The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Children

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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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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