The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Emotions & Feelings

What’s Sweeter by June Tate

One of my favorite picture books of the last couple years, this debut from June Tate is like a warm hug in a book. A playful book about appreciating the smaller things and slowing down, it’s quirky and cute yet modern. The illustrations are my favorite, there’s a nostalgic feeling to the drawing style that just makes this book even better and reminds me of what I grew up with. Lots of love for this tiny treat of a book.

What’s Sweeter by June Tate, (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, December 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Begin Again by Emma Lord

A January 2023 Read This Next! Title

Emma Lord brings the feels in her new novel, Begin Again. Andie didn’t get into her first choice college with her boyfriend, but she has a plan. She works really hard and ends up getting in as a transfer student after her first semester at community college. The problem is that she planned her transfer as a surprise for her boyfriend….who did the same thing, transferring to the school Andie WAS at.

Begin Again by Emma Lord (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250783363, January 2023)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholke

What a beautiful unfolding of sisterly love! Beatrice Likes the Dark reinforces the wisdom so difficult to impart on young hearts: It is what makes us uniquely different, that also makes us uniquely lovable. The book is sitting on my Grandma shelf–ready to share with my own darlings.

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholke (List Price: $18.95, Algonquin Young Readers, 9781643751573, September 2022)

Reviewed by Annell Gerson, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

This Story Is Not About a Kitten by Randall de Sève

An October 2022 Read This Next! Title

Many hands make light work, and many hearts working together can accomplish great things. This is not a story about a kitten, its a story about community, the language of caring, and of the incredible powers of kindness group effort can bring.

This Story Is Not About a Kitten by Randall de Sève, (List Price: $18.99, Random House Studio, 9780593374535, October 2022)

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

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholke

Far and away one of my favorite picture books of the year! Beatrice Likes the Dark is a beautifully illustrated, sweet story of sisterhood. Each page is full of heart and whimsical detail. Your inner baby goth or any year-round halloween lovers in your life will need to own this one!

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholke (List Price: $18.95, Algonquin Young Readers, 9781643751573, September 2022)

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

Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig

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

Amos McGee Misses the Bus by Philip C. Stead

I loved the first Amos McGee so much, and admired his clockwork schedule. In this return to Amos’s animal-filled world, though, the schedule goes awry when he stays up late planning a surprise outing and misses his morning bus to work. In the Steads’ gentle, compassionate (and lightly humorous) trademark style, Amos’s friends help him rest and reset, creating a day full of nice surprises. This lovable, heartwarming sequel is just as pitch-perfect as the first.

Amos McGee Misses the Bus by Philip C. Stead, (List Price: $18.99, Roaring Brook Press, 9781250213228, November 2021)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia


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

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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