Also published on this date: Wednesday, September 30, 2020: Maximum Shelf: Of Women and Salt

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 30, 2020

William Morrow & Company: Polostan: Volume One of Bomb Light by Neal Stephenson

Shadow Mountain: The Legend of the Last Library by Frank L Cole

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Elements of Marie Curie: How the Glow of Radium Lit a Path for Women in Science by Dava Sobel

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly


Ferguson Books & More Opening Third Location

Pioneer Place, Ferguson Books & More's new location.

Ferguson Books & More, which already has locations in Bismarck and Grand Forks, N.Dak., will open a new location in West Fargo later this year, the West Fargo Pioneer reported. The general-interest store wil carry new bestsellers along with a wide range of used titles, as well as a toy section and other nonbook items.

The West Fargo store will reside in a 1,200-square-foot space located on the ground floor of a recently constructed development. Construction is expected to be complete by November, and Ferguson Books & More will share the building's first floor with several other businesses, including a coffee shop.

Earlier this month Ferguson Books & More received an enterprise grant from the West Fargo City Commission totaling $41,000. That amounts to roughly half of the $83,000 invested into opening the new location. 

"The Fargo-Moorhead market has been on our radar for quite some time," founder Dane Ferguson told the Pioneer, "and we landed on West Fargo because we wanted to provide a book experience for families and a community that is on the grow."

Running Press Kids: Your Magical Life: A Young Witch's Guide to Becoming Happy, Confident, and Powerful by Amanda Lovelace

Booker Prize Winner Announcement Delayed... Because Obama

The announcement of this year's Booker Prize winner will be postponed two days, until November 19, to avoid clashing with the publication date of Barack Obama's memoir A Promised Land, the Bookseller reported.

Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, said, "We thought it unfortunate that two of the most exciting literary events of the year--the announcement of the winner of the 2020 Booker Prize and the publication of Barack Obama's memoirs--were due to fall on the same day, so we've decided to give readers a couple of days' breathing space. Our unprecedented ceremony without walls, devised in collaboration with the BBC, will take place across multiple platforms on November 19 instead. Details about how to watch and take part will be announced shortly."

The Booker's date change "could also fuel new criticism that the prize... has become too Americanized and increasingly focused on the U.S. book market," the New York Times reported, noting that American authors have dominated the Booker nominees in recent years, following a 2014 rule change that made any novel written in English and published in the U.K. eligible.

To complicate matters further, this year's Booker Prize announcement, traditionally held in October, will occur directly after the National Book Awards, scheduled to take place November 18 in an online ceremony.

"With them coming as close as they are to us, of course we're concerned, we're worried for our authors," said Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation. "It's difficult to have a prize like the Booker, which didn't need to participate in the American landscape in the years before their change, but now you have American books dominating the Booker list. They are now having to function on some level alongside our prizes."

While both awards usually spark a sales bump for the winning authors, "the proximity of the prizes could result in less press coverage and fewer sales, in a year when debut and lesser-known authors are struggling for attention," the Times wrote, adding that it "could cause significant logistical hurdles as well. Severe shortages at the printing presses, which are under financial strain, have made it even more difficult than usual for publishers to meet spikes in demand for particular titles. Prizes almost always drive sales, and often for titles that were not obvious commercial hits, so publishers and booksellers could be left short-handed."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile

BISG, BIC, BookNet Canada Form International Green Book Supply Chain Alliance

The main book supply chain organizations in the U.S., U.K., and Canada have formed an International Green Book Supply Chain Alliance that will focus on information sharing, joint planning, environmental events, and other initiatives that aim to eliminate waste in the book supply chain and reduce its impact on the environment. The organizations are the Book Industry Study Group in the U.S., Book Industry Communication in the U.K., and BookNet Canada.

The International Green Book Supply Chain Alliance will work with members and national book communities in the three countries as well as with other international bodies that may be interested in contributing.

BISG executive director Brian O'Leary said, "We're interested in bringing together companies and people with diverse perspectives on the issues and opportunities in front of us. Amplifying the good work of others is a core strategy for BISG and this alliance."

