The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance

Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre por Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre trata sobre una niña a la que no le gusta lo largo que es su nombre, y su padre que le cuenta la historia de quién viene. Una gran historia del legado que cada niño lleva consigo y la historia que solo ellos pueden contar sobre sus propias vidas. ¡Altamente recomendado!

Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre por Juana Martinez-Neal, (List Price: $8.99, Candlewick, 9781536220438, septiembre 2023)

Reseña escrita por Jessica Nock, Main Street Books en Davidson, North Carolina

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

Alma and How She Got Her Name is about a little girl who doesn’t like how long her name is, and her father who tells her the story of who she comes from. A great story of the legacy that each child carries with them and the story that only they can tell about their own lives. Highly recommend!

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, (List Price: $8.99, Candlewick, 9781536220438, September 2023)

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

The Artist by Ed Vere

A dinosaur book about art, narrated by the dinosaur. Warm and measured, it becomes an instruction manual of sorts, while ultimately transforming into a tribute to an artist, by a dinosaur. Actually, the whole book is by an incredibly good author/artist (not a dinosaur, yet).

The Artist by Ed Vere, (List Price: 18.99, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 9780525580874, April 2023)

Reviewed by Jilleen Moore, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

You Truly Assumed by Leila Sabreen

Filled with a neat balance of relatable humor and serious topics, You Truly Assumed is a memorable coming-of-age novel that touches on the struggles of three black, Muslim women and their fight to create a safe space and a voice to be heard for people just like them. You Truly Assumed is the perfect novel for teens or young adults who feel they don’t have a voice in the face of prejudice and fear, as it features funny, relatable characters and the raw effects of real events.

You Truly Assumed by Leila Sabreen, (List Price: $10.99, Inkyard Press, 9781335428646, February 2023)

Reviewed by Makayla Summers, Main Street Reads in Summerville, South Carolina

The Kindest Red by Ibtihaj Muhammad

So often, when people are asked what they would wish for, they reply “World Peace.” In The Kindest Red, Faizah wishes for “World Kindness,” and isn’t that really the first step to world peace? This simple picture book with a big message is just perfect for families or classrooms looking to celebrate diversity and personal responsibility.

The Kindest Red by Ibtihaj Muhammad, (List Price: $19.99, Bloomsbury YA, 9780759555709, February 2023)

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

The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp

The Wolf Suit is an absolutely charming picture book about anxiety through the eyes of a sheep in wolf’s clothing.

The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp, (List Price: $19.99, Annick Press, 9781773217208, October 2022)

Reviewed by Michelle Cavalier, Cavalier House Books in Denham Springs, Louisiana

Brown Is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar

I love the beauty of Brown is Beautiful. A young Indian American girl walks through nature with her grandparents, celebrating all the beauty of things that are brown – leaves and bears and canyons. The book transitions to houses and families and babies, all brown and beautiful. This is a story of joy and celebration!

Brown Is Beautiful by Supriya Kelkar, (List Price: $18.99, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374389529, October 2022)

Reviewed by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed

I love this book!! And I’m so glad it exists. My first grader is having all kinds of big thoughts about her name and how it is spelled or pronounced and the same for all of her friends’ names, too. It’s a great conversation starter for discussing how fun and vibrant it is to embrace our differences and how important it is to ask for and give respect to each other, too..

That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed, (List Price: $17.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593405178, July 2022)

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

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo

Powerhouse debater and soccer star TJ is considered one of the most beautiful girls at her school. But when a meme starts circulating comparing her flawless beauty to her Sikh cousin’s natural hairiness, TJ decides to ditch her hair-removal routines to show herself and the world that it’s possible to be both hairy and beautiful. The world, though, seems determined to prove her wrong — except her debate rival Charlie, who doesn’t seem to care at all. A fun, flirty story that couches a cutting criticism of societal beauty standards, handled in a way that will win over readers regardless of personal opinions.

TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo, (List Price: $17.99, Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780593403396, June 2022)

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

Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig

A great reminder that our hearts are bigger than our worries. As adults we sometimes forget how kids struggle with big feelings they don’t always understand. This book is great to start the conversation about emotional awareness and other social emotional skills that are important for kids to be successful in school and life.

Brave Every Day by Trudy Ludwig, (List Price: $18.99, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593306376, June 2022)

Reviewed by Lupe Penn, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Gender Identity for Kids by Andy Passchier

This fun and educational book by Andy Passchier helps kids understand the importance of understanding, respecting, and being kind towards everyone and understanding yourself with fun characters, illustrations, and more! This is a great book for young and old, people who already know a thing or two about the subject but want to learn more, people who know nothing at all, and people who know all about it. You are sure to enjoy this helpful guide to being and knowing yourself, and you most likely will learn something from it.

Gender Identity for Kids by Andy Passchier, (List Price: 15.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316411226, June 2023)

Reviewed by Adah Fitzgerald, Main Street Books in Davidson, North Carolina

I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick

What a great way to share with a young child why they are different and why they matter. Colin learns he was chosen and was adopted into a family of loving people. Great colorful illustrations and a wonderful message. For kids and adults

I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick, (List Price: $18.99, Scholastic Inc., 9781338789621,  April 2022)

Reviewed by Gina Norris, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor

Zubi is thrilled for her first day at school–until she hears her parents and sister talking about diets and their own negative body image. Should Zubi be ashamed of herself too? In the end, Zubi realizes that only YOU get to define what is beautiful and you are fabulous just the way you are. This book is a perfect way to talk to kids about body image, self-love, and how everyone is different and that’s a good thing!

Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor, (List Price: 17.99, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534485877, September 2021)

Reviewed by Jen Minor, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (Illus.)

A 2021 Southern Book Prize Winner!

I just cannot stop talking about this book. And I am dead-serious when I claim I am on a mission to get this in the hands of EVERYONE. I Am Every Good Thing is a book that encourages readers to celebrate everything that makes them the person they are. Kids learn they can be a leader, an explorer, the life of the party, and an undisputed champion. They also learn it’s okay to make mistakes, to get back up when they fall down, and to be a shoulder to cry on when needed. It is also story that celebrates joy – specifically Black joy. We need more stories that feature Black children being celebrated and feeling joyful. This affirming book will leave kids (and adults) feeling like they can achieve anything. . And the illustrations are gallery worthy creations on every single page. A beautiful message with stunning images that help all children remember how special and truly loved they are.

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780525518778, September 2020)

Reviewed by Ashley Bryan, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (Illus.)

A 2021 Southern Book Prize Winner!

I AM EVERY GOOD THING written by Derrick Barnes with illustrations by Gordon C. James is a beautiful book that celebrates Black Boy Magic and it is spectacular. It is a celebration of all that Black boys are and can become. Highly recommend.

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James (Illus.) (List Price: $17.99, Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780525518778, September 2020)

Reviewed by Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

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