go on to become synonymous with fairy tales and would bring to life further versions of the Alice story, such as the beloved 1951 animated film, the more-recent live-action versions, and several iconic Disney Park experiences. Delve behind-the-scenes of these whimsical worlds.

Excerpt No. 3—Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons, Revised Special Edition
By David A. Bossert and with Contributions by David Gerstein, a Foreword by Bob Iger, and an Introduction by J.B. Kaufman

oswald the lucky rabbit


David A. Bossert’s revised edition updates Oswald’s story, plus includes images from a newly discovered Oswald film, a foreword by Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, and six collectible lithographs. Readers will find this engaging and accessible volume delivers an in-depth look at Walt’s first major animated success and the journey to reclaim the lost Disney films.

Excerpt No. 4—The Walt Disney Studios: A Lot to Remember
By Rebecca Cline and Steven B. Clark

the walt disney studios


Prepare for an insider tour like no other! Abundantly illustrated with behind-the-scenes photographs and artwork from the Studio’s 90-plus years of productions, the deluxe history book celebrates Walt’s dream factory, which has always been and continues to be the heart of The Walt Disney Company.

Excerpt No. 5—Walt Disney Animation Studios—The Archive Series: Walt Disney’s Nine More Old Men—The Flipbooks
By Pete Docter and the staff of the Walt Disney Animation Research Library and with Illustrations by Disney Legend Ub Iwerks; Disney Legend Norman Ferguson; Disney Legend Hamilton Luske; Disney Legend Art Babbitt; Grim Natwick; Disney Legend Vladimir (Bill) Tytla; John Sibley; Hal King; and Disney Legend Fred Moore

nine old men


Oscar®-winning filmmaker Pete Docter worked closely with the Animation Research Library at Walt Disney Animation Studios to piece together a breathtaking collection of nine flipbooks from Disney’s early animators. Each features an iconic scene from an animated Disney short or feature in its original line-drawn form, having been selected from among a wide range of films for great movement and classic characters. A booklet by Docter detailing the incredible talents of these animators describes their enduring appeal, precise timing, and focused staging.

Excerpt No. 6—Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation
By Mindy Johnson and with a Foreword by June Foray

ink & paint


Meet the pioneering women who brought hand-rendered animated stories to vibrant, multicolored life at Disney. Extensively researched by film historian Mindy Johnson, this book features a multitude of newly discovered materials and never-before-seen images, redefining the collective history of animation.

Excerpt No. 7—Before Ever After: The Lost Lectures of Walt Disney’s Animation Studio
By Don Hahn and Tracey Miller-Zarneke

before ever after


Discover the rare and previously unpublished lecture notes, photographs, and drawings which reflect the culture of learning that Walt Disney curated to raise the level of his artists in preparation for their first feature: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Walt hand-picked instructors from the renowned Chouinard Art Institute, screened films for study, and brought in talent that ranged from architect Frank Lloyd Wright to choreographer George Balanchine to humorist Alexander Woollcott to teach and inspire his team.

Excerpt No. 8—Pencils, Pens & Brushes: A Great Girls’ Guide to Disney Animation
By Mindy Johnson and Illustrated by Lorelay Bové

pencils, pens, and brushes


Based on Mindy Johnson’s critically acclaimed Disney Editions title, Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation and brilliantly illustrated by animator Lorelay Bové, this middle-grade book is a fun and inspiring look at many of the amazing women who have worked at Disney Animation over the years.

Excerpt No. 9—The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation
By Disney Legends Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston and with Contributions by Disney Legend Hamilton Luske; V Disney Legend ladimir (Bill) Tytla; Disney Legend Fred Moore; Fred Spencer; Disney Legend Norman Ferguson; and Disney Legend Art Babbitt

the illusions of life


The most complete book on the subject ever written, this is the fascinating inside story by two long-term Disney animators of the gradual perfecting of a relatively young and particularly American art from, which no other movie studio has ever been able to equal. The authors, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, worked not only with the legendary Walt Disney himself but also with other leading figures in the half-century of Disney films. Not to be mistaken for just a “how-to-do-it,” this voluminously illustrated volume (like the classic Disney films themselves) is definitely intended for everyone to enjoy.

Excerpt No. 10—Travels with Walt Disney: A Photographic Voyage Around the World
By Jeff Kurtti

travels with walt disney


Jeff Kurtti assembles seldom-seen and never-before-published photographs, along with eyewitness recollections and enlightening anecdotes, and arranges them into a one-of-a-kind “travel journal,” as if Walt Disney himself might have documented these exciting excursions in one special place.

Excerpt No. 11—The Art and Making of Dumbo
By Leah Gallo and with a Foreword by Tim Burton



Author and longtime Tim Burton collaborator Leah Gallo, after first setting the stage with a thoughtful history on Disney’s 1941 animated classic, shares a detailed account of how Burton and his talented team reimagined Dumbo into a magical new film.

Excerpt No. 12—From All of Us to All of You: The Disney Christmas Card
By Jeff Kurtti

the disney christmas card


Early in the history of The Walt Disney Studios, annual Christmas-themed greeting cards were created, their designs and illustrations by such legendary Disney artists as Tom Wood, Hank Porter, Bob Moore, Mary Blair, John Hench, and Paul Wenzel. Gift-wrapped and sparkling in the spirit of the season, Jeff Kurtti’s one-of-a-kind collection of familiar, festive, fun, and feeling holiday art shines a light on a remarkable body of work and the people who created it.

