Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Flatiron Books: The Courting of Bristol Keats: [Limited Stenciled Edge Edition] by Mary E Pearson

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Doubleday Books: Death at the Sign of the Rook: A Jackson Brodie Book by Kate Atkinson

Groundwood Books: Who We Are in Real Life by Victoria Koops

Agate Bolden: 54 Miles by Leonard Pitts Jr.


Redbud Books Coming to Bloomington, Ind.

Redbud Books in progress.

Redbud Books, a nonprofit, a collectively-run and community-oriented bookstore, will open March 9 at 408 W. Kirkwood Ave. in Bloomington, Ind. Mia Beach, part of a team launching the store, told WTIU that the journey started when she was a teenager, finding refuge at White Rabbit Books in Muncie. 

"I was a troubled teen, and on my way to juvie," Beach said. "That is the place where I spent a lot of my afternoons and a lot of my lunch hours. It was the last place that I was before I ran away from home.... It offered this quiet place to just be with books that I had never experienced before."

She hopes Redbud Books will serve the community as White Rabbit did for her. The nonprofit bookstore will be volunteer-led and focus on engaging the Bloomington community through curated book collections, reading groups, film screenings, and various speakers and events, WTIU noted. 

"We really feel like it's important to create a spot where people can come together," Beach said. "We want to add to what Bloomington has to offer and make Bloomington a more sustainable place to live long term, where there are places where you're excited to go." The bookstore has already had several community events, despite construction ongoing inside the building.

"We're already seeing from the number of people who have wanted to volunteer and who have been coming to the events before we've even opened... that people feel like there's a need for additional spaces to find new books to inspire them and new places to have events, to meet other people," she added. 

Redbud Books will feature highly curated sections, handpicked by community members, featuring works focusing on everything from feminist literature and graphic novels to Rust Belt history and autotheory.

"It's not about putting all the books that would be in a standard bookstore," said Teresa Kovacs, an assistant professor of Germanic Studies at Indiana University, who is part of the bookstore's collective and has already curated a section based on her theater expertise. "I want to pick and choose books, where, even if I would enter a bookstore as someone who works in theater and performance, I would say, 'Oh my God, I didn't even think about this one,' " she said.

One of the bookstore's goals is to be sustainable, WTIU noted. Beach said they hope to achieve this by selling a mixture of new and used books, as well as planting a tree for every book they sell.

A project of the Bloomington nonprofit Center for Sustainable Living, Redbud Books is currently running a $25,000 GoFundMe campaign to go toward purchasing collections and opening costs.

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Maddie Ciliotta-Young New Owner of Watchung Booksellers in N.J.

Margot Sage-EL and Maddie Ciliotta-Young

Margot Sage-EL, longtime owner of Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., is passing full ownership of the store to her daughter, Maddie Ciliotta-Young, who has been co-owner since last fall. In an announcement, Sage-EL said in part, that she was proud to have Ciliotta-Young become the new owner: "Together with our dedicated booksellers (past and present), incredible local talent in our writers, illustrators, editors, and journalists, and of course with you, our most loyal customers, we built the little bookstore that could! We are so grateful to all of you.

We're glad to hear that Sage-EL, one of our favorite booksellers, won't be disappearing. "I will happily still be involved in the bookstore, hosting author events, working the floor, and reading!!" she continued. "I get to do all the fun stuff now! The innovations over the last two years have been a result of Maddie's love of books, energy, and vision. The Kids' Room is proof of that. Maddie grew up in the store, and I trust that she will build on the mission and vision of what we started so many years ago--to serve our community with books that inspire, challenge, and nurture readers. Our store is now a part of the DNA of Montclair and we would never be who we are without you all."

Little Nook Bookstore to Debut Wading River, N.Y.

The Little Nook Bookstore will open this spring in Wading River, N.Y., on the North Shore of Long Island, Newsday reported.

Owner Stephanie DiSanto has found a 500-square-foot space in the Shoppes at East Wind and plans to carry a general-interest inventory with titles for all ages. She described the store's set-up as a "comfortable living room," and she plans to host author signings, book club meetings, and children's programming.

DiSanto told Newsday she's always wanted to open a bookstore, and she felt that there was no better time than now: "I feel, especially nowadays, people are supporting more and more small local businesses, and avid readers would definitely love a small hometown bookshop."

She added that as someone with anxiety, she has always loved to read. "It's a way to unwind, disconnect, and get lost in a different place with different characters."

New 2nd & Charles Opens in Lafayette, La.

Books-A-Million has opened a new 2nd & Charles store in Lafayette, La., News15 reported.