BIC executive director Karina Urquhart emphasized that the alliance would work on internationally appropriate elements of greening the global supply chain that could be shared and adopted in a range of countries. "There will always be elements of local initiatives, and market-specific concerns that may not be appropriate for wider consideration or adoption," she said. "We'll shine a light on them, but the differences in our markets will be embraced and acknowledged."

BookNet Canada CEO Noah Genner added, "The book supply chain is the reason our respective organizations were formed. Addressing the environmental impact of that supply chain builds on both our interest and expertise."

Among areas for collaboration, the Alliance said, are:

  • Collecting and sharing best practice information
  • Publishing environmental news of relevance to the book industry
  • Conducting environmental research
  • Offering a central resource for environmental information and ideas
  • Hosting global green book supply chain events
  • Developing an annual Green Global Book Supply Chain award
  • Testing the idea of a Global Green Book Supply Chain accreditation
  • Developing a united green program of work

How Bookstores Are Coping: Diverse Authors Book Fair; Store Expansion

Peter Makin, owner of Brilliant Books in Traverse City, Mich., reported that his store's doors are open, but with some limitations. Hours have been greatly shortened, and the store is open only by appointment on Wednesdays. Makin and his team are strict about mask wearing, requiring all customers over two years old to wear them, and to sanitize their hands before entering the store. There is a lot of signage around the store reminding everyone to be safe and keep their distance, but that has been a bit of a challenge as "everyone's suffering a bit of sign fatigue right now."

Brilliant Books is trying to reduce the risk to the store's booksellers as much as possible. They are encouraging curbside pickup and keeping the doors propped open whenever possible to aid with air flow. Staff members regularly ask customers to leave if they're lingering too long without shopping, as browsing capacity is limited, and on the weekends the store is open for pickup only. Makin noted that during the week, customers are on a mission--they know what they want and they get it without much fuss. On the weekends, however, they want to browse and bring their families and friends and occupy the space in large groups.

There have been a number of instances of shoppers refusing to wear masks or follow social-distancing guidelines, and Makin said some customers "have been quite cruel." He and his team have been accused of being paranoid, of trying to strangle children and of harassing customers. It got so bad, in fact, that he had to post a plea to the store's website asking customers to be respectful, understanding and kind.

In-store sales have been down dramatically this summer, though Makin said that wasn't "particularly surprising" given the limited hours and capacity. Normally the store sees spikes in online sales around the holidays, or tied to specific events or special items, but throughout the pandemic, e-mail marketing and online sales have been remarkably successful and consistent. That, too, hasn't exactly been a surprise, given the store's "fantastic and supportive customers," but it's "certainly been a relief."

Looking ahead to the holidays, Brilliant Books has expanded its selection of sidelines. Makin explained that the store has seen increased demand for sidelines lately, and these will also serve as a "bit of a buffer" if high-demand titles sell out or there are delays in restocking.

Last week, Brilliant Books partnered with Traverse City Area Public Schools to create a virtual book fair for elementary through high school students focused on diverse authors and books with BIPOC characters. The virtual book fair grew out of a petition a former TCAPS student created, encouraging more diversity and inclusion in the TCAPS curriculum. For every purchase made through the book fair, 25% of the proceeds goes back to TCAPS libraries in the form of credits for librarians to use to diversify their collections.

Despite the fair running for just a little over a week, Makin said it has already been a "fantastic success," with hundreds already raised for the district and many customers looking forward to supporting the book fair through their holiday shopping.


In Brookline, Mass., Brookline Booksmith has been expanding into an adjacent storefront that used to house a Verizon store. Co-owner Lisa Gozashti reported that they are using the additional square footage to grow the store's gifts and children's sections, as well as add a kitchen. By the end of October, she continued, the kitchen should be up and running to serve socially distanced food and drink for takeout and indoor dining. 

The increased space has also helped Gozashti and the Brookline Booksmith team make the store more spacious and allow for social distancing. They've "opened everything up" and rearranged many tables and displays. The staff is also discouraging customers from trying on jewelry or glasses and testing out pens. They've also tried to improve the store's website and make the online shopping experience simpler and more satisfying, with the goal of capturing "the magic and feel of the physical store as much as possible." Gozashti noted that they are continuing to offer curbside pick-up for customers who don't feel comfortable browsing.

