Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 1, 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

Quotation of the Day

Kate DiCamillo: 'Booksellers Help Us Find Our Way Home'

"When I am asked to define myself, the first word that pops into my head is 'reader.' I am first and foremost a reader. And to go into an independent bookstore and find myself among books and other readers--I feel like I have come home. Thank you--to everyone who puts a book into a reader's hands. It's an act of connection, love. It matters. It helps us all to find our way home."

--Kate DiCamillo, whose The Beatryce Prophecy is the September/October Kids' Indie Next List Top Pick, quoted in Bookselling This Week

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


B&N Opens in Raleigh, N.C.; B&N College to Manage Univ. of North Georgia Stores

Barnes & Noble is opening a new store in Raleigh, N.C., today, its first to open in the area in 18 years. The new B&N is located in the Village District shopping center, which the company described as "the highly coveted and popular shopping center that is home to some of the best shopping and dining in Raleigh."

Today's ribbon-cutting grand opening event, at 10 a.m., features Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing, who will "participate in a meet and greet with fans immediately following the ribbon cutting." She commented: "I am so delighted to open a new Barnes & Noble here in my home state of North Carolina. I have been so touched by the support of so many Barnes & Noble booksellers for Where the Crawdads Sing. I hope shoppers in Raleigh will enjoy this new store as much as I do."

The 10,400-square-foot store has custom-made "oak shelving, is light and bright, and marks a dramatic change in the bookseller's appearance," B&N said. CEO James Daunt added, "Our new store here in Village District is bright, welcoming and completely designed with this community of readers in mind. Store manager Jen Curtis and her team have embraced the challenge to create within it a distinctive, energetic bookstore that promises to be truly exceptional."

The new store has an emphasis on lifestyle books, including many cookbooks, home, decor and art titles, as well as a strong children's section. With North Carolina State University located across the street, there are also large sections devoted to YA and manga. The company added, "The traditional strengths of B&N in new fiction and non-fiction hardcovers will also be front-and-center at the store."

Manager Jen Curtis, who has been a B&N bookseller for more than 20 years, said, "I feel so lucky to be part of this endeavor, and I just cannot wait to meet the community and start the many events I have planned. I hope to see everyone soon."


The University of North Georgia has chosen Barnes & Noble College to manage its five campus bookstores and the university bookstore website, effective at the end of September.

Stephanie Nakamura, interim director of Auxiliary Services at the university, said, "Through this partnership, we will provide students affordable course materials needed for success and ensure that faculty have support throughout the entire process of course material adoption."

The stores will also offer "an expanded assortment of apparel, gifts, accessories and other items," particularly university-branded products.

Jonathan Shar, executive v-p of BNED Retail and president of Barnes & Noble College, said, "UNG is an institution grounded in a student-focused environment, and we look forward to joining our new partner in delivering forward-thinking solutions that can help students succeed in the classroom and beyond."

GLOW: Tordotcom: The Crane Husband by Kelly Barnhill

HSU Bookstore Plans December Opening in Downtown Arcata, Calif.

Humboldt State University, which announced in March that it is moving its bookstore to downtown Arcata, Calif., is renovating the new space in the former Tri-counties Bank in the Arcata Plaza and plans to have a soft opening near the end of the year and a grand opening during spring semester of 2022, reported the Lumberjack, the university's independent, student-run newspaper.

The new bookstore, which is managed by Follett, will have "a small coffee and tea lounge for customers to enjoy while shopping," the university said. "It will also provide easy access to parking for shoppers, especially tourists, prospective students, and families visiting from out of the area." It is also intended to help "students, many of whom travel from more urban areas, to connect with and feel welcome in the community."

The store's old location on campus is being changed into a "lounge space, activities, and entertainment," according to the school. The bookstore will also keep its current warehouse space on campus for receiving and picking up textbooks, along with handling textbook rentals, and the university is exploring delivering textbooks to students in residence halls. The College Creek Marketplace on campus will continue to sell HSU Bookstore items in the store and expand the current selection.

Soho Press: Black Dove by Colin McAdam

Sidelines Snapshot: Cards, Bookends and Puzzles

Bookends and Beginnings gift shop, one of a series of local postcards by Jeff Garrett.

