The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!


The Book of Stolen Dreams by David Farr

Just delightful! A charming narrative with colorful characters, a magic book, a mad dictator, and heroic kids, pretty much everything you need for an enchanting story.

The Book of Stolen Dreams by David Farr, (List Price: 18.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781665922579, May 2023)

Reviewed by Melissa Taylor, E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia

A First Guide to Dogs: Understanding Your Very Best Friend by John Bradshaw

This is a fantastic book to give to a young reader who’s about to get their first dog! This book follows a day in the life of a terrier named Rusty, explaining how dogs live in the World of Smells, how dogs like to greet each other, how they communicate with us, and why they don’t like to be left alone. It’s very cute and fun to read and packed with important information!

A First Guide to Dogs: Understanding Your Very Best Friend by John Bradshaw, (List Price: 7.99, Penguin Workshop, 9780593521830, June 2023)

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

Bruce and the Legend of Soggy Hollow by Ryan T. Higgins

I literally jumped up and down when we received this! Bruce’s friends don’t know why he doesn’t want to celebrate Halloween. But they get him to give out candy and have fun in only the way that Grumpy Bears can have. The Bruce books are a favorite. This time for a grumpy, hilarious Halloween picture book that will keep you in stitches. Bruce’s friends don’t know why he doesn’t want to celebrate Halloween. But they get him to give out candy and have fun in only the way that Grumpy Bears can have. The Bruce books are a favorite

Bruce and the Legend of Soggy Hollow by Ryan T. Higgins, (List Price: 18.99, Disney Hyperion, 9781368059589, July 2023)

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

The Best Bad Day Ever by Marianna Coppo

The Best Bad Day Ever is a precious children’s book about how even on the worst days, things can turn around for the better. For Wolfie, everything is going wrong today: his cookies are short on chocolate chips, his toothpaste tingles his tongue too much, the sky is "full" of clouds, and even his sidekick Pepito is grumpy. No one understands Wolfie, except for a new friend named Penguin who may just turn the day around. Between the tender message and the adorable yet hysterical illustrations, this is truly the definition of a warm and fuzzy read.

The Best Bad Day Ever by Marianna Coppo, (List Price: $18.99, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 9780711283343, July 2023)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

When Rubin Plays by Gracey Zhang

A July 2023 Read This Next! Book

Beautiful music is in the ear of the beholder and in this stunning picture book from the author/illustrator of LaLa’s words, that ear is a chorus of cats! Both a celebration of music and of new musicians, this one is sure to become a storytime favorite.

When Rubin Plays by Gracey Zhang, (List Price: $18.99, Orchard Books, 9781338648263, July 2023)

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

Snug as a Bug? by Karl Newson

A hilarious read that had me giggling with every page!

Poor bug has quite the day dodging one creature after another. Just when you think bug is safe- WHAM they find themselves in another pickle.

The repeating phrase and rhyming words are sure to make this a fun read aloud for children of all ages. It is sure to be a story time favorite.

Snug as a bug indeed!

Snug as a Bug? by Karl Newson, (List Price: 18.99, Happy Yak, 9780711274860, June 2023)

Reviewed by Michelle Weiler, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Mighty Bite by Nathan Hale

A trilobite has a dream to become famous and it gets silly from there; what’s not to love? Nathan Hale has crafted a delightfully wacky, hilarious, and clever graphic novel filled with ape gods, extinct animals, Amber the walking whale, a video-making contest, and a floating talking cat head. Pure fun!

The Mighty Bite by Nathan Hale, (List Price: 14.99, Harry N. Abrams, 9781419765537, April 2023)

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

Spotlight on: Greenwild by Pari Thomson


Pari Thomson, photo credit Pari Thomson

I’m lucky enough to live near Kew Gardens, a huge botanical garden in London, and I’ve always loved walking through its magnificent glasshouses. Some of the plants there are stranger than fiction – tiny hairy pink bananas, giant lily-pads big enough for a person to lie down on, and poisonous flytraps that sense movement in the air around them. I’ve always thought that plants are a little bit magic, and I wanted to take that idea and run with it. What if plants really WERE magic? What would a magical garden look like? Writing Greenwild was an opportunity for me to explore that world and make it feel real. ― Pari Thomson, Interview, MacKids School & Library

