There’s a benevolent force in children’s media named William Joyce, and his creative haven is Shreveport. By any measure, 2012 has been a banner year for him.
The prolific author and illustrator has more than 50 children’s books to his credit. Some parents will connect him with the Emmy Award–winning television show Rolie Polie Olie, based on his book of the same name. He has worked on animated film projects since the 1990s. But his ship came in at the 2012 Academy Awards, at which Joyce and his comrades at Moonbot Studios accepted an Oscar in the category of Short Animated Film in front of 40 million viewers.
“The community of Shreveport has been integral to my success,” Joyce says. “Being outside of the so-called capitals of creativity, New York and L.A., allows for a sort of freedom working outside of the constraints of the status quo and the mainstream.”
Now, bookstores and theaters nationwide are both showcasing his latest creations. His ongoing Guardians of Childhood series of children’s books includes The Sandman, sequel to The Man in the Moon, as well as Book 3 of The Guardians chapter books for young adults, Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. And the series’ legendary heroes appear in the DreamWorks film The Rise of the Guardians, on which Joyce served as an executive producer.
As the holidays approach, Joyce’s Guardians of Childhood are everywhere. And that’s a good thing, as they aim to protect the dreams of children.
“I’ve been working on a unified mythology for the icons of childhood since my daughter [Mary Katherine] asked me if Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy knew each other,” he says. “As a parent, I felt that Santa Claus, the Man in the Moon, all of them had become a little diminished. They deserve to be thought of as grand. Heroic. Epic.”