Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine


Japan's Media Do Buys Firebrand, NetGalley

Media Do International, the U.S. subsidiary of Media Do Ltd., in Tokyo, Japan, has bought Quality Solutions/Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley. Fran Toolan, founder and CEO of the companies, will remain as CEO for at least three years.

Toolan said, "Media Do has been NetGalley's partner in Japan since 2016, and we know each other quite well. Firebrand and NetGalley have never been stronger as companies, and I believe that becoming part of the Media Do Group ensures continuity for our customers and opportunities for our team for many years to come."

Daihei Shiohama, CEO of Media Do International, commented: "We are very pleased to bring Firebrand and NetGalley into the Media Do family. We have long respected the works of the Firebrand Group, and are very excited about the prospects of working closely with them in the future."

Quality Solutions/Firebrand Technologies was founded in 1987 and acquired NetGalley in 2008. Firebrand and NetGalley provide marketing and technology services for more than 500 publishers worldwide. NetGalley operates websites in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Japan.

Media Do Co., Ltd. is one of the largest e-book distribution companies in the world and has the single-largest share of Japan's $3.7 billion e-book market, it said. Media Do Group's mission is "to realize a sound creative cycle for copyrighted works by distributing them as widely as possible under fair use and maximizing profits to publishers/authors and rights owners."

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black

Red Stick Reads Finds Permanent Home

Red Stick Reads, a children's-focused independent bookstore that began as a pop-up shop in 2019, has found a permanent home in Baton Rouge, La., Reveille reported.

Owners Tere and James Hyfield have opened the shop in a 350-square-foot space in the Mid City neighborhood of Baton Rouge. While the store's emphasis is on diverse children's literature, it also carries fiction and nonfiction for adults across a wide variety of genres.

In the future, the Hyfields hope to turn the store into a community hub by creating an organic community garden and hosting a variety of events. And while the store is very small on the inside, there is a breezeway outside that has plenty of seating.

Red Stick Reads (a reference to the city's French name) made its debut in November 2019 as a pop-up at the Mid City Market, residing in a 10' by 10' tent. Its current location, which previously housed the office of an architecture firm, is located in the same shopping center as that market.

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Late Founders of Marcus Books Winners of PubWest's Rittenhouse Award

The 2021 Jack D. Rittenhouse Award, sponsored by PubWest and honoring "those who have made important contributions to the book community in the West," is being given posthumously to Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson, founders of Marcus Books, the nation's oldest Black-owned bookstore, in Oakland, Calif.

The presentation will be made tomorrow, Wednesday, February 3, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, during the annual PubWest conference, and will begin with a six-minute film about the Richardsons and Marcus Books by Oakland filmmaker Charlotte Buchen Khadra. Following the presentation, PubWest will lead a conversation with three Black booksellers about the challenges and opportunities of their profession. (For information about watching the free session, click here.)

"Julian and Raye Richardson paved the way as printers and booksellers and as community leaders who ran a successful small business," said Brad Lyons, chair of the PubWest Rittenhouse Award committee. "They set an example that helped us understand and appreciate the significance of Black bookstores."

PubWest noted that the Richardsons were "a husband-and-wife team who moved to San Francisco after completing their studies at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, where Julian majored in lithography and Raye in education. In 1960, they opened the Success Book Store in the Fillmore district.

"Readers looking for information and community soon found Success Books, a place to meet, organize, and share thoughts and strategies. The Richardsons later changed the name to Marcus Books, because they were followers of Marcus Garvey, and opened a second store in Oakland, which continues to serve their mission of 'providing opportunities for Black folks and their allies to celebrate and learn about Black people everywhere.' Dr. Julian Richardson died in 2000. Dr. Raye Richardson died in February 2020 at the age of 99."

How Bookstores Are Coping: Virtual 'Boon'; Mostly Back to Normal

In Decatur, Ga., Charis Books & More has been closed to browsing since March, reported co-owners Sara Luce Look and Angela Gabriel. The store, which is a mission-driven feminist bookstore, has remained busy with online and phone orders for shipping and porch pick-up. Look, Gabriel and their team also hold semi-regular porch pop-up sales, which have been hits.

All staff must wear masks while working in the store and must wash their hands regularly, and workstations are assigned. During the porch sales, the staff sets up hand sanitizer stations outside, and customers must wear masks and maintain social distance.

