The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Children

Do You Speak Fish? by DJ Corchin

What do you do when no one will talk to you? When a young man wants to talk to the bee he gets mad because the bee won’t talk back. The bee chases him. He continues on to the lion who also won’t say hello. He gets mad again. Why is everyone so rude. The tree isn’t rude. The tree says hello and teaches the boy how to talk to new friends in their own language. Soon they are all sharing stories and bringing joy to each other. Great lessons.

Do You Speak Fish? by DJ Corchin, (List Price: $17.99, Sourcebooks Explore, 9781728219226, October 2021)

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


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Tidesong by Wendy Xu

A Fall Read This Next! Selection

Xu’s beautiful artwork in combination with such strong storytelling makes for an enchanting graphic novel. Sophie’s struggles with her inner thoughts reflect much of my own as a child, making this read all the more special. I can see this story so clearly in my mind’s eye as a Studio Ghibli film – it provides such similar comfort in small things, the beauty of nature, and how two young people can have such a central impact on each other. This graphic novel is certainly a favorite for this year.

Tidesong by Wendy Xu, (List Price: 12.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780062955791, November 2021)

Reviewed by Grace Quinn from Foggy Pine Books in Boone, NC


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Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter

A Fall Read This Next! Selection

An enchanting debut by author Anne Wynter with vivid illustrations by the incomparable Oge Mora (Saturday) that fairly leap of the page, Everybody in the Red Brick Building is fabulous! An engaging, story with lyrical language and wonderful sounds to mimic, we will want to live in the red brick building. We won’t get much sleep, but we will have a whole lot of fun! A joy to read for the whole family.

Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter, (List Price: $17.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062865762, October 2021)

Reviewed by Kathy Neff from Square Books in Oxford, MS

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Frankie & Bug by Gayle Forman

A Fall Read This Next! Selection

When you are growing up, the world can seem to change around you in shocking ways. Things you have taken for granted are often turned on their head and ideas and beliefs to which you have always held unquestioning faith sometimes leave you wondering what you do really believe. New York Times bestselling author Gayle Foreman makes her middle grade debut with the story of Frankie and Bug and the challenges and difficulties they face during the summer the world opens up for them.

Frankie & Bug by Gayle Forman, (List Price: $17.99, Aladdin, 9781534482531, October 2021)

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

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Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor

Zubi is thrilled for her first day at school–until she hears her parents and sister talking about diets and their own negative body image. Should Zubi be ashamed of herself too? In the end, Zubi realizes that only YOU get to define what is beautiful and you are fabulous just the way you are. This book is a perfect way to talk to kids about body image, self-love, and how everyone is different and that’s a good thing!

Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor, (List Price: 17.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534485877, September 2021)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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Circle Under Berry by Carter Higgins

A square or a frog? orange or an oval? The way things seem really is all about perception. For fans of Brendan Wenzel’s They All Saw A Cat comes this fun new story of perspective that will have young readers laughing and thinking and saying ” Again! AGAIN!”

Circle Under Berry by Carter Higgins, (List Price: 15.99, Chronicle Books, 9781797205083, September 2021)

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

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Cat & Cat Adventures: The Quest for Snacks by Susie Yi

If my kids were cats and had access to magic they would be Squash and Ginny. We read this cute little graphic novel over a few sittings and they absolutely loved it. The art style is bright and happy and the story is easy to follow while not being too simplistic.

Cat & Cat Adventures: The Quest for Snacks by Susie Yi, (List Price: 8.99, HarperAlley, 9780063083806, September 2021)

Reviewed by Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

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Boogie Boogie, Y’all by C. G. Esperanza

Art is all around us. In the sky, the trees, the faces of our neighbors, and also sometimes in the graffiti sprayed on buildings, trains, and streets. The art world was changed forever by graffiti artists Basquiat and others and graffiti artists were masters of appreciating the beauty and joy all around us. This original book is rhyme and poetry and beauty in motion and is the perfect family read-together.

