Shelf Awareness for Friday, June 25, 2021

Union Square Kids: Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston

Tor Teen: Into the Light by Mark Oshiro

Peachtree Teen: Junkyard Dogs by Katherine Higgs-Coulthard

Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz and Rob Schwartz

Neal Porter Books: All the Beating Hearts by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Cátia Chien


Alice, Ever After Books Opening Next Month in Buffalo, N.Y.

Megan Howe in front of the future Alice, Ever After Books.

A new children's bookstore called Alice, Ever After Books will open on July 3 in Buffalo, N.Y., Buffalo Rising reported.

Located across the street from the Buffalo Zoo, Alice, Ever After Books will feature a selection of children's literature along with toys, gifts and a small number of adult books. While store owner Megan Howe's main goal is to provide "high quality literature for kids," she also wants the bookstore to become a gathering place for children and families. Her event plans include things like classes and storytime sessions.

"I spent the beginning of my career in elementary and special education," Howe told Buffalo Rising. "I understand the importance of creating an accessible space for children to explore. But I'm also a mom. So you can expect Alice, Ever After Books to be a meeting place for the community as well."

Howe will host a grand opening celebration on July 3, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an afternoon filled with special activities.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline

Pretty Good Books Moves to Downtown LaGrange, Ga.

New and used bookstore Pretty Good Books reopened last Friday in its new, larger location in downtown LaGrange, Ga., LaGrange News reported

The bookstore moved from its old home on Vernon St. to a new location at 118 Church St. that was once a Presbyterian Church. Owner Joshua Rigsby said the first full weekend went well, and about three-quarters of the store's visitors were new customers who never shopped at the old location.

The Church St. location is about three times the size of the old Vernon St. spot and split across two floors. Rigsby has used the additional space to create a children's area on the second floor and a "grand salon" with plenty of seating near the store's entrance. He is expanding the store's inventory, and the new location gives him plenty of room to host book clubs, author readings and other community events.

Built in 1844, the building is considered the oldest non-residential building in LaGrange. Over the years it saw use as a church, a Civil War hospital, a public library, a funeral home and more. Rigsby added that the building's history serves as a nice draw for customers.

GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

ALA Annual: Nikole Hannah-Jones's 1619 Project

The second day of the 2021 ALA Annual virtual conference featured an opening general session with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an investigative reporter who was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for "The 1619 Project," the New York Times Magazine's "groundbreaking exploration of the legacy of Black Americans starting with the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in 1619." Since its initial publication, the project has become a podcast, been added to curriculums and will soon be two books--one adult, one children's--both coming on November 16 from Random House: The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story and The 1619 Project: Born on the Water. Hannah-Jones spoke with Chris Jackson, publisher and editor-in-chief of One World, the imprint that will publish A New Origin Story (Born on the Water is being published by Kokila).

ALA president Julius C. Jefferson opened the session with general association news, including the 100th anniversary of the Newbery Medal (the 100th award was given out during the 2021 Midwinter conference). Since the now-virtual 2021 annual conference was supposed to be held in Chicago, P.J. Maracle, associate librarian at Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis and enrolled member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte located in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, gave a Land Acknowledgment to the Ancestral Home of the Three Fires (which includes, among others, the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi). Cindy Hohl, president of the American Indian Library Association, then introduced Hannah-Jones and Jackson.

Hannah-Jones said the project's began when she was in high school and took a one-semester Black Studies elective. "It was the first time I ever got any type of extensive instruction on Black Americans.... opening that door just a little bit made me realize there was so much we hadn't been taught--and that was intentional." As an adult journalist, Hannah-Jones wanted to discuss how democracy, capitalism and our political system all have surprising connections to slavery: "Every piece would start with something in our society right now and expose its roots." The work, Jackson pointed out, is "about America... not Black America." Hannah-Jones agreed: "There's American history and then there's Black history. But you wouldn't have American history without Black Americans."

Jackson asked Hannah-Jones how she chose the subjects to cover in the magazine. She said she worked with a group of journalists and editors--including Jake Silverstein, Ilena Silverman, Caitlin Roper, Jamelle Bouie and Wesley Morris--with the knowledge that three main topics had to be in the piece: democracy, capitalism and music. Democracy and capitalism because they are the "two pillars of American society and identity" and both "were built through slavery"; music because "Black music is American music--they are synonymous." The conceit, Hannah-Jones said, was a "commemoration of the 400th anniversary of slavery." They wanted "to show that very little has been untouched by [slavery]."

