Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 21, 2016


Candlewick Press: Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party (Judy Moody #14) by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Carolrhoda Books: I, Claudia by Mary McCoy

Binc Foundation: Carla Gray Scholarship for Emerging Bookstore Activists

Candlewick Press: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Wednesday Books: Sadie by Courtney Summers

News

BEA 2016: Content & Digital Conference Programming

BookExpo America, which will be held in Chicago May 11-13, has unveiled programming plans for this year's Content & Digital Conference, "designed to engage and educate booksellers, librarians, agents, authors and industry insiders by delivering insights on the latest trends and unparalleled networking opportunities."

BEA highlighted a pair of new tracks: the children's publishing track will "address one of the strongest areas of the publishing and bookselling industry, utilizing industry experts to provide insight and direction on current trends and a take a look ahead at what consumers and booksellers can expect." The self-publishing track allows "authors and service providers to explore the opportunities to reach readers, build sales, and establish a social presence with readers."

The Library Insight track will be bolstered by the American Library Association's partnership with BEA for sessions by Libraries Transform: ALA@BEA, which "will cover new terrain in Readers Advisory, nurturing local writers and working with marketing teams from the Big Five publishers to help patrons." The sessions are sponsored by Libraries Transform and Overdrive.

Other conference tracks at BEA's Content & Digital Conference include: Marketing & Engagement, ABA Education, Analytics, Tech & Mobile, Business of Publishing, Content: Readers & Authors and Global Market Forum: Poland.

"This year's programming will tackle the issues critical to the growth of the publishing industry and provide practical education that impacts their day to day businesses results," said show director Steve Rosato. "BEA's Content & Digital Conference provides a significant added value for every participant and we look forward to adding more content in the weeks to come."

In addition to conference tracks, BEA will also host a number of education sessions, including Marketing: What it Takes to Get It Right; Maximizing Metadata (Workshop) & Improving the Bottom Line; Facebook 201: Advanced Book Marketing to Drive Sales; BEA Editors' Buzz; Great Book Club Titles for Fall/Winter 2015--Speed Dating for Booksellers, Librarians & Book Group Leaders; and AAP's seventh Annual Shout n Share.


Head of Zeus: Ghost Virus by Graham Masterton


Tustin's Once Upon a Storybook Closing

Once Upon a Storybook, the Tustin, Calif., children's bookshop opened by Susie Alexander in October 2014, will close at the end of March "unless an investor in shining armor intervenes," the Orange County Register reported.  

"We are very disappointed," she said. "But it's been the greatest experience of my life. I mean, how many people can say they've lived their dream?"

Although Alexander said she knew it would take at least a year to make a profit, the anniversary "came and went in October. The store had a strong December and its customer base continues to grow, but it hasn't been enough to put the business in the black," the Register noted.

"Really, what I need is $50,000 to drop from the sky," Alexander said, adding that she wasn't sure what she will do now: "Once you've had the opportunity to live your dream, it's very hard to say what's next."


Mira Books: Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard


WH Smith Debuts 'Luxury' Airport Bookstores

British bookstore chain WH Smith "has opened the first stores of a new-concept bookshop line in airport terminals, targeting more affluent buyers," the Bookseller reported. TheBookshop by WH Smith launched at Heathrow Terminal 5 before Christmas, and another store recently opened in Edinburgh Airport.

"Surrounded by high-end luxury stores in Terminal 5, the company's new shop features a 'luxury book' section selling expensive coffee-table books, as well as a gift book section," the Bookseller wrote, adding that the branding for the shop "contrasts with the current WH Smith look, using white letters on a black background as opposed to the company's signature white type on a blue background."


Hanover Square Press: Guess Who by Chris McGeorge


IndigoSpirit Store Opening in Downtown Vancouver

Canadian bookstore chain Indigo will open a small IndigoSpirit location January 29 on Granville St. in downtown Vancouver, B.C., less than a year after the closing its flagship 50,000-square-foot Chapters location in the city. The Georgia Straight reported that the "new store has a significantly reduced footprint compared to the three-floor behemoth that stood kitty-corner to Robson Square."