While Charis's sales were down in 2020 compared to 2019, they were comparable to 2018, and Look noted that 2019 was the store's 45th anniversary, which went a long way in making it the store's "best year ever." In addition to celebrating that milestone, the store also relocated and entered into a new partnership with Agnes Scott College, "so comparing these years is a bit like comparing apples to oranges." And in January 2021, the store was up over January 2020.

E.R. Anderson, executive director of Charis Circle, the store's nonprofit events wing, said that going completely virtual with events was "actually a really good thing." People tuned in from more than 65 countries as well as more than 1,000 cities and towns across the U.S. The virtual shift was a boon especially for those with disabilities, those who are unable to drive at night, or those who cannot pay for childcare in the evenings. Even if the pandemic somehow ended tomorrow, Anderson continued, Charis Circle will continue to provide a virtual component for all of its work.

Anderson added that during Trump's time in office, Charis saw a significant increase in sales and engagement tied to its programming, and attributed that increase to previously disengaged people becoming more politically aware. Anderson hopes that those same people will remain as engaged in the future as they did during the past four years.


Karen Piacentini, owner of Fenton's Open Book in Fenton, Mich., said the store has been open to browsing since June and things are mostly back to normal, with a few caveats. Face masks are required and people have been complying. Hand sanitizer is available at both doors and customers are asked to make use of it when they enter. 

The store's sales were up by 50% in 2020 over 2019. Piacentini noted that the store celebrated its 10th anniversary on Independence Day, and in the late summer and fall the city and Downtown Development Authority closed streets on Thursday and Friday nights, making them pedestrian only. The store stayed open until 9 p.m. on those nights and usually doubled its day time sales.

There were also city-wide events in October, November and December: Witches' Night Out, Ladies' Night Out and Jinglefest, respectively. Those events attracted fewer customers but sales were still great, and all of this happened with restaurants closed. The store also added Bookshop this year, and that has helped with getting the word about supporting the store and other independent businesses. Special orders were up throughout the year.

Shortly before Christmas, the Downtown Development Authority launched a gift card program in which customers would buy a set card amount that the DDA would match. Piacentini explained that it acts a bit like a credit card and around 40 businesses in Fenton participated. Those cards helped boost January sales by a huge amount, with the store up by 80% last month.

Piacentini said she hopes February is up as well, and "it should be with the restaurants opening up and customers wanting to support local bookstores." --Alex Mutter

Sourcebooks and ALA Collaborate on New Book Series

Sourcebooks and the American Library Association's book publishing imprint, ALA Editions/ALA Neal-Schuman, are collaborating on a new series that will promote easy and affordable access to a range of general interest library- and reading-related material. The collaboration aims to showcase ALA authors' and editors' expertise with an initial goal of publishing up to six co-branded titles a year for the trade market.

ALA and Sourcebooks will create new material together, starting with a series of one-year reading journals featuring titles recommended by editors from the association and its book review magazine, Booklist. The initial titles include 52 Award-Winning Titles Every Book Lover Should Read, 52 Diverse Titles Every Book Lover Should Read, and 52 YA Books Every Book Lover Should Read, scheduled to be published in December.

The first co-branded general-interest series title is  Build Great Teams: How to Harness, Create, and Be Part of a Powerful Team by ALA author Catherine Hakala-Ausperk, which will be published in March under the Simple Truths Ignite Reads program. 

Mary Mackay, ALA's associate executive director, publishing, said, "ALA publishes a lot of content of potential interest and importance to a wider readership than the librarian and teacher markets we typically reach. We also have ALA experts who can work with Sourcebooks editors to develop material specifically for that wider market, such as fun ways to use ALA award lists to inspire book discovery or helping kids explore the library. We couldn't be more thrilled about partnering with an independent publisher so genuinely driven by the belief that books change lives and that has long demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to libraries, schools, and readers of all ages."

Sourcebooks publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah added, "The American Library Association is the foremost national organization that provides resources to inspire library and information professionals, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them in publishing a wide range of books that will delight, engage, and inform readers of all ages. It's so exciting to be working with another Chicago-based institution on providing important content for readers around the world."

Obituary Note: Anne Irish

Anne Irish, former children's bookstore owner and executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children, died on January 26. She was 78.

