The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Children

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat

Christina Soontornvat’s graphic memoir depicts the challenges & joys of middle school life as a Thai-American in Texas centering around her dream of making the school’s cheer squad. For fans of Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl, Jerry Craft’s New Kid or any of Raina Telgemeier’s many graphic novels.

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat (List Price: $24.99, Graphix,, 9781338741308, November 2022)

Reviewed by Elese Stutts, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Garvey in the Dark by Nikki Grimes

A sad and touching story in verse set during the first half of 2020. This book is both painful and necessary, I can’t stop thinking about what the kids have lived through and knowing they need books exactly like this to help them process. Thank you Ms. Grimes.

Garvey in the Dark by Nikki Grimes (List Price: $17.99, Wordsong, 9781635925265, October 2022)

Reviewed by Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels by Serena Blasco

Enola Holmes is BACK! The high-spirited independent sister of the World Famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, is back for more adventure and mystery. Enola Holmes has been able to avoid her brothers Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes so far. At the same time she has solved mysteries, and saved lives. Now she is back for more adventures! Can she continue to evade her brothers, or will she finally have to turn to them for help? Where is her mother? Can she actually be found and reunited with her daughter, or has she truly abandoned her family? The beautiful artwork will draw you in, and the storyline will keep you reading. As with all Enola Holmes stories, at the end of each story are fascinating historical notes, such as the language of fans, cyphers, or how to create invisible ink. The Enola Holmes graphic novels are a perfect read for your younger mystery lovers or your young readers who love graphic novels.

Enola Holmes: The Graphic Novels by Serena Blasco (List Price: $14.99, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 9781524871352, November 2022)

Reviewed by Gretchen Shuler, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett

A modern-day retelling of one of my favorite books as a kid. They don’t change the story, which I liked, they just add some modern takes. So much fun and beautiful. You will want this in your collection!

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett (List Price: $18.99, Orchard Books, 9781338673845, November 2022)

Reviewed by Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Terry’s Crew by Terry Crews, Cory Thomas (illus.)

Terry’s crew at his new school may not look like the typical friend group, but together, they can do any thing they set their minds to! With themes of respect, hard work, school success and commitment to family and friends, this graphic novel from superstar Terry Crews is sure to be a hit.

Terry’s Crew by Terry Crews, Cory Thomas (illus.) (List Price: $12.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316499989, November 2022)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

The Talk by Alicia D. Williams

Charming black kids growing up together, neighborhood friends through the years. But as they grow and age from chubby-cheeked helpers and adventurers into young men and women, still respectful and helpful, just looking more adult, the parents and grandparents sit them down for "the talk". That not everyone will see their fun-loving enthusiasm, or a hoodie or earphones as childhood innocence by default. Briana Mukodiri Uchendu’s pastels show such expressiveness, from hugs of closeness, to silly play and gap-toothed smiles of children, to heartbreaking empathy. Now I know black families and brown families have to know about the talk, but this is a great conversation starter for people who may not need to have the talk to know that not everyone is so fortunate, and maybe that window will help them be better allies.

The Talk by Alicia D. Williams, (List Price: $18.99, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781534495296, October 2022)

Reviewed by Lisa Yee Swope, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Freestyle: A Graphic Novel by Gale Galligan

Gale Galligan is THE BEST! I have been so excited to see her first post-BSC graphic novel and Freestyle surpasses all expectations. It’s quirky, inclusive, inspiring, and so very real. And what a concept! Competitive B-boying yo-yo-ing was fun and interesting to read about and I love the way that Galligan captured motion in her art. This will likely be my favorite kids book of the year!

Freestyle: A Graphic Novel by Gale Galligan, (List Price: $12.99, Graphix, 9781338045802, October 2022)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Spirit Week by Ira Marcks

A charmingly illustrated and just-spooky-enough graphic novel, Spirit Week is sure to delight readers looking for an inventive mystery to unravel. A clever homage to the works of Stephen King and The Shining, Marck’s middle grade graphic novel follows a group of intrepid kids as they attempt to uncover the secrets of The Underlook Hotel and its reclusive author Jack Axworth. A whole lot of fun!

Spirit Week by Ira Marcks, (List Price: $12.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316278065, October 2022)

Reviewed by Caleb Masters, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp

The Wolf Suit is an absolutely charming picture book about anxiety through the eyes of a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp, (List Price: $19.99, Annick Press, 9781773217208, October 2022)

Reviewed by Michelle Cavalier, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana

Brown Is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar

I love the beauty of Brown is Beautiful. A young Indian American girl walks through nature with her grandparents, celebrating all the beauty of things that are brown – leaves and bears and canyons. The book transitions to houses and families and babies, all brown and beautiful. This is a story of joy and celebration!

Brown Is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar, (List Price: $18.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374389529, October 2022)

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Counting in Dog Years and Other Sassy Math Poems by Betsy Franco

Multiplying mice, sugary shapes, and family fractions star in this charming collection that practically shouts : Math is FUN!

Counting in Dog Years and Other Sassy Math Poems by Betsy Franco, (List Price: $18.99, Candlewick, 9781536201161, October 2022)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

I am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges

Elementary school. Ruby tells her story, as she experienced it, when she was just six years old. Adapted for the youngest readers, this edition has beautiful illustrations that demonstrate Ruby’s words. There is a glossary to help children learn key terms. For older readers, the author and illustrator have included their own personal notes of what inspired this version. This is an excellent book to help encourage family discussions about America’s history of education. This is a children’s book. It is told from the eyes of a child. It is illustrated showing the world through a child’s eye. It is beautiful! I loved Ruby’s sass, especially when it came to her very old name. I loved her innocence and her spunk. She is, indeed, Ruby Bridges, the First!

I am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges, (List Price: $18.99, Orchard Book, 9781338753882, September 2022)

Reviewed by Nicole McManus, My Sister’s Books in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina

This Story Is Not About a Kitten by Randall de Sève

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

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)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira

Super cute story that balances English and Spanish! Perfect for Halloween but really you can read this one year-round — witches are cool! And I’m always a fan of any picture book that requires you to rotate the book to see the words.

If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja by Ana Siqueira, (List Price: $18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Reader, 9781534488748, August 2022)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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