Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 28, 2021

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Quotation of the Day

Indie Bookstore: 'A Place Where I Feel Safe, Seen, and Welcome'

"As a flight attendant, I had the opportunity to travel all over the country. Which meant I got to visit a lot of indie bookstores I might not have otherwise. And every time I walked into a new store, I was always struck with the same feeling of similar-yet-different. The local flavor would change, but the values never did. Community. Education. Inclusion. Support. The undercurrent of what indie bookstores stand for and represent was always present. For me, indies have always been a home away from home, a place where I feel safe, seen, and welcome."

--T.J. Newman, whose novel Falling (Avid Reader Press/S&S) is the #1 July Indie Next List pick, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan


Birch Tree Books Debuts As Pop-up in Leesburg, Va.

Birch Tree Books has debuted as a pop-up shop in Leesburg, Va., Loudoun Now reported. Owner Leah Fallon hopes eventually to open a bricks-and-mortar store in downtown Leesburg, but for the summer she is setting up shop in the Embark Center, a hybrid school that uses both homeschooling and traditional models.

Birch Tree Books will be open for business in the Embark Center's front parlor Thursdays through Sundays until Labor Day weekend. Fallon is also selling books online through her store's page.

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

Tattered Cover Kids Opens in Aurora, Colo.

Tattered Cover Book Store opened its first children's store, Tattered Cover Kids, on Saturday in the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, Colo. 

Tattered Cover Kids spans 1,400 square feet and carries 4,800 titles, along with a selection of nonbook items like onesies, kid-sized tote bags and wooden toys. Located in a former aviation factory, the bookstore is surrounded by restaurants and other independent businesses. Its centerpiece is an interactive tree that children can climb.

Over the coming months Tattered Cover Kids will launch its children's event program. In addition to author visits and storytime sessions, the bookstore will host birthday parties and other events.

The 52nd Annual Coretta Scott King Book Awards Celebration

The annual Coretta Scott King Book Awards breakfast is a powerful ALA tradition that honors the Black community and its incredible contributions to the field of children's literature. Yesterday, the 52nd annual CSK Awards, presented by the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT), were celebrated at ALA's virtual 2021 annual conference.

2021 CSK Author winner Jacqueline Woodson, 2021 CSK Illustrator winner Frank Morrison, John Steptoe Award for New Talent Author winner Tracy Deonn and Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement winner Dorothy Guthrie all gave recorded speeches, as did the CSK honorees. Dr. Brenda Pruitt-Annisette, chair of the CSK Book Award Committee, introduced the event.

The CSK celebration is unlike any other at the annual conference, and that's what Jacqueline Woodson (Before the Ever After, Nancy Paulsen Books) focused on in her speech. "I feel like we're living in the Ever After," she said. "I think of my years and years of growing up inside this community." She spoke about being eager for next year's CSK breakfast: being up "way too early," singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," getting to be together and share space, stories and hugs. "I am grateful," she said, "to the ancestors--the new ancestors and the ancestors who have gone long before us, who keep walking this road with us through the stories we tell about them."

Frank Morrison

Frank Morrison (R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Atheneum Books for Young Readers) told viewers that he had written a speech and practiced it many times but was going to "freestyle it" instead. He then told an animated and personal story about being young and hearing Aretha Franklin for the first time.

Tracy Deonn

Tracy Deonn, who was the first of the winners and honorees to speak, expressed gratitude and excitement that Legendborn (Margaret K. McElderry Books) is the first fantasy novel to win the award. "As a young adult reader... I had never seen a Black girl be the central engine in a supernatural fantasy." So Deonn created that girl. "It's critical to me that teen Black girls have access to stories where they can see themselves as powerful... not despite their Blackness but in concert with it."

Kacen Callender

CSK Author Honoree Kacen Callender (King and the Dragonflies, Scholastic Press) began their speech by saying, "I am obsessed with dreams." Callender discussed how dreams and books both pass on messages that teach how to learn and grow and "break free from cycles caused by hurt and pain and fear." The purpose of story, they said, is "transformation through healing."