Irish was a founder and owner of Pooh Corner Bookstore in Madison, Wis., which opened its doors in 1976 and sold children's books, toys and educational items. She had several business partners until selling Pooh Corner in 1994, when it became an Education Station location. She was also involved in the founding of the Association of Booksellers for Children in 1985 and was its executive director from 2001 to 2006. (ABC is now part of the American Booksellers Association.)

When she stepped down as head of ABC, Irish told Shelf Awareness, "I felt that I had taken ABC to a level where it was time for somebody with new blood to take it to the next level." Her accomplishments included, she said, making ABC "a recognized association" within the bookselling community; coordinating with the ABA and Children's Book Council on children's programming at BookExpo; making the auction and dinner at BookExpo "a really big event"; changing the catalogue's focus to frontlist; and introducing the E.B. White Readaloud Award.

In an obituary, her family remembered, in part: "As a quiet activist, Anne was a positive influence on so many people--from the women she worked with and for at the Foothill Free Clinic in Pasadena and the generations of children who learned the joys of reading at Pooh Corner on Madison's Monroe Street, to her many bookselling compatriots when she was director of the Association of Booksellers for Children and her softball and painting buddies who zoomed together during the Covid pandemic. While her husband, Chuck, is seen as a revered professor by hundreds of foreign students he helped bring to Madison for the study of law, it is Anne that they all looked up to more as their American mom. Anne raised her children, Rob Irish and Marney Hoefer, to have a profound respect for each individual, irrespective of sexual orientation, race, or economic circumstances. Anne's patience and creativity were an important reason for Marney and Rob's understanding and respect for the world around them. Chuck has lost his soulmate, his life coach, and the source of almost all of his happiest and most pleasant memories. Anne and Chuck have been looking forward to a post-Covid time when they could belly up to the bar to laugh with the bartender and the friends and strangers around them."

The family noted: "A celebration of Anne's life is being planned for the late summer/early fall of 2021. Gifts in remembrance of Anne may be sent to Middleton Outreach Ministry, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection and Planned Parenthood; or simply do something nice for somebody, preferably a stranger, and then smile thinking of Anne. Careful--it may be habit forming."


Vroman's Honored As Pasadena, Calif., 'Legacy Business'

Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif., is one of the two local businesses to be honored as part of the new Legacy Business Program instituted by the City of Pasadena, according to PasadenaNow.

Under the program, the city "honors businesses that have been in Pasadena for 50 years and contributed to the city in a unique way," PasadenaNow wrote. "Besides the formal recognition, the businesses will be recognized in the city's newsletter and on its social media platforms. The owners of the businesses will receive accommodations and a window decal identifying it as a legacy business."

"As the result of the pandemic, small businesses are more than ever challenged with economic challenges," Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo said. "This is an attempt to recognize some of these businesses."

Vroman's is 126 years old. The other business honored under the Legacy Business Program is Pashgian Brothers Fine Oriental Rugs, which was established in 1889. Similar legacy business programs have been founded in Long Beach and San Francisco, Calif., and in San Antonio, Tex.

B&N's First Rediscovered Classic: Love in the Time of Cholera

Barnes & Noble is launching a book recommendation program, the Rediscovered Classic, designed "to bring beloved classic titles back to the forefront of readers' minds," according to Jackie De Leo, v-p, bookstore, at B&N.

The program's first selection is Love in the Time of Cholera by Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez, first published in Spanish in 1985 and in English in the U.S. in 1988. De Leo said that the novel "follows the story of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza and their circuitous, half-century long path of love and heartbreak. It is a gorgeous book that explores all stages of love, and one that merits revisiting--or visiting for the first time."

Snowy Sidewalk Chalkboard: Off the Beaten Path Bookstore

Posted by Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, Lakewood, N.Y.: "When we were slow yesterday my six year old had the idea that we should write 'FREE BOOKS' on our sandwich board outside. Then a sign inside that said, 'Just Kidding'. We didn't do it. But now that it's a slow Saturday.... I'm considering it."

Personnel Changes at Dutton; Scholastic

Amanda Walker has been promoted to executive director of publicity of Dutton.


Sarah Sullivan has joined Scholastic as national accounts manager, Readerlink. She was previously senior account executive at Disney Publishing Worldwide, where she worked on such Disney properties and authors as Star Wars, National Geographic, Rick Riordan, and Mo Willems.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Russell Shorto on Fresh Air

Good Morning America: Cameran Eubanks Wimberly, author of One Day You'll Thank Me: Essays on Dating, Motherhood, and Everything in Between (Gallery Books, $28, 9781982150129).

