Lit Tats

I was waiting in line to pee during Hard French at El Rio today when I spotted a familiar face on the bicep of the man standing front of me.

"It was my favorite book as a kid," the tatted man explained, referring to his literature-inspired ink. "My parents read Where the Wild Things Are to me every night before I went to sleep. They got sick of it pretty quickly, but I just couldn't get enough."

The effects of orthodontia aside, I've never been able to commit to any sort of permanent body alteration, and while a rad tattoo depicting Max, the King of the Wild Things, isn't likely to change that, the tattoo of the man in the pee line at El Rio did raise my curiosity about the existence of other inky expressions of the young-adult lit persuasion, so I googled "literary tattoos" and compiled a top-five list of my faves.

Have joy.

Five Rad Tats Inspired by Books of My Youth

5. The Giving Tree
The words "Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy." begin Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, the classic childhood tale about a relationship between a young boy and a tree. They're also the subject of this unique calf-job.


4. Where the Wild Things Are
Another tat based on Maurice Sendak's Caldecott Medal winning book, the scene on the back of the woman above depicts Max and the Wild Things swinging from tree limbs during the wild rumpus.


3. To Kill a Mockingbird
"Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts," Scout recalled after her brother Jem had erroneously informed her that the Egyptians were the inventors of toilet paper. Although there are many excellent tattoos inspired by the novel that won Harper Lee the Pulitzer Prize, this simple shin number is my favorite.


2. The Giver
Upon receiving his instructions after the Ceremony of Twelve in Lois Lowry's The Giver, Jonas was shocked to find that the eighth and final instruction on his list read "You may lie." Alone the tattoo seems a bit mischievous, but in the context of the book, the words hold a deeper meaning about questioning the world around us.


1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
"It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities," Professor Dumbledore told Harry Potter in the pages of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The quote, altered (there's no 'Harry') for the tattoo below, serves as a reminder of the power of choice and is, admittedly, pretty friggin' rad and revealing.

Although I opted not to include any tattoos inspired by the Twilight series in my list above, let me just say that they're out there.