Many of the other honorees used their time to discuss important issues. Kaylani Juanita, who won an Illustrator Honor for Magnificent Homespun Brown (Tilbury House), spoke of concerns about the lack of inclusivity in picture books. "While I'm thrilled that I won this award, I also think it's important to note that even within this recognition, the overall voice, art and work of the Black community is vastly underrepresented because of systemic racism and coloniality." We need "intersectional and nuanced representation," she said. And when it comes to Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop's theory of "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors," Juanita said, "For Black readers, the mirror is foggy, the window is too small to see anything and the door is locked." Cozbi Cabrera, who won two CSK Illustrator Honors--for Me & Mama (Denene Millner Books) and Exquisite (Abrams)--recorded two videos and spoke to the same need that Juanita did: nourishing Black youth. "All over, there are children that are receiving messages that are distorted," she said. "These messages are cultivating an entire self-concept. And out of that self-concept grows limitations."

Evette Dionne, CSK Author Honoree for Lifting as We Climb (Viking Books for Young Readers), focused on H.R.1, the For the People Act of 2021, which aims to grant greater voter access to all citizens of the United States. "I want to implore our congressional leaders in Washington... to think about the legacies of these women [those in her book].... Pass HR1. Give Black people and all people unimpeded access to the ballot box."

Dorothy Gurthrie

Dorothy Gurthrie, the recipient of the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, closed the event with a spirited speech, complete with a jazz soundtrack. "I realized at an early age," she began, "that the cotton crops were my parents' only income and I had to help them. When I was not in the fields, I was watching my younger siblings, dreaming I was in school." So, "when I began my life journey, one thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to carry more on my shoulders than a cotton sack made of burlap." Guthrie, a retired librarian, district administrator, author and school board member, discussed building a CSK curriculum for a school she worked in: "I pulled out my basketball and I began to dribble. Then I introduced Slam by Walter Dean Myers." As she spoke, she mimed dribbling the ball, displaying the same kind of joyous energy she must have had when introducing those students to her curriculum. However, "realizing that educational standards are still deficient in covering African American history and culture, I wanted to find a way to tell our stories. I wanted to find a way for people to see the world and learn more about the voices that rang out for freedom." In 2019, her wish was granted "by the opening of the African American Museum of History and Culture at Loray Mills," the first-ever African American history and culture museum, in Gaston County, N.C. Guthrie is one of the founders and curators. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Memorial Service Tomorrow for Paul Von Drasek

Paul Von Drasek

Rain Taxi and 826 MSP are hosting a memorial for Paul Von Drasek on Zoom tomorrow, Tuesday, June 29, at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. The gathering is a place for family and friends to remember Paul. Please register here.

A longtime and much-beloved retired sales executive, Paul, who died on May 16, served on the board and was a volunteer at 826 MSP and was board chair of Rain Taxi.

Amazon to Open Robotics Warehouse in Louisiana

Amazon plans to open its second robotics fulfillment center in Louisiana, in Baton Rouge. The 820,000-square-foot warehouse will employ 1,000 people (and an indeterminate amount of robots) who will pick, pack and ship smaller customer items such as books, toys, electronics and other household items.

Governor John Bel Edwards said, "Louisiana has a long and storied history as a leading state for the shipping and transport of goods. Today's announcement by Amazon reveals a new chapter in that history... I thank Amazon for its continued investment in our great state--the third such investment in seven months."

Referring to the site of the new warehouse, Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broom added, "The area has evolved over time and we are thrilled that Amazon will invest in revitalizing and bringing life to an area that once served as the heart of our community. I am confident that Amazon will bring quality jobs and innovation in AI, logistics and operational management to our city and parish. This investment will set the foundation for a stronger future for all of Baton Rouge."


Eagle Harbor Book Company's 'Excessive Heat Advisory'

With a record-breaking heat wave hitting the Pacific Northwest, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, Wash., issued an "EXCESSIVE HEAT ADVISORY: Residents are urged to go to Eagle Harbor Book Company, where air conditioning has been reported. The books are hot, but the air is not! Be careful out there!"

Chalkboard: Nicola's Books

Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich., shared a photo on Instagram of its colorful sidewalk chalkboard art promoting the bookstore's "Summer Reading Program for children, grades K-8. This program gives kids the opportunity to log their summer reads, earn up to three $5 coupons to use in the store, and helps them find an everyday adventure!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Zülfü Livaneli on All Things Considered

NPR's All Things Considered: Zülfü Livaneli, author of Disquiet: A Novel (Other Press, $14.99, 9781635420326).