Boogie Boogie, Y’all by C. G. Esperanza, (List Price: 18.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062976222, August 2021)

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

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Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko

Ghost Girl is another 2021 debut on my Much Anticipation list and did not disappoint! I loved how Zee was a storyteller even if she got teased for it, and her and Elijah’s friendship was awesome. I REALLY disliked Nellie and couldn’t see how they’d ever get to a point where they could work together, so Malinenko did an amazing job with her characters. And plot and pacing. I did think the scene when the ghost first appeared to Zee was a little scary (even to late 30s me, lol) so I personally would recommend it more for 10 and up but every child reader is different! (And once Zee figured out who the ghost was, it wasn’t as scary anymore, but you had to read through to get to that part, of course.)My absolute favorite part of this book (besides the library-love which I am always here for) was that CONSENT is the secret weapon. (I don’t think that’s spoilery because I’m keeping it out of context for this review.) I was cheering as I read and think it’s such a great message to make consent so powerful. Love, love, love.

Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko, (List Price: 16.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063044609, August 2021)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

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Bat Wings! Cat Wings? by Laura Gehl

The cow says moo and the dog says ruff, but there’s always that kid who wants to turn everything on its head and this is the perfect book for those little rebels. Fun animal facts combine with a bit of ridiculousness to make for a fun read-aloud that would be perfect for storytime or any time!

Bat Wings! Cat Wings? by Laura Gehl, (List Price: 15.99, Creative Editions, 9781568463742, August, 2021)

Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Pittsboro, North Carolina

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Vampenguin by Lucy Ruth Cummins

A day at the zoo for the Dracula family provides the perfect cover for Junior to engage in a penguin switcheroo. Hilarious and adorable, with illustrations that tell as much of the story as the words themselves.

Vampenguin by Lucy Ruth Cummins, (List Price: 17.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781534466982, July 2021)

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

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Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima

Jessie Sima has once again found the direct line to my heart – this time through a personified “haunted” house! This sweet story about a house that is worried about being haunted will resonate with readers who are finding ways to be comfortable in their own skin.

Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima, (List Price: 17.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534441705, July, 2021)

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

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Listen by Gabi Snyder

The message of LISTEN is one for all ages – when all you hear is noise, stop, close your eyes, and listen to everything waiting to be heard. Gabi Snyder’s lesson starts on a busy city street but goes beyond just noisy times to remind us the importance of listening for feelings like our friends’ emotions and how we are feeling inside. Stephanie Graegin’s illustrations are a gentle, perfect accompaniment to the text. This would make the perfect book for a storytime or lesson centered on mindfulness.

Listen by Gabi Snyder, (List Price: 17.99, Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 9781534461895, July 2021)

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

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On the Day the Horse Got Out by Audrey Helen Weber

On the Day the Horse Got Out is one of those books that feels like a classic—it’s got the rhythm and nonsensical vibe of a nursery rhyme, and beautifully rendered illustrations that recall Tomie dePaola, Sergio Ruzzier, and Carson Ellis. Perfect for reading aloud, especially at bedtime—it’s a recipe for dreams filled with beribboned comets, giant flowers, and horses leaping through starry, cloud-puffed skies.

On the Day the Horse Got Out by Audrey Helen Weber, (List Price: 18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316459846, June 2021)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

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King of Ragtime by Stephen Costanza

Gloriously illustrated, this glimpse into the South during Reconstruction made me hear my childhood piano lessons and the syncopations of Scott Joplin’s ragtime melodies. There is so much detail in the multimedia illustrations which include single measures of actual sheet music clippings. It makes me want to pull out my album of The Sting (I know it’s anachronistic, but I love it!).

King of Ragtime by Stephen Costanza, (List Price: 17.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781534410367, August 2021)

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

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If the World Were 100 People by Jackie McCann

Really large numbers are difficult for us (including adults!) to understand, so I loved the way this book broke down statistics about the world as if it only had 100 people. The global village concept is really neat. Not only is this easier to visualize the differences and inequalities in our world, but it also makes the world seem a little less large, and a little bit more like a village.

