The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Children

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 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 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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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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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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