Tamron Hall repeat: Kevin Kwan, author of Sex and Vanity: A Novel (Anchor, $17, 9780593081938).

Good Morning America: Inger Burnett-Zeigler, author of Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen: The Emotional Lives of Black Women (Amistad, $24.99, 9780062959829).

Drew Barrymore Show repeat: DeVon Franklin, author of Live Free: Exceed Your Highest Expectations (Morrow, $27.99, 9780063031173).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Stacey Abrams, author of While Justice Sleeps: A Novel (Doubleday, $28, 9780385546577).

TV: Big Vape

Netflix has ordered a documentary series based on Jamie Ducharme's book Big Vape: The Incendiary Rise of Juul, which will be directed and executive produced by R.J. Cutler (Belushi, Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry), Deadline reported. Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey will be exec producers for Amblin Television, alongside Elise Pearlstein and Trevor Smith for This Machine, and Ian Orefice and Rebecca Teitel for Time Studios. Amblin optioned the book last year and Cutler came aboard in February.

Books & Authors

Awards: Orwell Book Winners

The 2021 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction has been awarded to Summer by Ali Smith, the fourth and final book in her Seasonal Quartet (published in the U.S. by Pantheon and Anchor). Organizers said, "Written and published at great speed last year, Summer captures our time with great acuity, and is hopeful and furious in equal measure. Winter and Spring were previously shortlisted and longlisted for the prize, in 2018 and 2020 respectively."

The winner of the 2021 Orwell Prize for Political Writing is Between Two Fires:  Truth, Ambition and Compromise in Putin's Russia by Joshua Yaffa (published in the U.S. by Tim Duggan Books and Crown). The organizers said, "A series of beautifully-written pen-portraits of fascinating individuals--TV producers, priests, human rights activists and more--trying to thrive in contemporary Russian, many of whom are little-known to a Western audience, it is the Moscow-based journalist's first book.:

Both winners receive £3,000 (about $4,160).

Book Review

Review: All the Little Hopes

All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss (Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99 paperback, 368p., 9781728232744, July 27, 2021)

Leah Weiss's ear for dialogue and her expert balancing of multiple narrators captured readers of her first novel, If the Creek Don't Rise. Her second novel, All the Little Hopes, uses two 13-year-old narrators to tell a lyrical, often gripping story of wartime struggle, small-town mysteries and what it means to be a family.

As World War II drags on, Lucy Brown's tobacco-farming family in eastern North Carolina receives a government contract to produce beeswax for the war effort. Soon, they gain an unexpected addition: Allie Bert Tucker, who came from the state's western mountains to care for her pregnant aunt. When her aunt starts behaving oddly and her uncle disappears, Bert turns to the Browns for help and eventually becomes part of their household. Lucy, bookish and fond of using "ten-dollar words," is thrilled to have a new friend and sleuthing partner (she fancies herself a Nancy Drew). Bert, grieving her mother's death and always conscious of the class gap between herself and the Browns, is thrilled to be welcomed but doesn't quite trust that her new situation will last. Telling their story in alternating chapters, Weiss shows how both girls struggle to navigate their teenage years while going to school, helping Lucy's mama with the housework and laboring alongside her father and brother on the farm.

Weiss imbues All the Little Hopes with plenty of Southern charm: sweet tea, honeybees, the word "y'all," cozy family evenings around the fire. But everyone in town has been touched by the war, including Lucy's household, with its two blue stars in the front window. When their quiet town becomes home to a German POW camp, and several more local men go missing, Lucy and Bert try to solve the mystery while wrestling with their own questions about what makes a person good or evil. Lucy's loving, dependable parents provide a safe foundation for both girls, but help in finding the missing men--and addressing other questions--also comes from other quarters, such as Lucy's observant little sister Cora and local wise woman Trula Freed.

Filled with vividly drawn characters of all ages, All the Little Hopes is a warm, sensitive story of family during wartime, as well as a glimpse into rural life in the North Carolina coastal plain. Based on Weiss's own hometown and her mother's early experiences, it is as rich and unexpected as the few jars of purple honey produced by the Browns' bees. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Leah Weiss tells a gripping wartime story of family, honeybees and missing men in her second novel, set in North Carolina.

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