The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
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
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
This beautiful tale is cleverly oozling with allegory–but it boils down to a simple message: knowledge, education, and the written word are power, kindness matters, and together we are stronger. Kelly Barnhill has crafted a masterpiece chock full of mistrusting citizens in a ruined village, an ogress with a big heart, orphans who pay attention, crows with a language of their own, a scarily charismatic mayor who isn’t who he seems, and an unnoticed stone at the heart of it all. This reader was thoroughly bedazzled and charmed by its brilliance.
The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill, (List Price: $28, Algonquin Young Readers, 9781643750743, February 2022)
Reviewed by Damita Nocton from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
Perfect for middle readers with a sense of adventure, this book is a fun ride from the first page! The mystery of learning the identity and nature of the Enemy is captivating, and the tight bonds between both friends and siblings are explored beautifully. I’d absolutely recommend this book to young readers, and I hope to see more from this author, and in this world!
Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray, (List Price: $17.99, HarperCollins, 9780063043114, December 2021)
Reviewed by Kate Wilder, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia
Small Knight’s parents want her to be a princess, but that is the opposite of what she wants, which is to be a knight who goes on adventures. Small Knight worries about telling her parents the truth, and finds that the worry she keeps inside has grown into a dark monster who follows her everywhere. During a quest to find the truth about the monster, Small Knight realizes she has to look inside herself to fight the monster, and although it may never fully go away, she is in control of her destiny and dreams. SMALL KNIGHT AND THE ANXIETY MONSTER is an honest and important book for children.
Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster by Manka Kasha (List Price: $18.99, Feiwel & Friends, 9781250618795, 6/1/2021)
Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
A Fall 2020 Read This Next! Title
A lovely story about accepting change and chaos. Sometimes we can make the best plans and things will still go awry-but as Julia learns, that’s why we have friends and family to help us put things back together again. Hatke’s illustrations of fantastical creatures are gorgeous and so is kind, determined Julia.
Julia’s House Moves On by Ben Hatke (List Price $18.99, First Second, September 2020)
Reviewed by Sami Thomason-Fyke, Square Books in Oxford, MS