Excerpt No. 13—Walt Disney: An American Original
By Bob Thomas

walt disney


After years of research, Bob Thomas—biographer of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and many other Hollywood legends—produced a definitive biography of the man behind the legend of Disney: the unschooled cartoonist from Kansas City who went bankrupt on his first movie venture and developed into the genius who produced unmatched works of animation, and ultimately was the creative spirit of an international entertainment empire that has enchanted generations.

Excerpt No. 14—Poster Art of the Disney Parks
By Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt and with an Introduction by Disney Legend Tony Baxter

poster art of disney parks


If you’re as obsessed with Disney Parks as we are, you’ll love this lush compendium of posters from Disney theme parks around the globe, featuring concept art and lively narratives about the development of the stunning posters! Disney Imagineers Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt give Disney fans an amazing inside look at the beautiful poster art we’ve come to know and love.

Excerpt No. 15—Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food
By Marcy Carriker Smothers with a Foreword by John Lasseter and an Afterword by Tom Fitzgereld

eat like walt


Embark on a culinary tour of Disneyland’s six distinct lands. Every attraction has a story, and so do many of the menu items. With food serving as the lens, Walt’s private and work life are explored and detailed in this book, which also includes recipes from his home, his studio, and his Magic Kingdom. 

Excerpt No. 16—Yesterday’s Tomorrow: Disney’s Magical Mid-Century
By Don Hahn 

yesterday's tomorrow


Packed with rarely seen Disney art and photography of the mid-20th century, this book by acclaimed film producer and director Don Hahn explores the unique modern style that Walt Disney and his artists contributed to this iconic era.

Excerpt No. 17—The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Classic
By Jason Surrell and with Forewords by Disney Legend Marty Sklar and Tom Fitzgerald

the haunted mansion


Shiver as you explore early concept sketches, detailed architectural drawings, and stunning still photography that illustrates the Mansion’s evolution as it was designed and built at each Magic Kingdom park around the world—including Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Excerpt No. 18—Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks
By Pete Docter and Christopher Merritt and with a Preface by Disney Legend Bob Gurr, a Foreword by Bob Weis, and Illustrations by Disney Legend Marc Davis

marc davis in his own words


Authors Pete Docter and Christopher Merritt have created a treasure trove for artists, students, and Disney collectors. Featuring Disney Legend Marc Davis’ groundbreaking work designing Walt Disney’s theme parks, this magnificent two-volume set includes more than 1,500 rare pieces from the Imagineering archives. Also, for the first time, Marc’s design theories and stories of working with Walt are featured in his own words as recorded during hours of interviews by Merritt.

Excerpt No. 19—Practically Poppins in Every Way: A Magical Carpetbag of Countless Wonders
By Jeff Kurtti and with a Foreword by Thomas Schumacher, an Introduction by Rob Marshall, and Contributions by Craig D. Barton; Brian Sibley; Paula Sigman Lowery; Jim Fanning; Cameron Mackintosh; Fox Carney; Gavin Lee; John Myhre; Marc Shaiman; and Greg Ehrbar

practically poppins in every where


With enlightening observations and vivid visuals, renowned Disney historian Jeff Kurtti showcases the creative forces behind bringing Mary Poppins to life on page, screen, and stage, generation after generation. It is accompanied by informative text, essays, and observations by creative luminaries.

Excerpt No. 20—The Art and Flair of Mary Blair: An Appreciation
By John Canemaker and Illustrations by Disney Legend Mary Blair

the art and flair of mary blair


For more than a dozen years, a soft spoken, unassuming woman dominated design at The Walt Disney Studios with a joyful creativity and exuberant color palette that stamped the look of many classic Disney animated features. Favorite theme park attractions, most notably the it’s a small world boat ride, were also among her designs. Now the story behind one of Walt’s favorite artists is celebrated in this delightful volume of whimsical art and insightful commentary. As a bonus for the whole family, also get the kids’ picture book version of Mary’s story, by Amy Novesky and illustrated by Brittney Lee, here.

Excerpt No. 21—Walt Disney’s Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks
By Disney Legend Don Iwerks and with a Foreword by Leonard Maltin

the genius of ub iwerks


Gorgeous never-before-published photographs and fascinating personal memories celebrate the half-a-century career of Ub Iwerks, a self-taught animator, innovator, and all-around technical genius who directly collaborated with Walt Disney to create some of the most loved moments throughout film and theme parks.

Excerpt No. 22—Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms
By Disney Legend Marty Sklar and with Introductions by Ray Bradbury and Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman

dream it do it


Disney Legend Marty Sklar’s first memoir is an enlightening tale of Marty’s epic Disney journey. His talents propelled him forward into substantial responsibility, and he became Walt’s literary right-hand man. Over the next 40 years, Marty rose to become president and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, devoted to creating, enhancing, and expanding Walt’s magical kingdoms.

Excerpt No. 23—Travels with Figment: On the Road in Search of Disney Dreams
By Disney Legend Marty Sklar and with a Preface by Bob Weis

travels with figment


Disney Legend Marty Sklar’s final book is a collection of captivating and untold tales from his storied career. In his 54 years at Disney, Marty travelled the globe—creating Disney magic, committing his adventures to memory, and bringing them together in this fresh volume.

If you missed on our weekly sneak peaks, you can catch up on your reading here!