Hannah-Jones emphasized, as she has in many other interviews, that "this is not a history, this is journalism.... My essay is memoiristic. I'm making an argument. I'm not creating a work of history. I'm using history to create a work of journalism." This "monumental endeavor" exists, she said, because Americans "haven't grappled with [slavery] and people haven't wanted to grapple with [slavery]." She set out to produce "something powerful." But Hannah-Jones admits, she "didn't know how people would respond to it, frankly." She has been "shocked by what this project means to people"

And so, when Jackson asked Hannah-Jones why she wanted to expand it into a book, she said it was for "two reasons: we ran out of copies.... This was a way to ensure broader reach, broader access." But, larger than that, "there were so many other stories that we wanted to tell that just wouldn't fit [in the magazine] and there were some holes." This story is important, Hannah-Jones pointed out, because "our role [Black people] has been to make this country live up to its ideals.... We are central to almost everything in this country and we deserve recognition for the role we have played." She reminded viewers, "The biggest resistance of all [was] staying here instead of leaving this country after slavery." --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam

Keynoters Set for Children's Institute

The American Booksellers Association has announced speakers at the keynote session for this year's Children's Institute, to be held virtually August 30-September 1. They include Hanif Abdurraqib, poet, essayist and cultural critic; Tiffany D. Jackson, Walter Dean Myers Honor Book and Coretta Scott King John Steptoe New Talent Award winner; and Jason Reynolds, author and current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Tami Charles, author and former member of an all-girl R&B trio, will moderate.

During the keynote session, the authors will share how musicians and music have inspired their work and lives, and how music can be a gateway for young readers to gravitate toward books and enacting change. Among issues they will discuss: Where would the best authors of our time be without the music that inspired them? Where would young people be if their lives, belief systems, and experiences weren't reflected by the mirror of pop culture, particularly books and music?

For more information about Ci9 and to register, click here.

Weiser Books: Mexican Sorcery: A Practical Guide to Brujeria de Rancho by Laura Davila

International Update: ABA Conference 'an Outstanding Success', LBF Panel on Brexit

The Australian Booksellers Association's 97th annual conference "was an outstanding success and whilst we weren't able to get together in person, we were able to bring a lot of content to a lot of booksellers," ABA CEO Robbie Egan noted in the organization's newsletter, adding: "We've had a lot of very positive feedback from booksellers and publishers and I want to thank you all for being so generous in understanding any technical difficulties we encountered....

"I won’t summarize all the content here, but simply thank everyone who sat on a panel in Melbourne or elsewhere. We heard from New York, London and Auckland when my colleagues from the ABA (U.S.), the BA, and Booksellers NZ joined us, and of course we reached out across our great flat land.... For the ABA team, it feels like we have been away for nine months, such was the intensity of the experience. There is of course no rest for the wicked, and on we must go."

Check out ABA's annual award winners here, including Michael Earp of the Little Bookroom, Melbourne, who was named ABA Text Bookseller of the Year; and ABA PRH Young Bookseller of the Year Genevieve Kruyssen of Where the Wild Things Are, Brisbane.


The European & International Booksellers Federation hosted a digital panel during this year's online London Book Fair to discuss how the U.K.'s exit from the European Union has impacted the bookselling industry. The event brought together booksellers and wholesalers, including Jan Smedh, owner of the English Bookshop in Uppsala, Sweden; Tomás Kenny, general manager at Kennys Bookshop in Galway, Ireland; and Elda Lamberti, international sales manager at Gardners. They explored Brexit's impact on booksellers since since January and highlighted ways to mitigate the challenges. 


Eyeing a return to relatively normal times, Canadian bookseller the Paper Hound bookshop, Vancouver, B.C., posted on Facebook: "The burnished proof that historically we have had customers (lately, we occasionally need the reminder). This door has been opened at least a few times daily since June 21, 2013, which is barely anything to brag about, and yet... here we are. And here we shall remain!" --Robert Gray

Books for Palestine Raises over $86K

The Books for Palestine fundraising campaign, which included an auction held earlier this month, has raised more than $86,000 for the aid organizations Middle East Children's Alliance and the Palestine Children's Relief Fund

Of the total funds raised, more than $51,000 will go to the PCRF, while MECA will receive around $32,000. Some 692 items were auctioned June 1-4, and 1,508 people participated. Individual donations came from authors Aisha Saeed, Erin Entrada Kelly, Sabaa Tahir and Veronica Roth, as well as people from around the globe.