Greenwild by Pari Thomson

What booksellers are saying about Greenwild

  • Greenwild is pure magic in every sense of the word. From the immediate ‘hook’ in the prologue, the story grabs you and never lets go for an instant. The world-building of the Greenwild is reminiscent of Harry Potter (in all the best ways), but the plant magic wielded by the Botanists was refreshingly original and utterly captivating.
      ― Kate Snyder from Plaid Elephant Books in Danville, KY | Buy from Plaid Elephant Books

  • Greenwild is a brilliant magical adventure that gave me the Harry Potter feelings in all the best ways. The characters are lovable and diverse. The magic is novel and timely. The illustrations are gorgeous. My only complaint is that I need the next book stat.
      ―Melissa Taylor from E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA | Buy from E. Shaver Booksellers

  • There are so many magical middle grade novels out there, but this one felt so unique and so beautiful. Greenwild is a combination of the power of nature, community, and found family. The world building was fast, easy, and addicting. I wanted more and more of Mallowmarsh! It was the type of world that makes you want to jump right in and make it your home as well. Then you have Daisy, who is a main character , in search of her mother and ancestry. Daisy is confident, smart, and someone you want as your best friend. Greenwild was fantastic! Can’t wait for number two! 
      ―Olivia Schaffer from The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA | Buy from The Bookshelf

  • Go green gets a whole new meaning in this Botanical Fantasy where a stray cat, a missing mother, and a dandelion paperweight are Daisy Thistledown’s ticket into a world of green magic…. even without a grassport. This one is just perfect for fans of Morrigan Crow, Keeper of Lost Cities and The Marvellers.
      ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC | Buy from The Country Bookshop

About Pari Thomson

Pari Thomson works as a Senior Commissioning Editor for picture books at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Half Persian, half English, she lived in many places while she was growing up, including India, Pakistan, the USA, the UK and Belgium. She studied at Oxford University and now lives near the river in London, not far from Kew Gardens. @PariThomson on Twitter.


Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

"Daddy’s joy is bigger than him. It’s a wide, gap-toothed smile and a deep rumbling laugh that shakes the dinner table kind of joy."How can a book that begins this way not be wonderful? And it is. Muhammad receives a prayer rug for his 7th birthday and is nervous about what others will think of him observing salat at school. Heartwarming and significant, this is picture book perfection.

Salat in Secret by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, (List Price: $18.99, Random House Studio, 9781984848093, June 2023)

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

Cape by Kevin Johnson

A June 2023 Read This Next! Title

A touching story about grief. Losing someone is never easy and often we never know what to do with those feelings. Cape shows us the beauty of remembering someone we’ve lost and how through remembrances we can find some peace.

Cape by Kevin Johnson, (List Price: 18.99, Roaring Brook Press, 9781250840509, June 2023)

Reviewed by Keeshia Jacklitch, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

A beautiful book that made my heart ache in the best ways. Another masterpiece from Applegate that teaches us a little about ourselves while weaving a tree and the community where it lives.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate, (List Price: 8.99, Square Fish, 9781250233899, March 2023)

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

Monster Camp by Sarah Henning

Ghost stories around the fire are almost requisite activities at most summer camps, but what if you realized that the monsters at your camp were actually your fellow campers? That’s just what happens to Sylvie in this hilarious slightly spooky summer sleepaway tale that’s the perfect read for a long summer night.

Monster Camp by Sarah Henning, (List Price: 17.99, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781665930055, May 2023)

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

Slow Down and Be Here Now by Laura Brand

Frog tongues, dandelion puffs, snowflakes, All wonders of the world. This charming giftable nature guide/storybook encourages readers to slow down and enjoy all the amazing things in the natural world.

Slow Down and Be Here Now by Laura Brand, (List Price: 22.99, Magic Cat, 9781419765971, March 2023)

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

The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers

This is the story of Johannes, a wild dog who lives in the park. He runs his round because he is the Eyes for the keeper of the Equilibrium. He decides one day to gain a greater purpose and free his friends the bison. Though for children, I think this story would be enjoyed by anyone who has ever run and felt faster than the sun. Johannes is absolutely endearing, arrogant, feral, and free. Above all else, he’s free and wonderful. I found myself elated with every triumph and breathless with every close call. I loved it and was in tears by the beauty of the writing at the end. I absolutely cannot wait to recommend this to everyone I know. "To be alive is to go forth. So we go forth." Don’t let Johannes slip by you! He’s faster than light, so it might be hard.

The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers, (List Price: $18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781524764203, May 2023)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story On the Square in McDonough, Georgia

Scroll to Top