In January, Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., opened a second space devoted entirely to gifts, stationery and other nonbook items. The extra location has allowed owner Nina Barrett and her team to greatly expand their nonbook offerings. 

The stores do well with both boxed cards and greeting cards. For boxed cards, there's "lots of great stuff from Chronicle," including Princeton Architectural Press, Galison and Laurence King; the bookstore also started carrying Caspari recently. For greeting cards, some "tried and true bestsellers" come from suppliers like Sacred Bee, Calypso, The Bower Studio and Sad Shop, while newer additions include Pedaller Designs and Modern Wit.

Barrett remarked that she had "tried for a long time to find local postcards with Evanston scenes and I couldn't," so she finally sent her husband, Jeff Garrett, to take photos. He created a line of local postcards that are "selling like hotcakes, both individually and as a boxed set." The store has also had success with notecards featuring his photos of Lake Michigan.

Candles from Fly Paper Products.

She added that her card buyer "wishes we could find more gender-neutral and gender-nonconforming cards, especially for love, marriage and general relationships," noting that "often it's artwork that makes the card inappropriate for a situation."

For the first time in seven years of operation, Bookends & Beginnings now carries bookends. The store stocks a "clever line" from The Literary Gift Company, as well as inexpensive, lightweight bookends from If USA that Barrett said are "great for students." Other strong sellers recently include candles from Fly Paper Products and literary teas from Simpson & Vail.

Sidelines on display at Schuler Books

Beth Boyink, gift buyer for Schuler Books in Grand Rapids and Okemos, Mich., reported that children's at-home learning products have been very popular recently, especially Eeboo games, developmental toys by Fat Brain Toys, workbooks from School Zone and sensory bins by Creativity for Kids.

Puzzles have been strong throughout the pandemic; some preferred suppliers include Galison, White Mountain Puzzle, Pomegranate and Phil Stagg Puzzles. Art supplies by Ooly and office products from a variety of suppliers also continue to perform well. Asked about any new or unusual sidelines, Boyink pointed to Go Pops from Fox Mind and Poptastic from Streamline, which she called "the new fidget spinners."

On the subject of local vendors, Boyink explained that with fall travel still restricted, customers are taking more in-state trips and want products that reflect their recent travels. Examples include candles by Kalamazoo Candle Co., Phil Stagg puzzles and Cellar Door Soap & Candles.

Reflecting on how the pandemic has affected customers' buying habits, Boyink said the store is still seeing "very strong sales" in products that were selling well at the beginning of the pandemic, such as the aforementioned puzzles, games, art supplies and children's activities. Food store items, such as Food Huggers, has been a surprising new trend, and with "people wanting to connect more," boxed stationery has seen increased sales.

Gifts and cards at Napa Bookmine.

At Napa Bookmine in Napa, Calif., co-founder and manager Naomi Chamblin and her team have "doubled down" on the store's Blue Q inventory, expanding their offerings of dish towels, oven mitts, totes and coin purses. They've also brought in more vinyl stickers from Turtle's Soup, I Must Draw, Noristudio and Seltzer Goods, and "people are loving them."

At the same time Napa Bookmine has expanded its "Napa Valley offerings" by bringing in things like custom dish towels from, Napa Valley map totes from Gooseberry Designs, and stemless wine glasses and mugs from Mercantile 12, which are all made in the San Francisco Bay Area.

She added that stuffed toys from Jellycat, particularly the food items, and plush from Douglas have been doing "phenomenally well," but sourcing them can be "hit or miss." For those items, Chamblin and the team "just give our reps a budget and they put an order together for us, because when we try to order specific items, so much is out of stock."

Chamblin noted that "people appreciate humor more than ever" at the moment, and small humor books such as Pet This F*cking Puppy: A Touch-and-Feel Book for Stressed Out Adults (Universe), continue to do well. --Alex Mutter

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

Obituary Note: Dave Hohman

Dave Hohman

Dave Hohman, longtime book sales and marketing executive and publisher, died on August 26 of cancer. He was 69.

As his family remembered, after receiving a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from St. Thomas, "he followed the path of his book loving family and took a job as a salesman with Warner Books. He moved from sales into marketing at Motorbooks International, an automotive book publisher, created specialty books at Linden Hills Press and then became a partner and marketing director at Voyager Press until it was sold in 2005. He returned to Motorbooks until 2012 when he purchased Iconographix, a publisher known for specialty books for enthusiasts of all kinds. It was a perfect fit as he was interested in everything, being a lifelong learner and traveler."