Located in a shopping center at 4405 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, the store held a grand-opening celebration last Saturday, which included games, food, and a raffle for tickets to Lafayette's Comic Con.

2nd & Charles was founded in Birmingham, Ala., in 2010.

Obituary Note: Dinah Stevenson

Dinah Stevenson

Dinah Stevenson, a former children's book editor and publisher at Clarion Books, died January 23. She was 81. In a tribute, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators noted that while Stevenson was earning her degree in English literature from the University of Chicago, she worked part-time for the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. After her first job in publishing as a copyeditor at J.B. Lippincott Books for Young Readers, she moved into editorial work.

When Lippincott was bought by Harper & Row in 1978, Stevenson moved to Knopf Books for Young Readers, then joined Lothrop, Lee, and Shepherd, where she worked with Dorothy Briley. In 1989, Stevenson moved with Briley to Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin (now under the HarperCollins banner). She became Clarion's publisher in 1998. 

In her time at Clarion, Stevenson edited many award-winning books, including three Caldecott medal winners: Golem, written and illustrated by David Wisneski (1996); The Three Pigs, written and illustrated by David Wiesner (2001); and Flotsam, also by David Wiesner (2006). She also edited two Newbery medal winners: The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman, whose career she launched with the Newbery Honor-winning Catherine, Called Birdy; and A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park, whose first manuscript she discovered in the slush pile. 

When The Three Pigs and A Single Shard won the Caldecott and Newbery medals in 2002, Dinah became one of only three editors whose books were awarded the nation's two highest children's book honors in the same year, the SCBWI noted.

Though she officially retired in 2020, Stevenson continued to work on select editorial projects through the end of last year, including Gary D. Schmidt's The Labors of Hercules Beal, which received multiple starred reviews and appeared several "Best of 2023" lists.

"An eager traveler, Dinah maintained substantial international publishing ties, with a particular connection to the U.K., to which she journeyed annually, and she was a regular at the Bologna Book Fair," the SCBWI wrote. "Revered for her exquisite taste and editorial brilliance, Dinah was beloved not only by her authors, but also by colleagues across departments and at all stages of their careers, as she knew each of them and cared about them as individuals. A quiet but unmistakable force, Dinah was a towering figure in children's literature whose legacy continues in the careers--authorial and within publishing--that she launched, in the ongoing success of Clarion Books and its commitment to amplifying traditionally marginalized perspectives, and in the books that will live for generations."


Image of the Day: Storytime with Greg Pizzoli

Author and illustrator Greg Pizzoli did a storytime for his picture book The Lucky Duck (Knopf Books for Young Readers) at Barnes & Noble Center City in Philadelphia, Pa.

Bookstore Videos: Ida's Bookshop

Posted on social media by Ida's Bookshop, Collingswood, N.J.: "A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who came together in a spirit of UNITY for the #TrailblazersTour--the vibes were this high all day long! Now that we've raised the rent, raised the roof, and blazed the trail, mark your calendar for our wine down wine tasting event on 3/22/2024 w/ The Ex-Sommiliers. Much love to our partners from @haddontownshipequityinitiative for being true to the game, not new to the game. To Nika from @curatenoirshop for holding it down for Camden and saying yes to this request even though we'd never met. To EVERY shop we give thanks. For our tour guide @starfire_369 we give thanks. To the unapologetic @trumpetchics who said you know what....?!!? To every tour stop.... To @collingswoodnj for the totes and to EVERY TRAILBLAZER in this life and the next. The path with no beginning, is worth beginning @thepuddinpalace."

Reading Group Choices Releases Reading Group Choices 2023

Reading Group Choices has released Reading Group Choices 2023, which includes more than 50 book recommendations in three sections (fiction, nonfiction, and young adult). Each title has been selected specifically for reading groups, and includes discussion questions to facilitate lively group discussions. Prices: 1-4 copies, $7.95 each; 5-24 copies, $4.75 each; and 25 or more copies, $3.95 each. For more information about Reading Group Choices 2023, click here.

IPG Adds Four Publishers

Independent Publishers Group is soon begin distributing four more publishers:

Firefly Press, which publishes fiction for children and young adults that aims "to inspire, inform, and entertain, fostering a love of reading for pleasure and promoting literacy and empathy, as well as mental health and well-being." (North America, effective March 1.)

Monogatari Novels, which bridges cultures through captivating storytelling in the world of East Asian media. It specializes in licensing and translating an array of light novels, manga, and manhua into both English and Spanish. (U.S. and Canada, effective March 1.)