If the World Were 100 People by Jackie McCann, (List Price: 17.99, Crown Books for Young Readers, 9780593310700, July 2021)

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

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The Last Fallen Star (A Gifted Clans Novel) by Graci Kim

Korean American witches! Bulgogi tacos and boba tea portals! This RRP grabbed my attention with the clans of Korean witches and kept it with the strong sister bond and Riley choosing kindness as her strength. There was lots of betrayal and twists and action that made this a fast and exciting read–but it never got overwhelming. The whole cast is great, the world-building is awesome, complex-but-understandable, and the food sounds delicious (I’m REALLY wanting to try bulgogi tacos.) I totally guessed wrong on what the last fallen star was so it was fun that the ending wasn’t predictable. There is a sequel so it ends in a way that makes you want to read the next one, but for the most part, everything is resolved in a way you don’t want to throw the book across the room after the last page.

The Last Fallen Star (A Gifted Clans Novel) by Graci Kim, (List Price: 16.99, Rick Riordan Presents, 9781368059633, May, 2021)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

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Becoming Vanessa by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

That first day of school can be hard on anyone, but especially if your name is looonnng, AND has two s’s, and if your style is a little more colorful than your new classmates. But no matter what, it is important to be yourself. Stunning illustrations reminiscent of the brilliant Molly Bang bring this important ‘first day of school” book to life This one is a Must-have for rising kindergartners.

Becoming Vanessa by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (List Price: $17.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780525582120, 6/15/2021)

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

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What Will You Be? by Yamile Saied Méndez, Kate Alizadeh (Illus.)

What Will You Be? is the story of a young girl who asks her abuela what she will be when she grows up. Told through vibrant illustrations that capture her grandmother’s love for painting, the little girl dreams of all the things she might be. I love when she dreams of different careers, like a builder or a healer, she also recognizes all the good that she could bring to world. A must-read for career storytimes!

What Will You Be? by Yamile Saied Méndez, Kate Alizadeh (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, HarperCollins, 9780062839954, 5/4/2021)

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

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Like a Dandelion by Huy Voun Lee, Huy Voun Lee (Illus.)

Like a Dandelion is a beautiful story of a young girl immigrating to a new country. Based on the author’s personal immigration story, the journey is told in likeness to the life of a dandelion, with the first seeds being planted in unfamiliar soil to the autumn winds that bring new seeds to the neighbor. The bright illustrations bring the story to life! A beautiful book to share with children who have immigrated to a new place and their new friends so they might better understand their new friend’s journey.

Like a Dandelion by Huy Voun Lee, Huy Voun Lee (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062993731, 5/18/2021)

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

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Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster by Manka Kasha

Small Knight’s parents want her to be a princess, but that is the opposite of what she wants, which is to be a knight who goes on adventures. Small Knight worries about telling her parents the truth, and finds that the worry she keeps inside has grown into a dark monster who follows her everywhere. During a quest to find the truth about the monster, Small Knight realizes she has to look inside herself to fight the monster, and although it may never fully go away, she is in control of her destiny and dreams. SMALL KNIGHT AND THE ANXIETY MONSTER is an honest and important book for children.

Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster by Manka Kasha (List Price: $18.99, Feiwel & Friends, 9781250618795, 6/1/2021)

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

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Kafka and the Doll by Larissa Theule, Rebecca Green (Illus.)

Based on a true story, this book will melt your heart! Kafka meets a girl who lost her doll and proceeds to tell her that the doll is simply traveling. For three weeks, Kafka writes letters to the girl from her doll. Absolutely precious with a heartwrenching ending.

Kafka and the Doll by Larissa Theule, Rebecca Green (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593116326, 3/9/2021)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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Clues to the Universe by Christina Li

Benji is a comic-book-loving artist whose dad abruptly left his family. Ro is a list-making rocket scientist whose father tragically died in a car accident. When they team up to build a rocket for Science Fair and Ro becomes determined to track down Benji’s father, the two become friends. I love how one main character is artistic and the other scientific. Lots of fun space science facts in Ro’s chapters. It’s a good blend of personalities and disciplines. The two deal with grief left by their fathers, bullying, and what it means to be a friend to others as well as yourself. I also really enjoyed the plot/character thread of the kids developing a deeper understanding and friendship with a neighbor, Mr. Voltz, who suffers from PTSD as a veteran from WWII & Korean War.Lots of good stuff in this heart-warming story, including Ro embracing her Chinese heritage as a half Chinese, quarter Scottish, quarter Irish, as she describes herself.