The auction's highest bid item was a package consisting of a 100-page book critique, a query critique and a call with literary agent and author Eric Smith, which went for $6,150. Other high bid items included a query and 20-page critique with literary agent Joanna Volpe; a three-night retreat at the Highlights Foundation; and a signed special edition of S.A. Chakraborty's The Daevabad Trilogy.


Bookseller Cat: Gibby at Gibson's Bookstore 

Posted on Facebook by Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H.: "Gibby says Shop Local! Gibson the Cat is living his best life at home with Bookseller Jo after being rescued from our bathrooms last month. He enjoys sunshine, sleeping, stretching, and occasionally screaming. Relatable, honestly. 

"Gibby is not an in-the-bookstore cat due to health regulations, but you can expect to see adorable updates periodically on our social media platforms as well as weekly updates in our newsletter."

Two Rivers to Distribute Bard Press

Ingram's Two Rivers Distribution will handle global sales and distribution for Bard Press, effective this September.

Bard Press publishes business and personal development titles, releasing only one book a year and focusing on product development and marketing launches that aim to establish each title as an international bestseller and perennial backlist. Bard Press's bestsellers include The One Thing, with more than two million copies sold worldwide, and The Little Red Book of Selling, published in 2004 and now in its 28th printing. The company is headed by publisher Todd Sattersten, former president of 800-CEO-READ (now called Porchlight Book Company) and co-author of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.

Sattersten said that Two Rivers Distribution's "work with other business book publishers like Harvard Business Review Press and Plata Publishing puts our titles in very good company."

Two Rivers Distribution director Nick Parker said, "Bard Press is a one-of-a-kind publishing house. Dedicated to the creation of unique, beautiful, and timeless bestsellers, Todd Sattersten has cultivated a very special list of business classics that we are proud to represent globally."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Scott Anderson on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Scott Anderson, author of The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War (Anchor, $18, 9781101911730).

Movies: Hamnet

Amblin Partners, Hera Pictures and Neal Street Productions are teaming on a film adaptation of Maggie O'Farrell's award-winning novel Hamnet, with Chiara Atik writing the script. Deadline reported that Atik has previously worked with Amblin and Neal Street on Beautiful Ruins, alongside Mark Hammer. Liza Marshall, Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris are producing.

Books & Authors

Awards: Firecracker Winners

The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses has announced the winners of its seventh annual Firecracker Awards, given for the best independently published books of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry and the best literary magazines in the categories of debut and general excellence.

Fiction: Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda, translated by Polly Barton (Soft Skull Press)
Creative Nonfiction: The Names of All the Flowers by Melissa Valentine (Feminist Press)
Poetry: The Malevolent Volume by Justin Phillip Reed (Coffee House Press)
Magazines/Best Debut: Lucky Jefferson
Magazines/General Excellence: Mizna
Lord Nose Award: Charles Alexander & CHAX Press

Reading with... Guy Delisle

Born in Québec City, Canada, in 1966, Guy Delisle now lives in the South of France with his wife and two children. Delisle spent 10 years working in animation. He is the author of numerous graphic novels and travelogues, including  Hostage, Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City and Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea. In 2012, Delisle was awarded the Prize for Best Album for the French edition of Jerusalem at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. His most recent book is the memoir Factory Summers (Drawn & Quarterly, June 15, 2021), a coming-of-age story about the three summers Delisle spent as a manual laborer in a pulp and paper mill.

On your nightstand now:

I just finished up The Last Frontier by Howard Fast. It came out in 1941 and shows the last phase of "How the West was Won." The Cheyenne population rebels and decides to return to their ancestral lands. I think this was the first book to really consider and share the experiences of Indigenous people in North America during that particular period of time. The book received a lot of critical acclaim and John Ford made a film adaptation of it in 1964. I was curious to see what had inspired him.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. After having owned it when I was a kid, I bought it for my own children and the book has just never aged. It offers everything I loved about the books I read when I was a kid--beautiful illustrations, a peek into the dark side of children's imaginations and this very free, open approach to storytelling. All these elements are things I didn't necessarily notice when I read it as a kid, but which I absolutely felt.

