The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Juvenile Fiction

J.R. Silver Writes Her World by Melissa Dassori

Take a Mary Poppins-esque teacher who definitely knows more than she’s letting on, her inherited collection of seemingly magical New Yorker covers that are supposed to inspire creative writing projects, and a pair of best friends whose friendship is changing as they start middle school and you’ve got J.R. Silver Writes Her World. I loved all the little nods in here to “From the Mixed-Up Files” and the Met.

J.R. Silver Writes Her World by Melissa Dassori, (List Price: 6.99, Christy Ottaviano Books, 9780316331456, July 2022)

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

Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe: A Graphix Chapters Book (Mimi #1) by Shauna J. Grant

Cuteness explosion! This precious kid’s graphic novel follows gap-toothed, pigtails-wearing Mimi and her magical toy dog Penelope. Mimi is all things cute, yellow rain boots, pink tutus, and bows and hearts and she loves it! Until it starts to get in the way, you can’t be cute and help, you can’t be cute and get messy when you play, and Mimi has had enough of the cute! Her solution? Become a superhero of course! Can Mimi prove everyone wrong and show that you can be cute and also be the best superhero in the universe?

Mimi and the Cutie Catastrophe: A Graphix Chapters Book (Mimi #1) by Shauna J. Grant, (List Price: $17.99, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9781338766660, July 2022)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Everything in Its Place by Pauline David-Sax

This is a quiet and sweet story that’s perfect for readers of all ages; it truly feels like a picture book for any reader. It perfectly captures the way books can cure loneliness. I loved the combination of collage and colored-pencil illustrations.

Everything in Its Place by Pauline David-Sax, (List Price: $17.99, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9780593378823, July 2022)

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

The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson

One of the best things about reading is when you discover a book that brings back wonderful memories of childhood favorites. The Star That Always Stays made me remember two of my favorite books: Heidi and The Girl of the Limberlost. Norvia, the young heroine of The Star That Always Stays, and the young girls from these older stories long for love, acceptance and a true home. They face adversity and feel despair at times at a lack of control over their lives. Yet their strong faith, persistence in pursuing an education, and kind words from others around them sustain them and help them overcome the hardships in their lives. Norvia’s Ojibwe family and the pre-WWI setting provide a great background to this young woman growing up in 1914 Michigan. This is a new classic in the making and I hope we will have more stories about Norvia and her extended family.

The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson, (List Price: $17.99, Holiday House, 9780823450404, July 2022)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

Etta Invincible by Reese Eschmann

Kids turned superheroes. A lost dog. A magical train. A friendship that can save the city. Etta Invincible, told in scenes of written chapters and comic book pages, tells the story of Etta and Eleazar as they search for a lost dog and face the overwhelming sights and sounds, quirky characters, and magical foes all in their city of Chicago.

Etta Invincible by Reese Eschmann, (List Price: $17.99, Aladdin, 9781534468375, July 2022)

Reviewed by Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Florida

Berry Song by Michaela Goade

A July 2022 Read This Next! Title

This beautiful ode to family and land and the indelible connection between them is a delight to read. Rhythmic text and soft, bright illustrations bring the foraging Tlingit family’s love for each other and the land they inhabit to vivid life. Berry Song is full of love, gratitude, and reciprocity, and is an essential book for all ages.

Berry Song by Michaela Goade, (List Price: $18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316494175, July 2022)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp from Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA

Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress by Leanne Hatch

I love the concept behind this adorable story. We’re big fans of recycling, reusing and giving new life to old things in our household, and I think anyone open to the idea would enjoy having this book in their at-home story time rotation.

Rosie and the Pre-Loved Dress by Leanne Hatch, (List Price: $17.99, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593354483, June 2022)

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

I Am a Baby by Bob Shea

A June 2022 Read This Next! Title!

If ever a book has gotten new parenthood spot on, its " I am a Baby." This one should be a required gift at every baby shower, because when there’s a new baby around, you’ve got to laugh at all the ways the world changes for everyone!

I Am a Baby by Bob Shea, (List Price: 17.99, Candlewick, 9781536218329, 9781536218329, June 2022)

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

Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods by Catherynne M. Valente

Osmo has always dreamed of Somewhere Else, somewhere that he can be himself and fee like he belongs, but his town has rules (very good rules, for very good reasons…probably) that keep everyone where they’re supposed to be and out of the magical woods where the supposedly fearsome Quidnunx live. But then Osmo’s mom kills a Quidnunk, and Osmo has to journey to the land of the dead to make amends. He makes new friends (a rude skadgebat and a lonely pangirlin) and has new experiences, but ultimately his quest is to understand. This book will speak to your feelings and live in your heart like all the best stories do. Fans of Kelly Barnhill will love this, and readers of Valente’s Fairyland books won’t be disappointed.

Osmo Unknown and the Eightpenny Woods by Catherynne M. Valente, (List Price: $17.99, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 9781481476997, April 2022)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman

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

The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

When Celia Cleary “comes of age” in her magical family, she inherits a gift for prophecy–and all the problems that come with it. While The Problem with Prophecies raises questions about fate, free will, and magic, it is at its core a sweet story about family, friendship, and first crushes. Scott Reintgen writes insightfully about the liminal space between childhood and adolescence.

The Problem with Prophecies by Scott Reintgen, (List Price: $17.99, Aladdin, 9781665903578, May 2022)

Reviewed by Heather Jeziorowski from Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia

Nigel and the Moon by Antwan Eady

Nigel and the Moon will make your heart swell in the best way! Sure to be a beloved book, Nigel’s story resonates deeply with those who are scared to share their dreams. When Nigel looks up at the moon, anything is possible; but in school he’s hesitant to share. Career week in school is tricky when you want to be an astronaut, dancer, and a superhero! I loved Nigel and his story, and applaud Antwan Eady on this superb debut!

Nigel and the Moon byAntwan Eady, (List Price: $17.99, Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063056282, February 2022)

Reviewed by Lauren Kean from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina


Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray

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

Let’s Be Friends by Violet Lemay

Violet represents so many different types of people in this magical picture book. In the end we are more alike than we think. Cute fun illustrations and happiness throughout this book make a a winner

Let’s Be Friends by Violet Lemay, (List Price: $8.99, HarperFestival, 9780063045972, December 2021)

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

Another Kind by Trevor Bream

Trevor Bream and Cait May deliver an absolutely delightful story with Another Kind. This novel follows the adventures of six cryptid kids who are trying to find their way to a place they can be their selves and call home. I fell in love with these kids and I was rooting for them every step of the way! The art is beautiful and I cannot wait to order this for the story with its wide release. Not only do we have a beautifully diverse cast, we also have some nonbinary representation with one of the kids realizing that is what they are. Handled delicately and honestly without it taking away from the focus of the story, there’s plenty of moments like this that will charm any reader.


Another Kind by Trevor Bream, (List Price: 22.99, HarperAlley, 9780063043541, October 2021)

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


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