While summer sales were "definitely diminished," Gozashti said, Brookline's loyal customers "came through." There were fewer customers overall, but they spent more per transaction, and they were "steadfast" in buying books and gift cards. Since the first day of the pandemic, she added, customers have been "patient, kind, generous and appreciative of our efforts."

Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, Gozashti said the store's "readiness and holiday spirit" will be visible in early October. They are getting an early start partly because they don't know what the future holds or if there will be another shutdown, but also because they want to offer customers some "early joy and light."

After protests spread around the country in response to the murder of George Floyd, the Brookline Booksmith team had "important conversations about how we, as a store, could show our support and make change." Over the ensuing weeks, Gozashti and her colleagues set up prominent window displays supporting social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, doubled the size of the store's Black Studies section, ensured that Black voices are represented across all store categories, and launched a diversity task force. --Alex Mutter

Patterson Partnership Grant Teachers Named

James Patterson and Scholastic Book Clubs revealed the names of 5,000 teachers across the U.S. who have won Patterson Partnership grants to help build classroom and at-home libraries for students. Each teacher receives $500 in cash and 500 Scholastic Book Clubs Bonus Points. The sixth annual installment of the Patterson Partnership comes at a time of great uncertainty about how classes will be conducted this school year given the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Whether students are learning virtually at home or in the classroom, the importance of keeping them reading cannot be underscored enough," Patterson said. "Reading teaches kids empathy, gives them an escape when they most need it, helps them grapple with harsh realities, and perhaps most importantly, will remind them that they are not alone--even if they’re unable to see their teachers, classmates and friends in-person. Over the past six months, reading has certainly helped me cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and I can only hope it will do the same for kids and teachers everywhere."

The 2020 partnership drew more than 100,000 applicants, showing the dire need for books and classroom resources. Patterson has now donated $11 million to school and classroom libraries through his Scholastic Book Clubs campaign.

Judy Newman, president and reader-in-chief of Scholastic Book Clubs, commented: "Every child deserves the chance to lose themselves in a good book, and now more than ever, students are in need of a rich selection of stories they can choose from and explore, that will make them laugh, offer them an escape, and help them make sense of the world and of themselves. Nobody recognizes the importance of great teachers and great books more than James Patterson, and thanks to his tremendous generosity, 5,000 teachers now have the funds to build libraries both in the classroom and at home for their students, and countless kids now have the opportunity to discover the books that will make them fall in love of reading."

Perlmutter Named Register of Copyrights, Director of Copyright Office

Shira Perlmutter

Shira Perlmutter has been named register of copyrights and director of the U.S. Copyright Office, effective late October. Since 2012, she has been chief policy officer and director for international affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Earlier she the v-p for global legal policy at the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in London, v-p and associate general counsel, intellectual property policy, for Time Warner, associate register for policy and international affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office and at two law firms, where she specialized in copyright and trademark law.

Maria Strong, who has served as acting register since January, will return to her position as associate register of copyrights for policy and international affairs.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said that Perlmutter "brings to this role a deep knowledge of domestic and international copyright and international copyright law and policy and a background in negotiating international intellectual property agreements. She has experience working with a wide range of stakeholders and finding common ground on complex issues."

Perlmutter said she is "honored to have the opportunity to lead the U.S. Copyright Office during its 150th year. I look forward to working with Dr. Hayden and rejoining the dedicated staff of the Copyright Office on its mission of promoting the creation and dissemination of works of authorship to the benefit of the American public."


#BannedBooksWeek Update: 'Step Across the Caution Tape'

Banned Books Week is being celebrated through October 3, with the theme "Censorship Is a Dead End." On social media, independent booksellers are highlighting their efforts to bring attention to the cause. We highlighted several indies in Monday's issue, and showcase more here:

The Twig Book Shop, San Antonio, Tex.: "History: Bannings & Burnings Books. Some of the most controversial books in history are now regarded as classics. The Bible and works by Shakespeare are among those that have been banned over the past 2,000 years.

