Better Living Through Birding is a memoir that is very much about birds… but it’s also about so much more. Cooper was thrust into the media spotlight via a viral video in which he was subject to racial threats in Central Park from a dog walker… and he discusses this incident in detail. However, he also discusses growing up gay & black in NYC in the 70’s & 80’s, how comic books and nature saved his life, and how activism against social injustice runs in the family. From Harvard to writing for Marvel Comics & Star Trek to following elusive birds in the most remote places in the world, this memoir is honest, emotionally stirring, and heartfelt. It made me want to go for a nature walk immediately after I finished it.
Better Living Through Birding by Christian Cooper, (List Price: $28, Random House, 9780593242384, June 2023)
Reviewed by Stuart McCommon, Novel. in Memphis, Tennessee
Frog tongues, dandelion puffs, snowflakes, All wonders of the world. This charming giftable nature guide/storybook encourages readers to slow down and enjoy all the amazing things in the natural world.
Slow Down and Be Here Now by Laura Brand, (List Price: 22.99, Magic Cat, 9781419765971, March 2023)
This is the story of Johannes, a wild dog who lives in the park. He runs his round because he is the Eyes for the keeper of the Equilibrium. He decides one day to gain a greater purpose and free his friends the bison. Though for children, I think this story would be enjoyed by anyone who has ever run and felt faster than the sun. Johannes is absolutely endearing, arrogant, feral, and free. Above all else, he’s free and wonderful. I found myself elated with every triumph and breathless with every close call. I loved it and was in tears by the beauty of the writing at the end. I absolutely cannot wait to recommend this to everyone I know. "To be alive is to go forth. So we go forth." Don’t let Johannes slip by you! He’s faster than light, so it might be hard.
The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers, (List Price: $18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781524764203, May 2023)
Just like Tabor’s wonderful Mel Fell, his newest picture book Simon and the Better Bone is a delight that plays with the very format of a book itself. A whimsical retelling of an Aesop fable, Simon gets into an argument with his reflection and soon learns where jealousy can lead. Vibrantly illustrated and simply told, Simon and the Better Bone is a perfect read-a-loud book!
Simon and the Better Bone by Corey R. Tabor, (List Price: 19.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780063275553, May 2023)
Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Owls, for all their popularity in myths and Harry Potter movies, are elusive and difficult to observe in the wild. But the wild, the reality is what Darlington is seeking and what she brings to this thoughtful account. Her careful descriptions of eight species are deepened by reflections on how much humanity loses when we lose true awareness of the wild. A call for more care of the natural world, protection of spaces needed by our fellow creatures, and a willingness to live with uncertainty, this book offers heart and soul as well as natural history.
The Wise Hours by Miriam Darlington, (List Price: $27.95, Tin House Books, 9781953534835, February 2023)
In the morning, the trumpets will play and the sun will rise and the new year will dawn. Tonight, however, the rhythmic crunch of the horse hooves on falling snow makes the world a magical place. Absolutely stunning illustrations and a sweet story will surely make this one a new holiday favorite for many families.
Snow Horses by Patricia MacLachlan (List Price: $18.99, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781534473553, November 2022)
Many hands make light work, and many hearts working together can accomplish great things. This is not a story about a kitten, its a story about community, the language of caring, and of the incredible powers of kindness group effort can bring.
This Story Is Not About a Kitten by Randall de Sève, (List Price: $18.99, Random House Studio, 9780593374535, October 2022)
“I have always felt comforted and reassured by the presence of old trees and love to spend time walking in woodlands or forests whenever I can. It might sound strange, but I really do feel a kind of connection, or perhaps access, to a different way of being when I’m immersed in the natural world.” ―C. C. Harrington, Interview,Indies Introduce
What booksellers are saying about Wildoak
This is the best book about human and animal interaction I’ve read in a long time. Such a sweet and touching story.―Judith Lafitte from Octavia Books in New Orleans, Louisiana Buy from Octavia Books
This is such a sweet story that does feel like a modern classic. Maggie has a hard time speaking for herself but finds her courage when she needs to speak for others who have no voice. This book packs a punch with disability visibility, conservation, and even PTSD.
