The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Juvenile Fiction

Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, Stephanie Yue (Illus

This graphic novel is perfect for anyone who loves cats! I love a good superhero comic, but this one was extra special in that the line between superhero and supervillain was blurred. Katie is just trying to make enough money to attend camp, but she soon starts to speculate about what her new boss might be doing on her night shift. 217 cat sidekicks make this comic a purr-fect read!

Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, Stephanie Yue (Illus (List Price: $12.99, Random House Books for Young Readers, 9781984895639, 1/5/2021)

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

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The Sea in Winter by Christine Day

When Maisie injures her knee, she is forced to take a break from her one true love…ballet. After she convinces her mom and stepdad that she is recovered enough to go on a family hiking trip, things don’t go her way, and she is left questioning what is truly important in life. Throughout her struggle with priorities, loss, and friendships, her family stands by her side and sees her through it, and she discovers that with a little bit of hope and a different perspective, she can weather any storm life throws at her. A very sweet story!

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day (List Price: $16.99, Heartdrum, 9780062872043, 1/5/2021)

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

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A Cat Story by Ursula Murray Husted

This graphic novel follows two strays as they journey to find a utopian garden for cats. A quiet garden where all cats are welcome, there’s enough food for all, and the humans are kind. I also want to find that garden, honestly. The moral of the middle grade is that home and happiness are wherever you make it. It’s both sweet and optimistic. Kids will love the devotion between the two “catagonists,” and I enjoyed the art.

A Cat Story by Ursula Murray Husted (List Price: $12.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780062932044, 10/6/2020)

Reviewed by Jenny Luper, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

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Cinders & Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann

Cinders & Sparrows is so perfectly atmospheric and spooky! I loved rooting for Zita as she came into her powers and her self-confidence, all while unpuzzling the many mysteries of her new home.

Cinders & Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann (List Price: $16.99, Greenwillow Books, 9780062289957, 10/13/2020)

Reviewed by Itinerant Literate, Itinerant Literate Books, LLC in North Charleston, South Carolina

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Root Magic by Eden Royce

Root Magic is an own-voices magical realism story about two Gullah Geechee twins, Jezebel and Jay, who start to learn rootwork from their uncle after their grandmother’s passing in 1963. A perfect blend of historical fiction, supernatural fantasy, and a classic story of family and friendship, ROOT MAGIC will capture readers, teleporting them to the mysterious marsh inhabited by supernatural beings. Scarier than hags, though, is a local white police officer who has taken to threatening the Turner family. Luckily, Jezebel’s growing affinity for rootwork may save the day. This magical book is sure to be one of my favorites for young readers!

Root Magic by Eden Royce (List Price: $16.99, Walden Pond Press, 9780062899576, 1/5/2021)

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

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Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

This is the start of a brilliant new middle grade fantasy series. Move over, Harry Potter. It’s time for some #blackgirlmagic. This was a super fun read but also touches on racism and class issues with a deft hand. Can’t wait for the next one!

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston (List Price: $1.99, Balzer + Bray, 9780062975164, January, 2021).

Reviewed by Melissa Taylor, E. Shaver, bookseller in Savannah, GA

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Once Upon a Unicorn by Lou Anders

If you live near the Glistening Isles and/or Whisperwood then you know that just about any challenge you encounter might involve creatures whose names reflect their true dispositions, or at least what they let you see. This includes a Night Mare named Midnight and a Unicorn named Curious. You will also recognize that unicorns are becoming scarce, as they are hunted for the medicinal properties in their horns. The biggest threat to the unicorns, as well to other magical creatures and all living creatures, really, was that humans either no longer believed or just did not care. Eventually, something was bound to happen…

Once Upon a Unicorn by Lou Anders (List Price $16.99, Crown Books for Young Readers), recommended by Square Books, Oxford MS.

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Blue Skies by Anne Bustard

It’s 1949 in Gladiola, Texas. Everyone in town is excited about the Merci train full of gifts rolling through from France as a thank you for America’s help in WWII. Glory Bea is expecting a special gift to arrive on the train, her father. No one can stop her from believing in this miracle, not her mom’s new boyfriend or the grownups who thwart her railroad scouting mission. Blue Skies is perfect for fans of heartfelt middle grade with a twist of humor.

Blue Skies by Anne Bustard (List price: $17.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), recommended by Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN.

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Jasmine Green Rescues: A Piglet Called Truffle by Helen Peters, Ellie Snowdon (Illustrator)

This fun new series will get early readers a chance to love reading. Fun and beautiful while pulling at the strings of your heart for the love of animals. Delightful.

Jasmine Green Rescues: A Piglet Called Truffle by Helen Peters, Ellie Snowdon (Illustrator) (List price: $14.99, Walker Books US), recommended by Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC.

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