A Likely Story Bookstore, Sykesville, Md.: "Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. Every day we will give you a few banned books that our staff has read and recommend. We will also tell you why the book was banned.... **We do not in any way support the banning of books. We hope you see some of the ridiculous and sad reasons some people wish to ban books**."

Octavia Books, New Orleans, La.: "Step across the caution tape at Octavia Books to affirm the freedom to read and  make a selection for Banned Books Week (9/27/20 -10/3/20). 'Censorship is a Dead End' is the theme this year."

Fables Books, Goshen, Ind.: "Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read with Banned Books Week."

The BookMark, Neptune Beach, Fla.: "Every year for one week at the end of September, we celebrate 'Banned Books Week.' Actually, what we're celebrating is our freedom to read whatever we choose. It's something important to appreciate every day. Stop by and see all the books that have been banned or that someone has attempted to ban. You'll be surprised by the titles and the number of them that you've read."

City Books, Pittsburgh, Pa.: "Today is DAY 3 of Banned Books Week. Your task of the day: Show your support for intellectual freedom by creating something unrestricted based on a banned book--a SM post, a T-shirt, sidewalk art, a meal. Use your imagination because IT'S a FREE COUNTRY."

Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, Mo.: "Surveys reflect that 82%-97% of book challenges remain unreported."

The Book Haus, New Braunfels, Tex.: "At The Book Haus we love Banned Books! Come celebrate #bannedbooksweek2020 with us."

The Book Loft, Solvang, Calif.: "It's Banned Books Week! Just a reminder that banning something doesn’t make it go away, it only makes it harder to get."

Video: Newark's Source of Knowledge Bookstore Is 'Going Strong'

Patrice McKinney and Masani Barnwell-George, co-owners of Source of Knowledge bookstore, Newark, N.J., were featured on NBC New York segment called "Going Strong," about small businesses surviving the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We couldn't be here without this community," Barnwell-George said. "They are the ones helping us stay in business. There are not many Black-owned businesses in this area, to lose one would be to lose a lot."

IPG Adds Six Publishers

Independent Publishers Group has added six publishers to its IPG Midpoint and IPG Small Press divisions:

Fidelis Publishing, the publisher of Christian and conservative books. Digital and print books, effective September 1.

Context Productions, which publishes books for kids and is known for its Our Discovering Heroes series that aims to increase awareness to the events surrounding 9/11 and everyday heroes. Effective August 1.

taotime verlag, which publishes German translations of books that promote a mindful attitude to life, focusing on new translations of ancient Chinese texts with original modern calligraphy, such as Qingjing-Jing and DaoDeJing (Tao te Ching), children's books by Don Freeman (author of Corduroy), and other books for children and adults associated with contemporary thoughts and ideas on mindful living. Effective August 1.

Kirkton, publisher of Breaking the Vicious Cycle and owner of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. With IPG Small Press, effective August 17.

Night Heron Media, which provides creative outlets for writers, artists and historians to touch other lives. With IPG Small Press, effective June 24.

BiblioKid, which produces books that inspire and entertain children and their families, and is deeply rooted in supporting American enterprise. With IPG Small Press, effective May 15.

Personnel Changes at Putnam

In publicity and marketing at Putnam:

Nishtha Patel has been promoted to marketing coordinator. She was previously a marketing assistant.

Nicole Biton has been promoted to associate publicist. She was previously a publicity assistant.

Sydney Cohen has been promoted to associate publicist. She was previously a publicity assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Andrew Weissmann on Colbert's Late Show

Today: Duff Goldman, author of Super Good Baking for Kids (HarperCollins, $21.99, 9780062349811).

The View: Tanya Acker, author of Make Your Case: Finding Your Win in Civil Court (Diversion, $17.99, 9781635767018).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Andrew Weissmann, author of Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation (Random House, $30, 9780593138571).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Miranda July, author of Miranda July (Prestel, $50, 9783791385211).

