The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
Kids turned superheroes. A lost dog. A magical train. A friendship that can save the city. Etta Invincible, told in scenes of written chapters and comic book pages, tells the story of Etta and Eleazar as they search for a lost dog and face the overwhelming sights and sounds, quirky characters, and magical foes all in their city of Chicago.
Etta Invincible by Reese Eschmann, (List Price: $17.99, Aladdin, 9781534468375, July 2022)
Reviewed by Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida
A great reminder that our hearts are bigger than our worries. As adults we sometimes forget how kids struggle with big feelings they don’t always understand. This book is great to start the conversation about emotional awareness and other social emotional skills that are important for kids to be successful in school and life.
Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig, (List Price: $18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593306376, June 2022)
Reviewed by Lupe Penn, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Such an important message, beautifully told in Free at Last, A Juneteenth Poem. I hope this picture book depicting such an important part of our history is shared widely in homes and schools.
Free at Last by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, (List Price: $17.99, Union Square Kids, 9781454943747, June 2022)
Reviewed by Jessica Nock from Main Street Books in Davidson, NC
I love the concept behind this adorable story. We’re big fans of recycling, reusing and giving new life to old things in our household, and I think anyone open to the idea would enjoy having this book in their at-home story time rotation.
Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress by Leanne Hatch, (List Price: $17.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593354483, June 2022)
Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida
A June 2022 Read This Next! Title!
If ever a book has gotten new parenthood spot on, its " I am a Baby." This one should be a required gift at every baby shower, because when there’s a new baby around, you’ve got to laugh at all the ways the world changes for everyone!
I Am a Baby by Bob Shea, (List Price: 17.99, Candlewick, 9781536218329, 9781536218329, June 2022)
Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina
Osmo has always dreamed of Somewhere Else, somewhere that he can be himself and fee like he belongs, but his town has rules (very good rules, for very good reasons…probably) that keep everyone where they’re supposed to be and out of the magical woods where the supposedly fearsome Quidnunx live. But then Osmo’s mom kills a Quidnunk, and Osmo has to journey to the land of the dead to make amends. He makes new friends (a rude skadgebat and a lonely pangirlin) and has new experiences, but ultimately his quest is to understand. This book will speak to your feelings and live in your heart like all the best stories do. Fans of Kelly Barnhill will love this, and readers of Valente’s Fairyland books won’t be disappointed.
Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods by Catherynne M. Valente, (List Price: $17.99, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781481476997, April 2022)
Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina
Ryan Hart is headed to sleepaway camp where she faces some friendship challenges, but even that may be easier than going home to the new baby that’s on its way. Ramona Quimby for a new generation, Ryan Hart is a young, optimistic black girl navigating a changing world with style. This series really has staying power.
Ways to Grow Love by Renée Watson, (List Price: $7.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781547609963, April 2022)
Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina
A middle grade fantasy novel with magical trains, a magical submarine, an apartment in the sky, a missing uncle, talking animals, endangered species and rewilding? Yes, please! This series is proof that kids can learn about current day issues in novels. Not that any of us in the industry need convincing of this, but this series does it effortlessly. Brilliant! Can’t wait for more!
The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman, (List Price: $35, Little Brown and Company, 9780316283540, May 2022)
Reviewed by Jill Naylor, Novel in Memphis, Tennessee
Art museums are wonderful places of discovery and this collection of 20 famous pieces is a great way to bring all the world’s great art museums into one spot. This little gem is the perfect introduction to art for novices of a tender age.
The National Menagerie of Art by Thaïs Vanderheyden, (List Price: $12.95, Prestel Junior, 9783791375090, April 2022)
Reviewed by Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina
A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection
When Celia Cleary “comes of age” in her magical family, she inherits a gift for prophecy–and all the problems that come with it. While The Problem with Prophecies raises questions about fate, free will, and magic, it is at its core a sweet story about family, friendship, and first crushes. Scott Reintgen writes insightfully about the liminal space between childhood and adolescence.
The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen, (List Price: $17.99, Aladdin, 9781665903578, May 2022)
Reviewed by Heather Jeziorowski from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia
I finished this book in three days, and it did NOT feel like it took me that amount of time. It felt like time stood still as I read through the whole book, which I guess in kind of ironic, considering the book’s themes.I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well written and captivating. The world was both mysterious and filled to the brim with lore. And the themes hit hard and were still realistic; I truly believed in every characters motivation and cause.I would happily read a sequel or prequel to this book, or even something entirely unrelated, if it was from this author. The way the world was described and the author’s writing style was both unique and perfectly fitting for this book. A wonderful read, and I would gladly spend my time reading this book again!
The Prince of Nowhere by Rochelle Hassan, (List Price: $16.99, HarperCollins, 9780063054608, May 2022)
Reviewed by Mandolin Moore, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia
My absolute favorite thing about this book is that it pulls no punches towards its antagonist, a thinly-veiled caricature of the star of a certain Bo Burnham song, and it is oh so satisfying to see him get the kind of comeuppance we can only dream about on this side of the page. Besides that, this middle-grade adventure through Chicagoland has an endearing set of characters who all learn something about the world being a little bigger and more complicated than they think it is, but not so big and complicated that they can’t handle. I also loved how much fun all the locations throughout the Chicago area were!
Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese, (List Price: $17.99, Scholastic Press, 9781338743241, April 2022)
Reviewed by Akil Guruparan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia
What a great way to share with a young child why they are different and why they matter. Colin learns he was chosen and was adopted into a family of loving people. Great colorful illustrations and a wonderful message. For kids and adults
I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick, (List Price: $18.99, Scholastic Inc., 9781338789621, April 2022)
Reviewed by Gina Norris, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina
Hundred Years of Happiness is a remarkable picture book. Teeming with stunning illustrations and storytelling, this book tugs at the heartstrings. I adored the mixture of family, culture, and food at the center of this story. The inclusion of the recipe at the end of the book was such a fun surprise!
Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lai, (List Price: $17.99, HarperCollins, 9780063026926, April 2022)
Reviewed by Lauren Kean, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
An April Read This Next! Book
This thoughtful & fast-paced book will open children’s eyes to the plight of homeless families. It also demystifies the appeal of learning to play a musical instrument. Overall, it’s a well-crafted celebration of friendship and how kindness & determination can enact real change.
A Duet For Home by Karina Yan Glaser, (List Price: $16.99, Clarion Books, 9780544876408, April 2022)
Reviewed by Maggie Robe, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina