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Monday, April 19, 2021

Mississippi Embraces William Joyce


“Morris Lessmore” finds a home in Children’s Museum

Shreveport’s Academy Award-winning filmmaker, writer and illustrator William Joyce’s popular short film, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” is the inspiration for a permanent library exhibition in the newly opened Mississippi Children’s Museum in Meridian, Miss.

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is a book written by Joyce and transformed into a short film directed by Joyce that won 2012’s Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It is a story about the transformative power of books, emphasizing connecting readers and books. In today’s world of traditional books, eBooks and apps, “Morris Lessmore” is a testament that the power of the story will save the day, and the Meridian Mississippi Children’s Museum is telling that story again and again though its new permanent exhibit.

For anyone who has seen the “Morris Lessmore” short film and dreamed of curling up in that whimsical library with Shakespeare, “Humpty Dumpty” and the music of “Pop Goes the Weasel,” the Mississippi Children’s Museum-Meridian is a short drive from Shreveport and a great family destination for a long weekend getaway. The library exhibition is a life-sized re-creation of Mr. Lessmore’s library with cozy places to read under flying books, models that Moonbot Studios created for the actual short film animation production, a continuouslyrunning video of the short film itself, and an interview of Joyce talking about the writing of the story and the production of the film.

“The Children’s Museum - Meridian is a beautiful and ambitious addition to the cultural landscape of Mississippi,” says Joyce. “I’m proud that they chose to model the library section of the museum after Morris’ library. It’s a stunning tribute to the book and film, and I hope it’ll fire up the imaginations of kids for years and years and years.”

Mississippi Children’s Museum – Meridian (MCM-Meridian) is Jackson, Miss., Children’s Museum’s first satellite museum. The Jackson location opened in December 2010 and has welcomed over 1.4 million visitors. One of MCM’s strategic goals is to embrace more children from Mississippi and surrounding states with high-quality educational experiences. MCM- Meridian opened its doors on March 27 to spark creativity, imagination, discovery and learning for all children who visit.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 per person (children under one year are free). To learn more about MCM – Meridian, visit www.mcmmeridian.org.

William Joyce began his film career on “Toy Story” and has since been a producer, screenwriter and production designer on both animation and live-action. In 2009, he founded Moonbot Studios, a multimedia storytelling company producing books, apps, films and video games. Moonbot created a number of animated shorts, mobile apps, commercials and other projects, earning numerous Emmy, Annie, Cannes and Clio awards. The studio won an Academy Award for its 2012 animated short, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” and also earned accolades for its 2013 animated short film and mobile game, “The Scarecrow,” for Chipotle Mexican Grill. Joyce has written and illustrated 50 bestselling children’s books and novels, which have been translated into over 40 languages. His feature films, all based on his books, include “Epic,” “Rise of the Guardians,” “Robots” and “Meet the Robinsons.” His television series include the groundbreaking “Rolie Polie Olie,” for which he was creator and showrunner. Bill was named by Newsweek magazine as “One of the 100 People to Watch in the New Millennium.”

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