TV: Uglies

Joey King (The Kissing Booth) will star in and exec produce Netflix's adaptation of Scott Westerfeld's bestselling dystopian fantasy novel Uglies, Deadline reported. Directed by McG (The Babysitter, Rim of the World), the project will be written by Krista Vernoff, who is showrunner and executive producer of ABC's long-running hit series Grey's Anatomy, its spinoff Station 19, and a new show, Rebel.

Producers are John Davis and Jordan Davis for Davis Entertainment Company, along with Robyn Mesinger for Anonymous Content, Dan Spilo for Industry Entertainment and McG and Mary Viola for their Wonderland banner.

Books & Authors

National Book Foundation: '5 Under 35'

The National Book Foundation has announced the 2020 "5 Under 35" honorees, recognizing "fiction writers under the age of 35 whose debut work promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape." They were each selected by a National Book Award winner, finalist, longlisted author, or by a writer previously recognized by the 5 Under 35 program.

"Since its inception in 2006, 5 Under 35 has highlighted exciting new voices with the goal of championing young authors at the start of their careers," said NBF board chairman David Steinberger. "As we bring these authors into the fold, we are proud of this program's continued tradition of uplifting unique and unforgettable debut work and introducing new readers to the next generation of ground-breaking authors."

NBF executive director Lisa Lucas commented: "We are so thankful for our expert selectors who read with enthusiasm and skilled discernment. 5 Under 35 continues to showcase outstanding craft and storytelling, and we are thrilled to welcome these five remarkable authors to the National Book Foundation family. We couldn't be more honored to witness their limitless potential."

The 2020 honorees, who each receive $1,000 and will be celebrated digitally on October 20, in partnership with the Miami Book Fair, are:

K-Ming Chang, author of Bestiary (One World), selected by Justin Torres, 2012 5 Under 35 honoree
Naima Coster, author of Halsey Street (Little A), selected by Tayari Jones, 2018 National Book Award longlist for fiction
Raven Leilani, author of Luster (FSG), selected by Susan Choi, 2019 National Book Award winner for fiction
Fatima Farheen Mirza, author of A Place for Us (SJP for Hogarth/PRH), selected by Tommy Orange, 2018 National Book Award longlist for fiction
C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold (Riverhead Books), selected by Marlon James, 2019 National Book Award finalist for fiction

Reading with... S.A. Hunt

photo: Kate Pierce

S.A. Hunt is the author of the Malus Domestica horror-action series from Tor Books, beginning with Burn the Dark and I Come with Knives; the third book, The Hellion, was just released. Hunt is an Afghanistan veteran, a coffee enthusiast, a fervent bicyclist and she lives in Petoskey, Mich.

On your nightstand now:

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton. A stylish and wry take on the zombie apocalypse, by way of The Jungle Book. This was an impulse read after seeing my friend Kate enjoy it so much, and I did as well.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I had this very elderly double edition of Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. You finished reading one story, you flipped it over and started reading the other story from the back. I actually had two books like these; the other book was The Jungle Book and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. At the time, they were the only books I owned, and I read them cover to cover a hundred times.

Your top five authors:

Stephen King: The master.

Joe Hill: The apprentice. With the Sith, there are always two.

Chuck Wendig: One of my favorite people and writer-friends. A profoundly good guy.

Christopher Ruz: My favorite indie author. A monumental talent.

David Wong: If Wong's books were a food, it would be something you'd catch me sneakily eating out of the fridge in the middle of the night.

Book you've faked reading:

This is a tough one. I can't think of any off the top of my head; I'm not usually in the habit of telling people I've done something if I haven't, and I don't tell other people they should do something if I'm not willing to do it myself.

However, I've been asked to review an army of indie novels, and I have to admit that some of them were unfinishable, and I gave the authors feedback anyway, based on what I'd read. But I don't generally have a policy of leaving a public review on a book I didn't finish, simply because (a) I don't believe in reviewing a book I haven't read, and (b) I'm a believer in "praise in public, punish in private," and I don't want to publicly drag any decent people that'd come to me with their book in good faith.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Ian Baker's The Heart of the World: A Tibetan Journey. It was my personal bible for a while. I read it multiple times, something I never do with any other book besides perhaps my own. It's about a National Geographic explorer that goes rogue looking for Shangri-La in the Himalayas while on the run from the Chinese army.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds. The original high-contrast stylized art just really grabbed ahold of me.