Clues to the Universe by Christina Li (List Price: $17.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780063008885, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

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Bubbles . . . Up! by Jacqueline Davies, Sonia Sánchez (Illus.)

A love poem to water and the many things one can do with it, this fun title screams of summer and sun and fun but also of Self-confidence and empowerment. This picture book from “Lemonade War” author Davies is an absolute must for summer reading.

Bubbles . . . Up! by Jacqueline Davies, Sonia Sánchez (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062836618, 5/4/2021)

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

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Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera

CECE RIOS is a beautiful story about finding your inner strength and standing up for what you believe in. Cece witnesses the kidnapping of her older sister, Juana, and vows to rescue her from the realm where dark criaturas live. But it’s discouraging when her entire village thinks she’s cursed with a spirit like Water, in a place where Fire is preferred. Rivera’s world-building is marvelous and her writing hits straight to your heart. As someone who was told “You’re too sensitive,” growing up, this story is so important. Cece loves and feels deeply, she cries when she’s upset, and she is strong because of all of these things. Being fearful doesn’t make you weak, nor does being angry make you strong.

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera (List Price: $16.99, HarperCollins, 9780062947550, 4/13/2021)

Reviewed by Miriam Meeks, Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi

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Jungle Night by Sandra Boynton, Yo-Yo Ma

Nighttime in the Jungle is such a peaceful time. With the Chee chee taaahhh of the Cheetah, the chatter choo of the monkeys and the wheee grunt of the red river hogs, all the animals are sleeping soundly until….. Full of Boynton signature silliness this bedtime book is sure to have young ones calling Again! Again!

Jungle Night by Sandra Boynton, Yo-Yo Ma (List Price: $7.95, Workman Publishing Company, 9781523513604, 3/23/2021)

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

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Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol

When Freda learns how to capture the flavor of summer by making blueberry jam with her grandmother, she wonders what else she can preserve to save for later. Her collecting gets out of control, though, and soon she can’t enjoy any of her favorite things because they are all in jars. Memory Jars is a cute story about living for the day and celebrating the things we have.

Memory Jars by Vera Brosgol (List Price: $18.99, Roaring Brook Press, 9781250314871, 5/11/2021)

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

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Lala’s Words by Gracy Zhang

Lala’s kind words, patience, and maybe just a little bit of magic make a tiny patch of dirt into a beautiful place in this delightful picture book that celebrates kindness, fortitude and gentleness. Perfect for Earth Day or every day, Lala’s Words will inspire young readers to plant seeds of kindness wherever they go.

Lala’s Words by Gracy Zhang (List Price: $18.99, Scholastic Inc., 9781338648232, 4/6/2021)

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

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Tea Time by Beth Ferry, Dana Wulfekotte (Illus.)

Frannie and Grandy have a special day planned together but a punny misunderstanding threatens to ruin their day! Young readers and their adults will delight in this adorable book.

Tea Time by Beth Ferry, Dana Wulfekotte (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9781524741082, 6/1/2021)

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

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King of Ragtime by Stephen Costanza, Stephen Costanza (Illus.)

This book about Scott Joplin is beautifully written and even more beautifully illustrated. I loved the historic details, like the inclusion of the real 1911 sheet music cover of “Maple Leaf Rag”! Scott Joplin is an iconic part of American music history and every child deserves to know his story.

King of Ragtime by Stephen Costanza, Stephen Costanza (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781534410367, 8/24/2021)

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

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My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, Erika Meza (Illus.)

I loved that this picture book introduces young readers to the refugee crisis at the Mexico-US border in a friendly and colorful story. The story doesn’t hide the unfairness, but it ends on an optimistic note.