Your top five authors:

Jean Echenoz, Raymond Carver, Céline, Gabriel García Márquez, Hergé.

Book you've faked reading:

I have never been in a situation where I had to fake reading a book.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Les Rois Maudits (The Accursed Kings) by Maurice Druon. I sometimes work with students and whenever they give me the chance to do so, I recommend that they check out this series of seven novels written between 1955 and 1977. It's the tragic story of a dynasty of seven kings of France in the Middle Ages. George R.R. Martin has frequently mentioned how influential these books were on his own series A Song of Ice and Fire. Inevitably, it's by offering up this particular anecdote that I pique their interest.

Book you've bought for the cover:

French book covers are plain and very straightforward. They usually don't even have images on the cover--just the title, author and publisher.

One time when I was traveling in the USA, I bought Legend of a Suicide by David Vann because I had read it in French before and the cover was very nice.

Book you hid from your parents:

Click! by Milo Manara. It's an erotic comic book that everybody was reading in the 1980s.

Book that changed your life:

Changed my life... that is a hard thing for a book to live up to, but when I read my first Raymond Carver novels, I was totally shocked. I didn't know it was possible to write that way--to tell a story as powerfully as he did in so few pages. I think it was the kind of experience that could have been what made me want to become a writer.

Favorite line from a book:

"Je vais encourir bien des reproches." ("I am going to bring a great deal of criticism on myself.") --Raymond Radiguet, The Devil in the Flesh

This book was published in 1923 by a young writer of just 23 years of age. From the very first sentence, the protagonist admits a mistake he's made but refuses to allow himself to be condemned for it. Step by step, line by line, this masterpiece moves the reader with great sensitivity toward outrage and scandal.

Five books you'll never part with:

Maus by Art Spiegelman
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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

The Seven Crystal Balls (Les sept boules de cristal) and The Temple of the Sun (Le temple du soleil) by Hergé

Book Review

Review: Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina

Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguin (Holt, $27.99 hardcover, 272p., 9781250244307, July 27, 2021)

Memoirs by performing artists who have achieved a level of renown in their field can often be rhapsodizing nostalgia jobs. As Georgina Pazcoguin might put it: oh, honey, that is so not Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina. With her aggressively entertaining memoir, Pazcoguin, a proudly foulmouthed New York City Ballet soloist since 2013, has set out to take the shine off her profession's glittery image: "Onstage, we're graceful and as ethereal as mist, but once the pointe shoes and tutus come off, it's a different story."

Raised in Altoona, Pa., by an Italian American mom and a Filipino dad, Pazcoguin found her calling at an early age: "I'd always pick ballet over a John Hughes movie." In Swan Dive, she traces her journey to NYCB, spotlighting career highs (she has appeared in ballets and Broadway shows including West Side Story Suite, Cats and On the Town) and low points, such as getting a "fat talk" from NYCB artistic director Peter Martins. (Martins retired in 2018 amid a whirl of misconduct allegations; Pazcoguin's tussles with him speckle her narrative.) She's generous with endearingly disarming accounts of her on- and offstage belly flops, each of which gets its own Swan Dive section, fueled by her plucky peevishness. That spirited petulance is also out in force when Pazcoguin encounters injustice, as after she realizes that dancers of color like her are being relegated to the ballet company's "B cast." She has since cofounded Final Bow for Yellowface, which is devoted to convincing ballet companies worldwide to purge their dances of Asian stereotypes.

There's a vaguely scattershot structure to Swan Dive, throughout which Pazcoguin offers disenchanting glimpses at a professional dancer's life. She has had to drive in a blizzard to make a performance, slog through The Nutcracker ("I did it for the Benjamins") and cope with liberties taken by colleagues ("I can almost rationalize his thinking; he touched other parts of my body while dancing, so what's the big deal if he tweaks a nip?"). Pazcoguin, who wrote Swan Dive at age 34, doesn't see retirement in her imminent future, although it's not lost on her that in her line of work, performers peak well before they hit middle age. She has a backup plan: "I've got a biting wit and a real estate license I'm not afraid to use." Oh, honey, don't you know that righteous indignation is your superpower? --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: This diverting and cackle-worthy memoir by a New York City Ballet soloist is equal parts autobiography, insider intel and righteous indignation.

Deeper Understanding

Independent Bookshop Week: 'It May Call Itself a Bookshop, but Don't Be Fooled by That.'

