The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Juvenile Fiction

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais

To me, Little Red Riding Hood has always been the forbearer of modern children’s stories. The warnings of: listen to your adults, not to stray from the path dictated, and not talk to strangers emanate from every version of this story. In this tale, these messages are still here, but are challenged. In the end, our hero is rescued and the evil defeated, themes of misunderstanding being our main take-away.

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais, (List Price: $9.99, Oni Press, 9781637152430, October 2023)

Reviewed by Jamie Kovacs, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Wintergarden by Janet Fox

Gorgeous illustrations and sweet story about a mother and child who grow a winter garden. Complete with instructions of starting your own winter garden. Love this one!

Wintergarden by Janet Fox, (List Price: $18.99, Neal Porter Books, 9780823451012, November 2023)

Reviewed by Jessica Nock, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

The Apartment House on Poppy Hill by Nina LaCour

Fans of Ramona Quimby will love Ella, the unofficial ambassador of Poppy Hill. She’s lived in the building her whole life and knows the ropes, so she’s happy to help new neighbors Cleo and Leo when they move in. This darling book is full of quirky characters and is LGBTQ-positive and really heartwarming. I am already looking forward to more in the series!

The Apartment House on Poppy Hill by Nina LaCour, (List Price: $14.99, Chronicle Books, 9781797213736, November 2023)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

I Want 100 Dogs by Stacy McAnulty

Getting a new pet is always a delicate negotiation between the pet want-er and the ultimate pet-care-for-er. This delightful new tail tale from kids nonfiction genius Stacy McAnulty hilariously yet poignantly digs into the how, what, when, and why of pet ownership. Fun for anyone considering adding a furry family member.

I Want 100 Dogs by Stacy McAnulty, (List Price: $17.99, Chronicle Books, 9781797214405, October 2023)

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

Champions of the Fox by Kevin Sands

Oh wow, what an amazing conclusion to a thrilling trilogy! Cal and his squad of thieves have one last mission to carry out before the Eye will let them go… but what if their success means the end of the world as they know it? To thwart the Eye, they must find allies among Spirits, industrialists, and runners for the rival thieves guild. These characters were as electric as ever, and the magic of this world was tantalizing.

Champions of the Fox by Kevin Sands, (List Price: $18.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593620953, November 2023)

Reviewed by Jordan April, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Duel by Jessixa Bagley

I loved the creativity in the book. I really like how they included other kids of people in the story. It shows that you have to have courage to do something even if you don’t win. I enjoyed the mostly black-and-white illustrations in the book. I love graphic novels. Overall I really liked this book and recommend it!

Duel by Jessixa Bagley, (List Price: $14.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534496545, November 2023)

Reviewed by Mandy Harris, Angel Wings Bookstore in Stem, North Carolina

The North Wind and the Sun by Philip C. Stead

This beautifully retold fable is a celebration of endurance and compassion and a reminder that gentleness and love (and patience) are more powerful than cruelty and hate (and haste). Stead’s innovative style of illustration evokes a classic with bold lines and quiet colors, and his thoughtful tale-telling is unparalleled. A story both timeless and perfect for these times.

The North Wind and the Sun by Philip C. Stead, (List Price: $18.99, Neal Porter Books, 9780823455836, October 2023)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Okra Stew by Natalie Daise

You can almost smell the salt marsh in this stunning homage to Gullah culture, father-son love, and Okra. With art reminiscent of Lois Ehlert or Faith Ringold this one is a must for all young southern foodies.

Okra Stew by Natalie Daise, (List Price: 19.99, Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 9781250849663, October 2023)

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

When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn

This is now one of my favorite books. I was devastated for myself and every character I had met along the way while reading this wonderfully crafted story. This book will rip your heart out and put it back together perfectly. I highly recommend When Sea Becomes Sky for readers young and old.

When Sea Becomes Sky by Gillian McDunn, (List Price: $16.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781547610853, February 2023)

Reviewed by Rayna Nielsen, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, Louisiana

Nothing Else But Miracles by Kate Albus

Another heartfelt, historical home run from Kate Albus! Three kids left to fend for themselves while their dad is away fighting the war, a secret abandoned hotel with a treasure no one knows about, and a special friendship with the Statue of Liberty all work together to make this story of family, community, and grit one of my favorite fall reads! You can’t help but root for the Byrne kids as they stick together to make it through the difficult times of WWII. This is guaranteed to be a favorite for everyone.

Nothing Else But Miracles by Kate Albus, (List Price: 17.99, Margaret Ferguson Books, 9780823451630, September 2023)

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

The Otherwoods by Justine Pucella Winans

Born with the power to see monsters and ghosts that no one else can, River Rydell’s life has been haunted by the Otherwoods, a supernatural force determined to take River for its own purposes. River has no interest in being a hero and just wants to survive middle school with the fewest monster-related incidents as possible. But when their closest friend is snatched by the Otherwoods, River must gear up to save the day– with their faithful cat, Mr. Fluffy Pancakes, by their side of course. The Otherwoods is equal parts spooky and hilarious with a protagonist readers will find easy to sympathize with and root for. It’s perfect for fans of Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall and Small Spaces by Katherine Arden.

The Otherwoods by Justine Pucella Winans, (List Price: 17.99, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781547612543, September 2023)

Reviewed by Charlie Williams, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

The Garden Witch by Kyle Beaudette

Seemingly silly yet surprisingly emotional, this book follows the story of a witch with a magical garden. But not all that’s magical is welcome for this witch. She has rats that won’t leave her house whose favorite pastime is bullying her and threatening to eat her. And, as if matters couldn’t get worse, nobody wants to buy the witch’s potions at market. She finds unexpected help when her garden produces a dancing turnip who helps her cook and clean. A delightful read about how the love you give finds its way back to you in unexpected ways.

The Garden Witch by Kyle Beaudette, (List Price: 17.95, Eye of Newt Books, 9781777791841, September 2023)

Reviewed by Daniel Tyler, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Every Night at Midnight by Peter Cheong

Secrets, always secrets. Every night, secrets. And with the nighttime aesthetic, beautiful white on black line work to contrast with the daytime bright whites and classmates from whom he hides his truths. But with trust, surprises come out from unexpected places. A great story for talking about identity, secrets, sharing, trust, and friendships. Could be used for Halloween but certainly should not be limited to that!

Every Night at Midnight by Peter Cheong, (List Price: 18.99, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781665917384, August 2023)

Reviewed by Lisa Yee Swope, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Scaredy Squirrel Gets Festive by Melanie Watt

Children (and their adults) will love reading about Scaredy Squirrel’s approach to the holidays! Once again, Melanie Watt gives us a way to treat a child’s nerves with gentleness and humor. We love displaying our Scaredy Squirrel books alongside the plush stuffed animal at Main Street Books!

Scaredy Squirrel Gets Festive by Melanie Watt, (List Price: 12.99, Random House Graphic, 9780593307618, October 2023)

Reviewed by Jessica Nock, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

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