My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, Erika Meza (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Kokila, 9780593111048, 8/24/2021)

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

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All of Us by Kathryn Erskine, Alexandra Boiger (Illus)

This book would make a great bedtime story! I loved the pictures and the simple message of appreciating everyone’s unique contribution to the world.

All of Us by Kathryn Erskine, Alexandra Boiger (Illus) (List Price: $17.99, Philomel Books, 9780593204696, 5/18/2021)

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

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Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp

With beautiful illustrations and a sweet message about patience and caring, Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog is an awesome picture book for kids 4-8 years old. This is the third “Madeline Finn” book (previous were the Library Dog and the Shelter Dog). In this one, little Madeline helps her dog train to visit nursing home residents and learns that some people need more time to make friends.

Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp (List Price: $17.99, Peachtree Publishing Company, 9781682631492, 9/1/2020)

Reviewed by Serena Wyckoff, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

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Kalamata’s Kitchen by Sarah Thomas, Derek Wallace, Jo Kosmides Edwards (Illus)

Super cute and imaginative read! Kalamata is afraid to start school, but she takes a trip through a magical world of food with her alligator pal Al Dente where she finds her bravery admits the aromas and flavors she loves. It’s adorable and will make you hungry!

Kalamata’s Kitchen by Sarah Thomas, Derek Wallace, Jo Kosmides Edwards (Illus) (List Price: $17.99, Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780593307915, 7/6/2021)

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

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Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott by Joyce Scott, Brie Spangler, Melissa Sweet (Illus.)

Judith Scott was a fiber artist with Down Syndrome; she lived in an institution for 35 years before learning to create mixed media sculptures. I loved this beautifully heartfelt book by Judith’s sister Joyce; I particularly appreciated the reminder that too often we keep people who are different from us at a distance.

Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott by Joyce Scott, Brie Spangler, Melissa Sweet (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780525648116, 6/8/2021)

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

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Clovis Keeps His Cool by Katelyn Aronson, Eve Farb (Illus.)

An adorable take on the classic phrase, Clovis the bull and his precious Granny’s china shop totally stole my heart. It’s a great reminder for everyone at any age that one must practice mindfulness, but if you slip up, it’s okay—you just have to gather yourself up again, keeping calm and kind. Every face on every page is so expressive, and Clovis’ suspenders are too cute. This picture book made my day.

Clovis Keeps His Cool by Katelyn Aronson, Eve Farb (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Page Street Kids, 9781645672135, 8/17/2021)

Reviewed by Amber Brown, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

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Secret, Secret Agent Guy by Kira Bigwood, Celia Krampien (Illus.)

A cute read-aloud story with plenty going on in the pictures to keep little ones intrigued! The surprise ending makes this book extra fun.

Secret, Secret Agent Guy by Kira Bigwood, Celia Krampien (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781534469211, 5/11/2021)

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

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Little Bat in Night School by Brian Lies

This story works on many levels: It’s great for any child nervous about attending school and it’s also a wonderful friendship and kindness story. Plus, all the fun you’ll have explaining why bats go to school at night!

Little Bat in Night School by Brian Lies (List Price: $14.99, HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780358269847, 6/29/2021)

Reviewed by Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Don’t Hug Doug by Carrie Finison, Daniel Wiseman (Illus.)

This is such a cool book!!! It explains body autonomy perfectly for very young children. Not only that, but it does so in a way that would make kids like Doug feel less alone about their preferences. Will definitely be recommending!

Don’t Hug Doug by Carrie Finison, Daniel Wiseman (Illus.) (List Price: $16.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9781984813022, 1/26/2021)

Reviewed by Ellen Linville, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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Over the Shop by JonArno Lawson, Qin Leng (Illus)

This beautiful picture book without words tells a story of welcoming and acceptance. I love that the absence of text allows the reader to make up any story or dialogue they want. The pictures provide so much to talk about, and it would be easy to become so absorbed in this book that the time just passes by.

Over the Shop by JonArno Lawson, Qin Leng (Illus) (List Price: $16.99, Candlewick, 9781536201475, 1/5/2021)

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

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A Father’s Love by Hannah Holt, Yee Von Chan (Illus.)