A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Memorials can be sent to the environmental group or mailed to Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, P.O. Box 392, Red Wing, MN 55066.

Ci9: Opening Keynote; TikTok Tips; Authors on Parade

Tuesday, the second day of the ninth annual Children's Institute, began with a welcome from Allison Hill, CEO of the ABA, and an opening keynote from authors Nicola and David Yoon and editor Bria Ragin. The three discussed the inspiration behind the Yoons' new imprint with Random House Children's Books, Joy Revolution, described by the Ci9 website as "a celebration of love stories written by people of color about people of color."

David and Nicola Yoon

Ragin, a Delacorte and Joy Revolution editor, asked the romantic and business partners about their inspiration for creating the imprint. David Yoon said it dates back to when the two met at Emerson College in Boston, Mass., and discovered their mutual love of romcoms. "Fast forward 20 years," Nicola said, and they wanted to make the stories they love so much "and see people who look like us in them." David followed up with, "It's a really simple concept: romance with people of color.... It's humanizing people of color and showing them as regular people just like everybody else. It seems like a humble mission but it's crucial, too." Ragin, who has been working with the Yoons in preparation for their debut list, agreed, saying, "We need to show the breadth of our humanity."

Bria Ragin

Ragin pointed out that "the books we're going to publish in Joy Revolution are... not always about 'the struggle.' " Nicola expanded on this, noting that "stories that deal with pain and 'the struggle' are important.... [those books] can save a life.... But I do think there's another kind of life to be saved--that is the metaphysical life." Ragin asked, "Why do you think people don't see the value in romance?" Romance, Nicola said, "is sort of denigrated.... I think it's ridiculous because love is a thing everyone wants. Period. You can't argue about that. It's not just romantic love. It's love of your family, love of your work--" and, David finished her sentence, "Love of yourself."

The afternoon featured four roundtable sessions, including "Taking Off with TikTok," a helpful primer on the use of the popular platform, led by Kassie King from The Novel Neighbor (TikTok) in Webster Groves, Minn., and Ryan Clark of Gibson's Bookstore (TikTok) in Concord, N.H.

Ryan Clark

To begin making videos, King suggested, use trending sounds, get comfortable on camera and teach staff and coworkers how to use the phone for recording themselves and others. Clark suggested the next step is to simply "keep scrolling... keep watching.... Be an active user on the app." Then, King said, play around: stitch videos, interact with other bookstores, interact with book-talkers, track hashtags. And, Clark said, start curating your feed: "If there is a video that is applicable to what you want to see on your feed, linger... interact with the video."

Kathy Ellen Davis (96,400 followers) of Bards Alley in Vienna, Va., offered tips on hashtagging: "You can see how many views a hashtag has.... I try to vary popular and non-popular ones." (Suggestions included #booksellersoftiktok and #bookstoretok, as well as local tags.) Ask all staff members to share the links and, Clark suggested, make sure to create a shoppable list on the website of every book featured on TikTok.

Kassie King

King, whose The Novel Neighbor TikTok has 44,300 followers, noted that the store saw a return on its time investment a few months after they started. But Clark warned it doesn't necessarily translate into sales: "It depends. It can. But I wouldn't go into it expecting it." King suggested that if shoppers have seen booksellers on TikTok, it "encourages them to buy more because they already trust you"--"Your advantage as an independent bookstore as opposed to Amazon," she said, "is that you are individuals. You can sell the books you love because you love them." But she warned that "time in does not necessarily equal output" and that bookstores want to consider TikTok primarily as a way to connect with people in their community.

Mariana Calderon of Savoy Bookshop & Cafe in Westerly, R.I., suggested that "Tiktok is also a good place to give younger or newer booksellers agency--give them the app, a login and let them focus on content creation over events or selling for a while and see what magic they create. It emphasizes creativity and impulsivity... so it's a good place to let them play!" Davis suggested in the chat that bookstores follow TikTok Tips and Trends (@wavewyld) to keep up to date and noted that she has created an account specifically for "bookstore social media ideas" (@smforbookstores). If all this still seems like a lot, booksellers can check out Clark's TikTok tutorial on YouTube.