It may call itself a bookshop, but don't be fooled by that.
There may be books in the window, on the tables and shelves,
but really, it's a travel agent selling all-immersive holidays,
weekend breaks, first-class tickets to other worlds...

These lines are from poet Brian Bilston's "Never Judge a Bookshop by Its Cover," written for Independent Bookshop Week "in celebration of all the brilliant independent bookshops out there and the role they play in their communities." 

Part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, Independent Bookshop Week is run by the Booksellers Association to celebrate indie bookshops in the U.K. and Ireland. The festivities have been underway since June 19 and will run through this Saturday, featuring events, celebrations, reading groups, storytelling, author signings, literary lunches and much more.

The media has been paying attention. The Guardian showcased "10 of Britain's best indie bookshops," while the Oxford Mail highlighted "10 independent bookshops in Oxfordshire." The Edinburgh Reporter listed events organized by bookshops across the city, and South West Londoner spoke with local indies that "are having to innovate to unite their readers and community to celebrate Indie Bookshop Week this week."

For #IBW, the Big Issue has been featuring indies that "stepped up through lockdown when they were needed most," including Hunting Raven Books, Frome: "I have never felt closer to our customers," said manager Tina Gaisford-Waller. "This past year has had the effect of breaking down some of the barriers that had kept conversations polite and transactional. We know about our customers' lives, we've dropped off groceries, jars of honey, condolence gifts, and even grieved with them in the event of losses of the biggest kind. And we're feeling those strong bonds of loyalty now that we're back open. We're greeting people and welcoming them back in, not just as customers but as friends."

Author Claire Lynch followed up her #IBW video talking about "the therapeutic nature of bookshops and how they can be a site of solace for us all" by tweeting: "Just had a lovely time following my own advice @alittlebookshop--left with a bagful of books (#Rodham and #LeonardAndHungryPaul since you ask) and an absolutely essential enamel badge. Solace unlocked."

Many indies are sharing their #IndieBookshopWeek celebrations on social media. A brief sampling:

The Gutter Bookshop, Dalkey: "It's Independent Bookshop Week, so we're giving you permission to buy that book you've been eyeing up for ages.... You're welcome."

Booka Bookshop, Oswestry: "It's Independent Bookshop Week!! Shop local and support your favourite Indie Bookshop today. Pop in and say hi! We are running our children's bookmark competition, guess the number of jellybeans in the jar, 4 for 3 on selected summer reads and many more book goodies and give-aways all week."

At Portobello Bookshop

The Portobello Bookshop, Edinburgh: "As a special book treat for #IndieBookshopWeek we have a limited amount of first edition, signed bookplate copies of Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun! Our booksellers have taken it seriously, look at the beautiful t-shirts. Thanks @FaberBooks!"

And Other Stories: "Indie Bookshop week is our favorite time of the year! This year we are partnering with Gloucester Road Bookshop in Bristol! Buy some of our books from them and not only will you be given a bag of freebies, but you'll also be supporting two Independent businesses in one go! Whilst you're here, check out our Q&A with bookseller, Tom!"  

The Bookish Type, Leeds: "For Independent Bookshop Week we thought we'd introduce you to the team behind" the bookshop, including Ray, Joe and Nicola.

At Kemps General Store, Malton, U.K.

Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham: "The number of indie bookshops has been growing steadily for the last four years. There were even new shops opening during the last year with more on their way. We often mention the newbies here. Indies do what it says on the tin. We are not beholden to faraway owners, we choose the stock, we organize our own events and--yes, we even make our own mistakes--that is what being independent is all about. We also pay our taxes and money spent in your community stays in your community. We celebrate each other's successes, encourage customers to explore indies wherever they are going... PS We try not to make too many mistakes!"

Lighthouse, Edinburgh: "Oh and it's Indie Bookshop Week (like every week here really, but this week there's bunting & press & hashtags)! The heart of being an indie for us, is our booksellers--championing voices and publishers and artists from the margins--and our readers, some of you we catch up with weekly, some we see once a year on a fringe pilgrimage, some we meet but once and yet you leave us with a story or a reflection that shapes us. That space where books and people meet has its own magic, it's a privilege to make those sparks happen...." 

Author Lemn Sissay captured the spirit of #IBW in a compelling blog post that begins: "We enter bookshops to broaden our minds. May they flourish and may we."

--Robert Gray, editor

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