Northwestern Publishing House, which publishes elementary and Sunday school curricula, Bible studies, worship materials, music, and faith-strengthening books within the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and beyond. (Worldwide, effective April 1.)

Iskanchi Press, which publishes fiction, non-fiction, and children's literature both written and translated into English, showcasing "the best expressions of African realities in all perspectives and forms." (Worldwide, effective April 1.)

Personnel Changes at Open Road Integrated Media

Joshua Riitano is joining Open Road Integrated Media as marketing analytics manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kara Swisher on CNN's Amanpour

Jennifer Hudson Show: Nicole Avant, author of Think You'll Be Happy: Moving Through Grief with Grit, Grace, and Gratitude (HarperOne, $28.99, 9780063304413).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Jamie Lee Curtis, author of Just One More Sleep: All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait... and Wait... and Wait (Philomel Books, $18.99, 9780593527047).

The Talk: Phil McGraw, author of We've Got Issues: How You Can Stand Strong for America's Soul and Sanity (Threshold Editions, $34.99, 9781668061701).

CNN's Amanpour: Kara Swisher, author of Burn Book: A Tech Love Story (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781982163891).

Animated Bookshop: Strand Book Store

Posted on Instagram by the Strand bookstore in New York City: "We're thrilled and honored to be featured in the upcoming film THEY SHOT THE PIANO PLAYER (brought to life by @jeffgoldblum) and the best part is that it's animated, definitely a first for us! To celebrate, we're partnering with @sonyclassics to give away 10 pairs of tickets to the film in NYC."

Books & Authors

Awards: SCBWI Golden Kite Winners

Winners of the 2024 Golden Kite Awards and honor books, presented to children's book authors and artists by their peers and sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, have been named. Golden Kite recipients receive a cash prize of $2,500 plus $1,000 to donate to a nonprofit of their choice. Golden Kite Honor recipients receive $500 plus $250 to be donate. This year's winning titles are:

Golden Kite winners:
Picture book text: Nell Plants a Tree by Anne Wynter, illustrated by Daniel Miyares (Balzer + Bray)
Picture book illustration: Big, illustrated & written by Vashti Harrison (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Nonfiction text for younger readers: Tomfoolery: Randolph Caldecott and the Rambunctious Coming-of-Age of Children's Books by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Chronicle Books)
Nonfiction text for older readers: The 21: The True Story of the Youth Who Sued the U.S. Government Over Climate Change by Elizabeth Rusch (Greenwillow Books)
Middle grade fiction: The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh (Roaring Brook Press)
Illustrated book for older readers/graphic novels: Curlfriends (New in Town), written & illustrated by Sharee Miller (LB Ink)
YA fiction: The Blood Years by Elana K. Arnold (Balzer + Bray)
Sid Fleischman award for humor: To Catch a Thief by Martha Brockenbrough (Scholastic Press)

Honor books:
Picture book text: Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Hatem Aly (Random House Studio)
Picture book illustration: Jumper: A Day in the Life of a Backyard Jumping Spider, illustrated & written by Jessica Lanan (Roaring Brook Press)
Nonfiction text for younger readers: Beautiful Noise: The Music of John Cage by Lisa Rogers, illustrated by Il Sung Na (Anne Schwartz Books)
Nonfiction text for older readers: Accountable: The True Story of a Racist Social Media Account and the Teenagers Whose Lives It Changed by Dashka Slater (Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers)
Middle grade fiction: A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat (First Second)
Illustrated book for older readers/graphic novels: Super Boba Café, written & illustrated by Nidhi Chanani (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
YA fiction: This Town Is on Fire by Pamela N. Harris (Quill Tree Books)
Sid Fleischman award for humor: Fenway and the Loudmouth Bird by Victoria Coe, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers)

Reading with... Kristina Forest

photo: Tochi Hannah

Kristina Forest is the author of romance books for young adults, including I Wanna Be Where You Are; Now That I've Found You; and Zyla & Kai. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at the New School, and she can often be found rearranging her bookshelf. The Partner Plot (Berkley, February 27, 2024) is a second-chance rom-com that follows a secondary character from Forest's first novel for adults, The Neighbor Favor.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Two former high school sweethearts unexpectedly reunite in Las Vegas and, after a night of partying, wake up with wedding rings on their fingers.

On your nightstand now:

The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert. This is a story about a woman who becomes fake-engaged to a prince. I'm a huge fan of Talia Hibbert and have been for years, and I realized that I hadn't read this one yet.