The evening closed with six "Authors on Parade" sessions. Each room heard from all of the 30 authors in attendance--including Yuyi Morales (Bright Star, Neal Porter Books), Jacqueline Alcántara (Climb On!, NorthSouth Books), Samira Ahmed (Amira & Hamza, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), Tricia Elam Walker (Dream Street, Anne Schwartz Books) and Rosena Fung (Living with Viola, Annick Press)--as they spoke about their upcoming and recently published books. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness


Image of the Day: Men of Terror

Yesterday, authors William Short (r.) and Reynir Óskarson (l.) presented a copy of their book Men of Terror: A Comprehensive Analysis of Viking Combat (Westholme Publishing) to the president of Iceland, Gudni Th. Jóhannesson. Short is an MIT-trained scientist and Óskarson is a traditional Icelandic wrestling champion; the two spent almost 20 years reverse engineering and testing to determine how the Vikings fought.

Bookstore Moment: Greedy Reads

Posted by Greedy Reads, Baltimore, Md.: "Thank you for a great weekend! It's hard to put into words how happy it makes me to see friends we haven't seen in a long time; thanks for not forgetting about us 💚 Thinking of all the parents and kids starting school tomorrow, here's to a smooth, successful, and healthy year!"

Artbook | D.A.P. Partnering with Ingram International

Artbook | D.A.P. is now partnering with Ingram Publisher Services International for sales representation and fulfillment in Asia, India, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Sharon Helgason Gallagher, president of Artbook | D.A.P., said, "Our new partnership with IPS International will enable faster time to market and supply chain efficiencies in these growing markets for high-end books on art, photography, architecture and design. Our senior v-p and sales director Jane Brown will be working very closely with the excellent IPS International team to ensure they have the title marketing and local artworld information they need to sell our selective list to independent bookstores, chain stores, museum stores, gift shops, specialty stores, wholesalers, libraries and professional markets in these territories."

Meredith Greenhouse, v-p, IPS International, said, "Our sales and marketing teams are longtime fans of the exceptional publishers D.A.P. distributes and look forward to growing their global reach through Ingram."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Laurie Gelman on Live with Kelly and Ryan

Tamron Hall repeat: Norma Kamali, author of Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible (Abrams, $35, 9781419747403).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Laurie Gelman, author of Yoga Pant Nation: A Novel (Holt, $26.99, 9781250777577).

The View repeat: Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-author of Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going (National Geographic Society, $30, 9781426221774).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Brian Stelter, author of Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth (Atria/One Signal, $18, 9781982142452).

Books & Authors

Reading with... Natasha Lester

photo: Stef King Photography

Natasha Lester worked as a marketing executive for L'Oreal before turning to writing; she is the author of The Paris Orphan, The Paris Seamstress and The Paris Secret. When she's not writing, she loves collecting vintage fashion, traveling, reading, practicing yoga and playing with her three children. Lester lives in Perth, Western Australia. Her latest novel is The Riviera House (Forever, August 31, 2021), a lush tale about priceless art stolen during World War II

On your nightstand now:

One of the privileges of being an author is that I'm sent books to read before they're published, and right now I'm reading two wonderful historical novels that will hit bookstores soon. The first is Kerri Maher's The Paris Bookseller, about Sylvia Beach and her iconic Shakespeare and Company bookshop. The second is Laura Morelli's The Stolen Lady, which has some fascinating parallels with The Riviera House, and the story of how the Mona Lisa was hidden from the Germans during World War II.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I wanted to be Amy March with her blonde curls and artistic temperament. I probably wouldn't have minded marrying Laurie, either!

Your top five authors:

Taylor Jenkins Reid is always brilliant and I can't wait to read Malibu Rising. I also love Amor Towles, Kate Morton, Erika Robuck and Jane Austen.

Book you've faked reading:

We had to read Lord of the Flies by William Golding for English Lit when I was in high school, and I loathed it. I think I read half the book and then I couldn't force myself to read anymore. I just made sure to avoid any questions to do with that book for my exam, and instead tackled the questions about Jane Austen and Shakespeare, which were much more interesting to me then--and still are!