Book you hid from your parents:

My mom never actively forbade me from reading any kind of novels. But when I was a kid, I bought an issue of Cracked magazine that had an article graphically tallying up all of Jason Voorhees's kills from Friday the 13th, and my mom went through the magazine and meticulously redacted every reference to sex or violence, then gave it back to me.

Book that changed your life:

Stephen King's On Writing. It taught me a hell of a lot. As the inestimable Alan Jackson sang:

I learned how to swim and I learned who I was
A lot about livin' and a little 'bout love

Favorite line from a book:

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." --Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Five books you'll never part with:

Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook. Don't leave home without it.

My The Adventure Zone graphic novels. You're going to be amazing. Best podcast, hands down.

My signed copy of Josh Malerman's Unbury Carol--Josh is just the coolest dude. I met him once a couple of years ago when he brought his Unbury Carol stage show tour to Petoskey.

My signed copy of Chuck Wendig's Wanderers. Just. Yeah. A gargantuan book by a gargantuan man. Absolutely stellar and a prized possession.

The original self-published edition of my Tor series, Malus Domestica. Ahh, memories.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Stephen King's Dark Tower series. The greatest literary journey I've ever undertaken in my life, and the inspiration for my own gunslinger fantasy series.

(And if you have any questions you'd like to ask me, consider this an invitation to hit me up on Twitter at @authorsahunt or on Facebook! I love talking to fans and potential fans alike!)

Book Review

Children's Review: The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $18.99 hardcover, 48p., ages 4-8, 9780316440318, November 3, 2020)

Jerry Pinkney (The Lion and the Mouse; The Tortoise and the Hare; The Grasshopper and the Ants) has mastered the art of the picture book rethink, and he comes through again in The Little Mermaid. Somewhere between Hans Christian Andersen's roiling turmoil and Disney's spick-and-span pageantry, Pinkney has found the sweet spot under the sea, where one of folklore's most famous deals with the devil is struck in the name of not love but friendship.

Pinkney's Melody, the youngest of the Sea King's four daughters, would rather explore sunken ships than sing in a mermaid choir with her sisters. In one wreck she finds a figurine that "looked a bit like her, but for two cloth sticks where its tail should be"; it fuels her sense of wonder about "the world beyond her home." Melody's sisters pooh-pooh her curiosity and remind her that their father forbids them to stray: he fears that the Sea Witch, who has been cast out of the kingdom, will seek revenge on his family.

The king entrusts an old sea turtle to be Melody's minder, and when it surfaces for a gulp of air, Melody tags along. She's beguiled by what she sees, especially a figure on the beach with "two sticklike legs, just like the doll she'd found!" Melody's singing elicits a genial wave from the girl and an admonishment from the sea turtle. After Melody reluctantly returns to her father's kingdom, a sea snake cajoles her: "So sad, isn't it?... Here you are, stuck undersea... but the Sea Witch can help."

Pinkney's The Little Mermaid is a princeless endeavor; it's the prospect of friendship that inspires Melody to trade her lovely voice for a pair of legs, and it's her friend who later gives her much-needed perspective ("You should have never given up your voice... for anything"). While Melody's decision to return to her father’s kingdom to save her family costs her her freedom to walk the land, she will live in the sea under new terms: her sisters and father "listened eagerly as she told them about the world of people, sand, trees, and things that fly. The Sea King knew that he could not contain the adventurous spirit of his littlest mermaid."

As he did in Little Red Riding Hood, Pinkney, working in pencil and watercolor, has given a fairy tale's traditionally white cast brown skin, and the rich umber hues round out his jewel-toned underwater color scheme and sun-kissed seaside palette. Readers are lucky: unlike Melody, they needn't choose between the two shimmery, color-drenched worlds. --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author

Shelf Talker: Jerry Pinkney gives the iconic Hans Christian Andersen story a glorious makeover in which friendship, not romantic love, spurs the mermaid's sacrifice.

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