A father’s love runs deep as roots, shines like the sun, swims strong and true. A father’s love whether in the animal kingdom or the human one, is powerful and true and long lasting. A fun look at the roles of fathers in the animal kingdom, this little gem is perfect for Father’s Day or every day.

A Father’s Love by Hannah Holt, Yee Von Chan (Illus.) (List Price: $8.99, Philomel Books, 9780593206188, 1/5/2021)

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

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Bear Island by Matthew Cordell

There is no one good way to get through any bad time, but after losing her best dog Charlie, Louise retreats to a tiny island near her home where her days are filled with warm sun, quiet animals and time. Time to think and be and find a path forward. A lovely story of healing after loss from picture book wizard Matt Cordell.

Bear Island by Matthew Cordell (List Price: $18.99, Felwel & Friends, 9781250317162, 1/26/2021)

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

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The Whole Hole Story by Vivian McInerny, Ken Lamug (illus.)

Why don’t all “girl clothes” have pockets? Zia’s, fortunately, do. Unfortunately, one has a hole. But oh, the things a good imagination can do with a hole if you just remove it from your pocket! I love Zia’s creativity to make her hole into a place to fish, to swim, for animals to gather, and to catch an elephant too heavy to pull out so they dig through to India!

The Whole Hole Story by Vivian McInerny, Ken Lamug (illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Versify, 9780358128816, 1/12/2021)

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

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A Busy Year by Leo Lionni

Winnie and Willie and Woody are friends. First, as January snow falls on Woody’s branches, later as her branches bloom and even later as her leaves begin to fall, the friends experience all a year has to offer. A fun way to learn about the seasons while also zeroing in on the qualities of a good friend, A Busy Year is a classic that deserves a spot on every child’s bookshelf.

A Busy Year by Leo Lionni (List Price: $8.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593301883, 1/12/2021)

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

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Marsha Is Magnetic by Beth Ferry, Lorena Alvarez (Illus.)

How does a scientist create a party that people want to come to? In Marsha’s case it takes experimentation and the scientific method to draw people to herself with “magnetic” personality! Or “magnets.” Cheerfully busy illustrations of a delightful young maker at work.

Marsha Is Magnetic by Beth Ferry, Lorena Alvarez (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544735842, 1/26/2021)

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

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Grace and Box by Kim Howard, Megan Lotter (Illus.)

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes they come in the mail! Grace and Box is the perfect read-aloud for every child who has enjoyed a long afternoon with a cardboard box, a pack of sharpies and some tape.

Grace and Box by Kim Howard, Megan Lotter (Illus.) (List Price: $18.99, Felwel & Friends, 9781250262943, 1/26/2021)

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

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A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy, Ana Ramírez González (illus.)

Gabo thinks he doesn’t have the right gear for a snowy day, but his family, neighbors, and new friends have enough creativity and radiant joy to keep him warm. This bright, sweet story sparkles with loving community (and fantastic illustrations). A new winter classic!

A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy, Ana Ramírez González (illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781534445345, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Talia Smart, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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Avocado Asks by Momoko Abe

Poor Avocado is thrown for a loop when he hears someone wonder if he is a fruit or a vegetable! Not only is this book ADORABLE, but it also teaches a great lesson about fitting in even if you’re a little bit different. Sometimes being different means standing out and being wonderful! The easy text and fun grocery store illustrations will be fun to revisit during story times.

Avocado Asks by Momoko Abe (List Price: $17.99, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9780593177938, 1/26/2021)

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

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The Beak Book by Robin Page

I love a book that takes an impossibly large topic (in this case: birds) and simplifies it in a way that allows a young reader to meet several different examples through one method of comparison (in this case: beaks). Each bird’s beak is introduced by explaining what the bird uses it for. It’s a great way to find out how birds are different from each other while still being super accessible. The illustrations are gorgeous and the two-page spread in the back that shows where each bird lives is a nice touch!

The Beak Book by Robin Page, Robin Page (Illus) (List Price: $17.99, Beach Lane Books, 9781534460416, January, 2021)

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

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Thesaurus Has a Secret by Anya Glazer, Anya Glazer (Illus.)