Book you're an evangelist for:

Circe by Madeline Miller. If it's possible to fall headlong in love with a book, I did so for this one. Gorgeous writing, a feminist tale that has you weeping and cheering for Circe, and a truly imaginative retelling of the classic myth. It's a book I wish I had the talent to write myself!

Book you've bought for the cover:

I purchased the Alma Classics editions of both The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald because the covers are truly stunning! They feature 1920s illustrations of flappers with fabulous dresses and, even though I already had copies of both books on my shelves, I knew I needed these editions, too.

Book you hid from your parents:

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. We passed this book from friend to friend when I was about 13. My mum is staunchly Catholic and I knew she wouldn't approve of it, but I was at first curious enough about the story--and then became so addicted to the series--that I smuggled it to and from school in my backpack each day, reading it in my lap in class when I was supposed to be solving algebraic equations.

Book that changed your life:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I read this when I was about 13 and it was the first time I understood what the word passion truly meant. Before Jane Eyre it had just been a word; after reading the book it became something I longed to experience. I always joke that my penchant for dark-haired heroes can be traced back to my Rochester infatuation.

Favorite line from a book:

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood is one of my most favourite books and I could probably list 100 lines I love but I'll stick with this one: "She imagines him dreaming of her, as she is dreaming of him. Through a sky the color of wet slate they fly towards each other on dark invisible wings." Swoon!

Five books you'll never part with:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë for the reasons explained above; The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, also explained above; Persuasion by Jane Austen, which I read time and time again and always find more in the story to admire; The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern because it is a breathtakingly immersive read; and Christian Dior 1947-1957 by Assouline, which is a hefty but sumptuous tome full of stunning pictures of extraordinary Dior gowns. I know I can always find something beautiful in there whenever my soul needs a balm.

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

Atonement by Ian McEwan. I remember feeling such a punch of shock when I reached the twist in that book, such of sense of wanting to reach in and shake the pages of the book to change things back to how I wanted them to be. I don't think it's possible to read that book again and experience the same sense of its power because you know too much. It's rare that a book affects me so viscerally.

Book Review

YA Review: Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World

Aristotle and Dante Dive Into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Simon & Schuster, $19.99 hardcover, 528p., ages 12-up, 9781534496194, October 12, 2021)

Aristotle and Dante's story picks up where it left off in this sentimental and affirming sequel to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, the Printz Honor and Stonewall, Pura Belpré and Lambda Literary Award-winning novel by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (The Inexplicable Logic of My Life). This long-awaited second entry brilliantly shepherds Ari and Dante into adulthood.

Being gay and loving Dante Quintana in the late 1980s seems impossible for 17-year-old Aristotle Mendoza. The AIDS epidemic, which has killed 40,000 men, has made society fear people like him and Dante. They could never get married. Never kiss in public. "We're screwed," Dante tells Ari. "We'll never be Mexican enough. We'll never be American enough. And we'll never be straight enough." During their last year of high school, Ari narrates his and Dante's rocky paths toward their uncertain futures, suffering racism ("They don't really want us to learn right from wrong. They just want us to behave"), homophobia ("perverts... let them move to China") and loss.

Sáenz's poetic language reflects the deep love Ari and Dante share ("He was like a heart that was beating in every pore of my body"); still, the boys fight and can be slow to reconcile, never exuding unrealistic happily-ever-after vibes. Sáenz is cognizant, too, of the discrete journeys partners must take. Ari addresses private journal entries to Dante but acknowledges the innate need to find purpose: "You're the center of my world--and that scares me because I don't want to lose myself in you." While he starts mapping a new world--cultivating relationships with his dad and previously ignored friends--Ari voices the confusion common in the transitional period before adulthood: "Happiness. What the hell did that mean?" He exemplifies the stagger-stop momentum of personal growth by weighing contradictions within himself; he understands gay activists' signs that proclaim "SILENCE = DEATH" but thinks "my silence... equals my survival." An overarching theme of diving into waters reminds that while some seas are stormy, loved ones also teach each other how to swim. Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World is a joyous and heartrending exploration of grief, love and queer belonging. --Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer

Shelf Talker: Aristotle and Dante grapple with belonging in a world that doesn't want them in a long-awaited sequel that poetically examines loss, love, intolerance and acceptance.

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