CBS This Morning: Martha Teichner, author of When Harry Met Minnie: A True Story of Love and Friendship (Celadon Books, $26.99, 9781250212535).

Fresh Air: Russell Shorto, author of Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob (Norton, $26.95, 9780393245585).

Good Morning America: Rachel Ricketts, author of Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy (Atria, $27, 9781982151270).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Mark Harris, author of Mike Nichols: A Life (Penguin Press, $35, 9780399562242).

TV: The Lincoln Lawyer

Neve Campbell (House of CardsParty of Five) has been cast in a leading role for the Netflix series The Lincoln Lawyer, based on the novels by Michael Connelly. Variety reported that Campbell will play Maggie McPherson, Mickey Haller's (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) first ex-wife, "a passionately committed Deputy District Attorney known to colleagues as 'Maggie McFierce' for her unwavering dedication to her job."

The first season of The Lincoln Lawyer, adapted from The Brass Verdict, the second book in Connelly's series, will be co-written and executive produced by David E. Kelley with co-writer, executive producer and showrunner Ted Humphrey. Connelly will also executive produce along with Ross Fineman. A+E Studios is producing.

Books & Authors

Awards: Wingate Literary Shortlist

A shortlist has been released for the £4,000 (about $5,475) Wingate Literary Prize, which is run in association with JW3 and recognizes "the best book, fiction or nonfiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader." The winner will be named March 7 at an online event. This year's shortlisted titles are: 

House of Glass by Hadley Freeman
On Division by Goldie Goldbloom
The Slaughterman's Daughter by Yaniv Iczkovits
Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb
Apeirogon by Colum McCann
When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann
We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer

Christina Soontornvat: SIbert, YALSA and Newbery Honor Winner

Christina Soontornvat grew up in a small Texas town, where she spent many childhood days behind the counter of her parents' Thai restaurant with her nose in a book. Soontornvat has a BS in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in science education and spent a decade working in the science museum field. She now lives in Austin, Tex., with her husband and two children. Last week, she received four ALA and affiliated honors during the Youth Media Awards for her two 2020 middle-grade books, the nonfiction All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team (one of Shelf Awareness's Best Books of 2020) and the middle-grade fantasy A Wish in the Dark, both published by Candlewick Press.

All Thirteen had already received an NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor in November. And then last week, it received three more honors: the Sibert, the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Newbery. And your other 2020 middle-grade book, A Wish in the Dark, also received a Newbery Honor! So, uh, how you feeling? Are you worried no one is ever going to be able to see the cover of All Thirteen with all those stickers on it?  

I am still walking around like a stunned zombie. Will it ever sink in and feel real? I don't know--I'm not there yet! And oh my goodness, the stickers! Isn't it hilarious that deep down all of us grownups are actually just huge children? My first question for my publicist was to ask if they would be sending me my own sheet of silver stickers.

I have to ask: Did the Newbery committee call you just the once? Or did you get two calls?

They called me twice! You could have knocked me over with a feather. Dr. Jonda C. McNair, the Committee Chair, told me it was her idea to have them make two separate phone calls. And let me tell you, I will never forget either one.

All Thirteen is such an absorbing read--it's one of those incredible nonfiction titles that gives the reader so much information in totally accessible ways. You also did a ton of research for this book. Does it feel affirming to see it get so much love?

It is overwhelmingly wonderful.

The research was definitely more work than I have ever put into any other book. I felt such a big responsibility to faithfully tell the stories of the many people who worked so hard on the rescue. So, yes, it is incredibly rewarding to have that work recognized and to know that this means even more readers are going to learn about these incredible heroes.

Is there more you wish you could have added to the book? Any particularly interesting parts of the story you simply didn't have space for?

Well, there were so many more local people who selflessly volunteered their time--literally thousands of people--whose stories I wasn't able to include. And there were several photos that didn't make it into the final version because we were running out of space. Some photos I'm thinking of in particular show volunteers sprawled out on the ground asleep, or lying across empty scuba air canisters, anywhere they can find a spot in this crowded parking lot. Everyone had worked so incredibly hard and had gone without sleep for so long that as soon as they got one moment to rest, they passed out wherever they could!

Will you do more nonfiction in the future?

