SMU alum shares his Oscar-winning short film and children’s books

William Joyce, alumnus and children’s book author, signed books and screened his Oscar-winning movie at SMU.

Author William Joyce at Sidney Lanier Elementary School in Dallas Texas

By Nancy Churnin
Family Entertainment
The Dallas Morning News

William Joyce is known for doing big things, such as winning an Oscar and Emmys and writing and illustrating funny and tender picture books that flutter gracefully to the top of best-seller lists.

Author William Joyce at Sidney Lanier Elementary School in Dallas Texas
William Joyce at Sidney Lanier Elementary School earlier this week.

But it’s the small things he loves best — family, friends and staying close to places where people supported him when he was uncertain what the future would hold for a young man with wild and wonderful stories and art spinning around in his head.

That’s why this Southern Methodist University graduate is heading to his alma mater to screen his Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which won the Oscar last year for best animated short, and to sign copies of his book that inspired the film. The free event, aimed at kids, includes milk and cookies and a chance to meet the author.

“If you’re lucky, you get a couple of teachers that sort of get you and say you might really succeed, and that happened at SMU. There was a really nice group of teachers that put up with all my shenanigans and encouraged this crazy bunch of enthusiasms that I was hell-bent on merging,” says Joyce, who will also be signing his latest books, including The Mischievians, a story that, at long last, unmasks the creatures that are the true cause of missing socks, homework and TV remotes.

“I had so much fun at SMU it took me five years to get out.”

The Fantastic Flying Books is “deeply personal” to Joyce, as all his works are, he says by phone from Shreveport, La., where he was born and raised and continues to live with his family.

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