Young readers will savor, relish, treasure and adore this charming book about a dinosaur who, well, loves books. All Thesaurus needs to make him happy is a good book, a comfy spot and some peace and quiet. He makes books look so interesting, the other dinosaurs just might join him! This one’s sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Thesaurus Has a Secret by Anya Glazer, Anya Glazer (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062916051, 10/6/2020)

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

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Peter Easter Frog by Erin Dealey, G. Brian Karas (Illus.)

Who says Bunnies should have all the fun? HIppity Hoppity Pete the Easter… FROG is here to help out the Bunny any way he can. A fun holiday story of kindness, sharing and friends with a few giggle-inducing surprises along the way.

Peter Easter Frog by Erin Dealey, G. Brian Karas (Illus.) (List Price: $9.99, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781481464895, 1/19/2021)

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

image file: 9781481464895.jpg
buy link: https://www.thecountrybookshop.biz/book/9781481464895

Who says Bunnies should have all the fun? HIppity Hoppity Pete the Easter… FROG is here to help out the Bunny any way he can. A fun holiday story of kindness, sharing and friends with a few giggle-inducing surprises along the way.

Peter Easter Frog by Erin Dealey, G. Brian Karas (Illus.) (List Price: $9.99, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781481464895, 1/19/2021)

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

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I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi

Oh my goodness, this is the sweetest thing I have read in quite a while. It just makes me want to gather my 3 year old to sit in my lap and read ” I will love you til the cows come home, from a trip to mars through skies unknown, in a rocket ship made of glass and stone… I will love you til the cows come home.

I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home Board Book by Kathryn Cristaldi
(List Price: $7.99, HarperFestival, 12/15/2020)

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

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Julia’s House Moves On by Ben Hatke

A Fall 2020 Read This Next! Title
First Second/Macmillan 9781250191373
September 29, 2020

Julia and her house full of fantastic friends are back for another sweet adventure, from #1 New York Times-bestselling author Ben Hatke.

Julia’s house is restless.

Julia and her family of lost creatures are ready to move on. But where will they go? And how will they get there?

Don’t worry—Julia has a plan for that! Julia always has a plan. But when Julia’s plans all fail…

What’s left for her?

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Winter Is Here by Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek

When winter comes it comes soft like snowfall and hard like leaves frozen in ice. Winter comes white and gray and deep deep blue. From husband and wife team of Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek, Winter is Here is the companion to the lovely When Spring Comes and is the perfect introduction to the seasons for young readers.

Winter Is Here by Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek
(List Price: $8.99, Greenwillow Books, 11/3/2020)
Recommended by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

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Short & Sweet by Josh Funk

Dig into another adventure with your favorite breakfast foods in Short & Sweet. Another rhyme-tastic adventure, this time with our heroes shrunk down to size and the newly reformed Baron Von Waffle working to save the day. This series is pure fun and every illustration provides plenty of goofs to keep everyone entertained. Pass the syrup and settle in!

Short & Sweet by Josh Funk, (List Price: 16.95, Sterling Children’s Books, 9781454934271, September 2020)

Reviewed by Sami Thomason, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

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After Squidnight by Jonathan E. Fenske

A Fall 2020 Read This Next! Title

I can’t get over this weird and wonderful rhyming squid story. I love it for its nod to 1950s sci-fi creatures and its multi-seasonal appeal to booksellers. Summer? It’s got a beach! Halloween? Definitely! But it also works year-round. It’s a little creepy but not scary and LOL funny, but also full of heart. Jonathan Fenske’s rhythmic text will be a crowd-pleasing read-aloud, while his pared down palette sets the stage for seaside hijinks. The message to young creators is that art cannot be suppressed. It’s sneaky and subversive! Inky and inevitable! Artists, like these surreptitious squid, make their mark on the world long after they have slipped quietly into the deep, leaving the observer to wonder what happened–and when, if they’re lucky–it might happen again…

After Squidnight by Jonathan E. Fenske (List price: $12.99, Penguin Workshop), recommended by Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC.

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