I do love writing nonfiction and I have more nonfiction picture books coming out in the next two years: To Change a Planet, illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell, and A Life of Service: The Story of Tammy Duckworth, illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. Both of these books are also personally very meaningful to me, which I think is so important when you are writing nonfiction. I think that if you want others to feel moved and inspired by your subject matter, you have to feel that in your own heart first.

A Wish in the Dark, a fantasy loosely based on Les Misérables, is totally different from All Thirteen. How does it feel to have such different works honored with the same award?

When Dr. McNair was telling me about my second Honor, I just kept thinking how two books about Thailand were being recognized in the same year, and how momentous that was. Two very different books, too! Growing up, I never read books that showed me or my heritage. It is amazing to know that Thai readers will see themselves and all readers will be able to see us more fully. It's incredible.

There is a moment at the end of A Wish in the Dark--on the bridge--when I got chills and then started crying. Do you think Wish has something special to add to the children's literature discourse at this moment in time?

Ah, that makes me so happy to hear! That experience of being so immersed in a story that you have a visceral, emotional reaction--that is my favorite part of being a reader and it is what I strive to create as a writer. With A Wish in the Dark, I wanted readers to come away asking questions: What do we want our society to be like? Who gets to decide what's right and wrong? What is our role in all of it, and how can we shine a light for others? I wanted readers to go through that emotional journey with Pong and Nok because I think when you get to that place of being surprised and feeling vulnerable, that is when you are open to seeing things in entirely new ways. That's when the good stuff happens. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Book Review

Review: Thirsty Mermaids

Thirsty Mermaids by Kat Leyh (Gallery 13, $29.99 hardcover, 256p., 9781982133573, February 9, 2021)

Lumberjanes co-author Kat Leyh maroons three mermaids on land with messy, hilarious results in her graphic novel Thirsty Mermaids.

Eez, Tooth and Pearl just want to drink some human liquor they found in a sunken ship, but that proves difficult under the sea, so they decide on a whim to let Eez turn them all into humans temporarily. After stumbling around like a day-drunk Little Mermaid, they steal some clothes and a credit card and achieve their goal at an aptly named bar--the Thirsty Mermaid.

The next morning brings a whole new meaning to dehydration as the friends discover the horrors of hangovers and realize that Eez doesn't know how to turn them back into mermaids. Luckily, they're rescued by their bartender from the previous night, Vivi. Though baffled by their inability to act like normal humans, she takes them in. It's not until her sister reminds Vivi of her tendency to let people walk all over her that Vivi tells the three mermaids they need to earn their keep, a mandate that sets off a new series of misadventures.

The graphic novel is broken roughly into five parts, with headings like "The Hangover" and "Y'all Need Jobs," but it's one smooth narrative, even if the characters wreak near-constant havoc. Early on, they decide that Tooth and Pearl will look for jobs while Eez spends her time trying to find the right magic. Buff Tooth is always ready for a brawl, and Pearl just wants to have fun, but sea-witch Eez becomes increasingly despondent the longer she's kept from the sea.

Leyh balances fart jokes with satire about human constructs like money and modesty. Not completely separate from the world of humans--they've got human trash and magazines--Pearl, Tooth and Eez are nevertheless naïve and find human life to be unnecessarily complicated. Take Pearl's advice at the beginning of the story, for example:

"Now, once we get on land, just remember--if anyone gets suspicious or says anything, say--I AM NOT FROM AROUND HERE--And they'll leave you alone."

Thirsty Mermaids is full of profanity, bawdy jokes and commentary on capitalism, but it's also a very queer story about the power of acceptance and finding family, however that may happen. A diverse LGBTQ+ cast, a distinctive art style and a bighearted message make this book a standout. --Suzanne Krohn, editor, Love in Panels

Shelf Talker: Kat Leyh's hilarious graphic novel Thirsty Mermaids follows three mermaids stuck on land after their quest for booze goes awry.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Invitation by Vi Keeland
2. Nantucket Threads (Nantucket Beach Plum Cove Book 6) by Pamela M. Kelley
3. Escape With Me by Kristen Proby
4. The Stud Next Door by Kendall Ryan
5. The Lifestyle Investor by Justin Donald
6. Dead Silent by Various
7. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
8. The Sunset Cottages by Nicole Ellis
9. The Segonian by Dianne Duvall
10. Truly Beloved (True Gentlemen Book 11) by Grace Burrowes

[Many thanks to!]

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