The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Juvenile

The Ice House by Monica Sherwood

I was really drawn into the world of The Ice House, the perfect middle grade novel for kids to read as the pandemic drags on. The dramatic changes and adaptations to an altered world are completely relatable and will strike a chord for everyone stuck indoors with pesky siblings, remote schooling and parents changed by stress and grief. The touch of magic gives both escapism and hope for children, but the book also features relatable, realistic examples of growing up and changing friendships.

The Ice House by Monica Sherwood, (List Price: $16.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316705349, November 2021)

Reviewed by Maggie Robe, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Hilda: The Wilderness Stories by Luke Pearson

Hilda: The Wildnerness Stories is a fun journey through a vast world rich with magic and Pearson expertly captures the childlike sense of wonder one might experience within in. Since these stories feature less dark tones than those seen in some other Hilda storylines, they make a great light read which allow you to test the waters before you decide to swim.

Hilda: The Wilderness Stories by Luke Pearson, (List Price: $29.99, Flying Eye Books, 9781838740719, November 2021)

Reviewed by Deion Cooper, Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina

A is for Oboe: The Orchestra’s Alphabet by Lera Auerbach and Marilyn Nelson

This is a fun twist on an alphabet picture book, with each letter conjuring up the parts of the orchestra, from the tuning A given by the oboe to the well-earned snoozing after a successful performance. My favorite thing about this book was the way it highlighted so much more than just the instruments of the orchestra—even the music librarian gets to make an appearance!

A is for Oboe: The Orchestra’s Alphabet by Lera Auerbach and Marilyn Nelson, (List Price: $17.99, Dial Books, 9780525553779, December 2021)

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

The Shadow Prince by David Anthony Durham

I thoroughly enjoyed reading every chapter of this book! All the Egyptian gods were fun to read about, and their personalities were unique! And the characters were fun and engaging! It was also brilliant to keep all the villains alive, meaning a hopeful sequel? I will be one of the first in line when the author makes the 2nd book!

The Shadow Prince by David Anthony Durham, (List Price: $21.95, Tu Books, 9781643794280, October 2021)

Reviewed by Mandolin Moore, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia


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.

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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