―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, Georgia Buy from E. Shaver, bookseller
The perfect book for fans of both The War That Saved My Life and Pax, Wildoak is a lovely debut that is sure to become a new classic and a school reading list staple. Challenged by a stutter that makes it difficult to express herself, lonely Maggie befriends and helps to rehabilitate an abandoned and injured snow leopard lost in the English countryside. When the creature is threatened, Maggie finds her voice in a most powerful way. ―DM Capriola from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia Buy from Little Shop of Stories
A beautifully written and deeply inspiring story of Maggie, a young girl in 1960’s England who is labeled a behavior problem due to her stutter. When she is sent to stay with her grandfather in Cornwall, she discovers an abandoned snow leopard in the woods. While helping him, she finds solace, strength and healing in nature and discovers her voice and the power it has to help others. Wonderful!!! ―Mary Patterson from The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia Buy from The Little Bookshop
A quietly lovely novel about finding your way and using your voice. Wildoak tells the story of Maggie, Rumpus, and the importance of wild spaces and listening with your heart. Maggie finds her strength and becomes herself but the path is not easy. Fortunately, she finds hope and respite curled up with a fluffy snow leopard It’s everything I love about Middle Grade stories! ―Susan Williams from M. Judson, Booksellers in Greenville, South Carolina Buy from M. Judson, Booksellers
About C. C. Harrington
Christina Harrison grew up in the UK. She spent her summer holidays in Cornwall where she loved to climb trees and run barefoot along pebbly beaches. She loves the natural world and believes that stories, much like the roots of an ancient forest, are capable of connecting readers and listeners in essential ways. Wildoak is her first book. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature and has since worked for a newspaper, taught literacy to children with learning differences and studied printmaking. She now lives in Maryland with her family and a dog who loves to eat manuscripts. You can learn more about her work at ccharrington.com
I don’t know how Kaya Doi does it, but even though this is EIGHTH book in the Chirri & Chirra series, it’s still just as magical and enjoyable to read as the first. The formula, rather than being tiresome, is soothing and reassuring—you know from the first “dring-dring!” that you are setting off on a charming adventure with tasty treats and friendly animals. This one, with a full moon festival in the forest, works particularly well for bedtime reading.
Chirri & Chirra, In the Night by Kaya Doi (List Price: $16.95, Enchanted Lion Books, 9781592703845, November 2022)
With gorgeous, dreamy illustrations, But Why? asks the big questions children (and adults alike!) have about themselves and their place in the world. This picture book would be a sweet and tender springboard for meaningful discussions for the children in your life.
But Why? by Elizabeth Pulsford, (List Price: $18.95, Ethicool Books, 9780648872382, August 2022)
“This book was like a gift…it came to me right when I was getting absolutely no work done because my midlife crisis turned out to be not a red mustang but a little black pony. I became a horse-crazy girl in my middle age.” —Geraldine Books, interview
What booksellers are saying about Horse
Wow! Brooks knows how to tell a story and this one weaves many characters that all have one thing in common: The Horse called Lexington, a great racehorse but also the greatest sire of the late 19th Century. Lexington was a real horse, and this novel contains true facets of his life and real people around him, but also fictional characters that cared for him both during his life and after his death. We have a big equestrian community in our county and they will love this, as will book clubs. ―Beth Carpenter from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC Buy from The Country Bookshop
Horse by Geraldine Brooks Brooks has woven an extraordinary adventure about Lexington, a Kentucky thoroughbred. His accomplishments were extraordinary. He won all but one of his races but more significantly his legacy as the most successful leading sire in America during the last half of the nineteenth century makes him unparalleled in horse history. Other figures play into this story: Jarrett, the slave boy groom who loved him, Thomas Scott, the painter who captured Lexington on canvas and others whose contributions were significant. A fascinating story! Brooks is a masterful storyteller! I loved it! ―Stephanie Crowe from Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL Buy from Page & Palette
A compelling and beautifully-crafted story with a mystery at its giant, horse-sized heart. This is a book about the fragility of life, love, and liberty for people of color in this country, in the past and in the present day. ―Maggie Robe from Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC Buy from Flyleaf Books
About Geraldine Brooks
Geraldine Brooks is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel March and the international bestsellers The Secret Chord, Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders. She has also written the acclaimed nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, Brooks lives in Massachusetts.