A Thorn in the Saddle by Rebekah Weatherspoon. This is the last book in Weatherspoon's Cowboys of California series. I love a good story about a Black cowboy.

The Kiss Countdown by Etta Easton. This is a debut romance about a woman who fake-dates an astronaut before he takes a trip to space, and it promises to give all the rom-com feels, which is exactly what I'm always in the mood for.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry G. Allard. I was so afraid of Miss Viola Swamp. I can still picture her dark hair and black dress and long black nails so clearly. 

Your top five authors:

Lisa Kleypas, Brit Bennett, Sarah Dessen, Tia Williams, Helen Hoang.

Book you've faked reading:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This was a summer reading assignment in high school. (I essentially fake-read every summer reading assignment in high school.)

Book you're an evangelist for:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. The first time that I read this book, I was so engrossed in the plot that I brought the book with me to a Super Bowl party. I sat in a corner and read all evening.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (the original hardcover cover). I love the cover art, and I was particularly intrigued by Bridge's cat ears.

Book you hid from your parents:

I didn't hide any!

Book that changed your life:

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, because it was the book that made me want to be a writer.

Favorite line from a book:

"There was nothing magical about being in love with someone. It didn't cure every ill or solve every problem. It was simply a feeling. An infinitely precious feeling. Deeper than friendship. More meaningful than mere attraction. But it wasn't a panacea. Real relationships were built on more than love. They were constructed with hard work, dedication, and patience. With honesty and mutual respect." --A Convenient Fiction by Mimi Matthews

Five books you'll never part with:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I can't tell you why I love this book so much or why it's stuck with me since I read it in high school. I only know that I feel very attached to Jane Eyre and will watch every and any movie/television show adaptation.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith. This novel is so hilarious and brilliant. It was the first book that ever made me miss my subway stop because I was so busy reading.

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. I've learned so much from reading Lisa Kleypas's novels, and I think that Devil in Winter is my favorite of hers. And it's the novel that I reread the most.

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams. This is the kind of story that I'm always looking for and always want to be reading.  

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Reading this book was a huge inspiration for why I wanted to write YA romance early on in my career. 

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

Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale. This book took me on a journey.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Wild Ones

The Wild Ones by Megan Lacera and Jorge Lacera (Lee & Low Books, $22.95 hardcover, 48p., ages 5-8, 9780892394524, April 9, 2024)

Megan Lacera and Jorge Lacera's sophomore picture book, The Wild Ones, is as inclusive and endearing as their much-praised 2019 debut, Zombies Don't Eat Veggies.

All Valentina's life, "the Wild Oaks apartment building has been home." Valentina's best friends Jasmine, Andy, and Xander also live in Wild Oaks, hence their group name: the Wild Ones. And the Wild Ones are "obsessed with monsters," specifically the monster they believe is lurking in a cave deep in the nearby Steelburg forest. However, none of the Wild Ones agree on which monster their neighbor must be: Colombian Valentina believes she's La Tunda; Haitian Xander thinks she's Loogaroo; Irish Andy is convinced she's a Banshee; and Indian Jasmine is sure the monster is the ghost Vetal. But one Saturday morning, when the kids return to the community room for monster talk, they find their grown-ups discussing a "monster-size nightmare." Developers are looking to destroy Wild Oaks to make room for new businesses. The Wild Ones spring into action to save their home; when their efforts are not enough, they decide to find the monster in the forest in hopes it will help them "scare away the developers for good."

The Laceras' Wild Ones are the definition of friends to the end: whether the enemy is a bully or a developer, the kids stick together and hold firm in their beliefs. "No matter what they say, we know there's a monster! And it's just like us--an outsider." No matter that their home is on the verge of demolition, they brainstorm 347 different solutions to save it. Despite the threat of destruction (and monsters), the authors keep the accessible text lighthearted and funny.

Jorge Lacera's brightly colored digital illustrations, featuring both panels and full-page spreads, are dynamic and energetic, keeping up the excitement and fast pace. Word boxes and speech bubbles help make the graphic novel visually comprehensible to young readers. The Laceras paid attention to detail in both text and illustration; the endpapers, done in a retro, comic book-art style, work as an introduction to each monster and are accompanied by monster stats, country of origin, name meaning, characteristics, and more fun facts. Ultimately, the Wild Ones save the building and get to meet their favorite monsters. Turns out, there wasn't one heroic monster in the forest--there were four. --Kharissa Kenner, children's librarian, Bank Street School for Children

Shelf Talker: The Wild Ones is an inclusive and endearing graphic novel for young readers.

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