The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Emigration & Immigration

While You Were Dreaming by Alisha Rai

Alisha Rai tackles YA in her new RomCom about a teen who goes viral for saving her crush, but is desperate to remain anonymous. You’ve got a love triangle and some fake dating! What’s not to like? Sonia just wants to lay low. Her mom has been deported and Sonia is determined to fly under the radar. But when cosplaying for an event, she sees her crush fall into the water and dives in to save him. Injured, Sonia flees when two others appear to help. The last thing she needs is police involvement.

While You Were Dreaming by Alisha Rai, (List Price: $19.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780063083967, March 2023)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed

I love this book!! And I’m so glad it exists. My first grader is having all kinds of big thoughts about her name and how it is spelled or pronounced and the same for all of her friends’ names, too. It’s a great conversation starter for discussing how fun and vibrant it is to embrace our differences and how important it is to ask for and give respect to each other, too..

That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed, (List Price: $17.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593405178, July 2022)

Reviewed by Cristina Russell, Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs

I read this Fourth of July weekend which was the perfect book to give me a different perspective on what America means to a family fleeing a war-torn country in search of a better life. Dobbs’ great-grandmother inspired this heart-wrenching, incredible story of 12 yo Petra Luna’s “barefoot dreams” of learning to read and write and protecting her family. I loved the earnest determination and bravery of Petra, her closeness with her 2 younger siblings, and how her abuelita taught her to listen to the natural world to survive the harsh desert conditions to make their way to the U.S. border. It was such a beautiful mix of mythology and holding tight to dreams. The war brutality was presented realistically–the danger wasn’t glossed over, but instead presented in a child-thoughtful way. I learned so much about a time in history that I didn’t know much about. My 10-year-old daughter and I highly recommend!

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna by Alda P. Dobbs, (List Price: 17.99, Sourcebooks Young Readers, 9781728234656, September 2021)

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

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

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

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Inspired by Argentinian myth, this coming-of-age tale is packed with magic, friendship, and adventure as Manu tries to find her place in a world where she has always felt unwanted only to stumble into a new one altogether. Intriguing from the very start, Garber writes a story comprised of lovable characters, relevant social commentary, and just enough mystery to always keep you guessing.

Lobizona by Romina Garber (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250239129, 8/4/2020)

Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Parachutes by Kelly Yand

Parachutes is a story I won’t soon forget. This coming-of-age tale is told from the perspectives of teenagers Dani and Claire as they find their worlds turned upside down. Claire is ripped from her wealthy life in Shanghai to attend a high school in California where Dani is her new host sister. Claire finds herself quickly immersed in a new group of friends as she tries to adjust to her new life. But debate star Dani De La Cruz has problems of her own, and the two don’t exactly hit it off. However, they eventually find themselves leaning on one another as they tackle situations too big to handle alone.

Parachutes by Kelly Yand (List Price: $18.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062941084, 5/26/2020)

Reviewed by Asia Harden, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

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