10 Questions with Morris Pike, ‘Captain Book’ to Encinitas kids


Born in Texas and raised in Oregon, Morris Pike, Ph.D., earned his undergraduate degree at Cascade College, his master’s in education at the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in theatre at Kent State University.

He taught both grade school and high school in Cottage Grove, Ore., college at Cascade College in Portland, Ore., and Malone College in Canton, Ohio, and retired in 1998 as professor emeritus from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa.

In his retirement, he conceived the irascible and lovable pirate Captain Book, who appears at libraries, classrooms and hospitals, inspiring children to read. To date, he has given away more than 96,000 books to

children who would not otherwise have them.

A recipient of many service awards and honors, Pike’s hobbies include photography, woodworking, jewelry making and writing.

Now living in Encinitas, he has written, produced and directed scores of plays and a number of sketches and musicals during his teaching career, including: “The Eighth From Adam,” an allegory about Noah that includes the song, “Noah, You’re a Top of the Order, First Class, A Number One, Nut, Nut, Nut … Nut.” He has written three novels and several children’s stories for his grandchildren (see “Stories for Children and Up” at, and stories by M. Russell Pike on

What brought you to Encinitas?

Seventeen years ago I moved to Encinitas to marry and be with Nancy Ramsayer Pike. Though this wonderful lady has since passed, Encinitas has remained my home.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Encinitas?

I know that it is quixotic thinking, but I’d love to see more parking for those wanting to enjoy Encinitas’ beaches and improved flow of east/west and north/south traffic.

Who or what inspires you?

The faces of children. The Kiwanis Club of Greater Encinitas Treasure Chest Literacy Program puts free books into the hands and homes of children. My crew and I (as the reading pirate Captain Book) give an hour-long pirate show at schools, Head Starts, etc., and when I see the light of imagination, discovery and love in the eyes of those children, it brings me to my knees.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, who (living or deceased) would you invite?

I would invite Jesus (I have some questions I’d like to ask him), the Apostle Paul, Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Stephen Myers, T.S. Eliot, Millard Leslie (my high school music and drama teacher) and Anne Sullivan.

What are your favorite movies?

“Chinatown,” “Amadeus,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Once Upon a Time in the West.” As a theatre man, I would add “King Lear,” “Hamlet,” “The Miracle Worker,” “Man of La Mancha,” “The Glass Menagerie” and “Death of a Salesman.”

What is your most prized possession?

A 24-inch-tall figure of a court jester that is a physical reminder of the magic and joy I enjoyed in the 38 years of teaching theatre.

What do you do for fun?

Photography, writing stories for children and traveling.

What is it that you most dislike?

Computer viruses, red lights, traffic jams.

What would be your dream vacation?

To live a full year in London.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

To treat others as I wish to be treated; and almost every day, I remind myself that it is not about me, but about others.