According to Indigo, "those visiting IndigoSpirit will be able to shop Indigo's entire product range through in-store kiosks, which offer free shipping of all items to store with no minimum spend, plus free returns. Customers can feel confident about finding everything they need and more at IndigoSpirit in downtown Vancouver."

Tania Borle, Indigo's retail v-p for Western Canada, said, "We are delighted to be back in downtown Vancouver and are looking forward to once again serving our wonderful customers,” she said. “We know they are going to love this new location and its warm, welcoming atmosphere as much as we do. Although this location will serve many of our customers well, we remain passionate about finding the perfect location for a large format Indigo store in downtown Vancouver."


Columbia Global Reports: The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against Globalization by John B. Judis


B&N Shutters Walnut Creek, Calif., Location

The Barnes & Noble in Walnut Creek, Calif., has closed after 21 years on South Main Street, "seemingly another victim of the city's hugely successful commercial district and the soaring costs of leasing space there," the Contra Costa Times reported. B&N had announced last summer that the store was on its endangered list after negotiations regarding a long-term extension broke down.

Although B&N's v-p of development David Deason had said the company was searching for a new site in the area, Jay Hoyer, the city's Chamber of Commerce CEO, said, "Everyone seems to think they're still looking. But they need a big space--maybe 30,000 square feet with parking. That's kind of kind of difficult to come by in a Walnut Creek market with those kind of rents."


Disney-Hyperion: Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood


Obituary Note: Stephen Levine

Stephen Levine, a meditation teacher and author best known for his work on death and dying, died December 17, Tricycle magazine reported. He was 78. Levine's many books include A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as if It Were Your Last; A Gradual Awakening; Who Dies?: An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying; Embracing the Beloved: Relationship as a Path of Awakening; and, with his wife, Ondrea, The Healing I Took Birth For: Practicing the Art of Compassion.


Notes

Image of the Day: King & Grisham

Stephen King and John Grisham appeared together at the Neel Auditorium at the State College of Florida in Bradenton on January 19 to chat about their literary lives and engage in conversation with an audience of more than 800 fans. The sold-out event raised more than $200,000 for the Manatee Library Foundation's literacy programs.

Major support was provided by Bookstore1Sarasota, which not only sold books at the event and arranged for an on-site signing, but also played a large role in bringing the authors and the library foundation together. This was the third event for which Stephen King and Bookstore1Sarasota have partnered: the first was a signing at the bookstore in 2014; the other two were fundraisers for the Manatee Library Foundation. Pictured: the authors with bookstore staffers.


Cool Idea of the Day: LGBTQ2S Youth Shelter Library

Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop has launched "a charity project to support Sprott House, Canada's first LGBTQ2S youth shelter, which was founded last summer and opens in February," Quillblog reported.

The bookseller is donating more than $800 worth of books toward a library for the shelter, but told customers "that's only about 60 books--so we could use your help it making the collection more dynamic and diverse." Book donations are being accepted at the bookshop before February 15, or new books can be purchased for the project. "We'll make sure the books get to Sprott House, saving their staff time and keeping the location more confidential."


Personnel Changes at Crown, Clarkson Potter

At Crown and Clarkson Potter:

David Drake, senior v-p, deputy publisher, Crown Publishing Group, for the past six years, is promoted to executive v-p.

Kate Rados is promoted to v-p, community development, the Crown Publishing Group.

Kevin Sweeting is promoted to marketing manager, Clarkson Potter.

Megan Perritt is promoted to assistant publicity director, Crown Business and Crown Forum.

Ayelet Gruenspecht is promoted to assistant marketing director, Crown Business and Crown Forum.

Carly Gorga, who is continuing as assistant director marketing, Clarkson Potter, is taking on the newly created position of assistant director, partnerships, for the Crown Publishing Group.
 
Christina Foxley is promoted to assistant director, marketing, adding responsibility for Crown Archetype and Three Rivers Press titles in addition to her responsibilities on behalf of Harmony titles.

Seth Morris is promoted to assistant director, ad promo, Crown Publishing Group.
 
Ellyn Russo is promoted to assistant manager, ad promo, Crown Publishing Group.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mike Lupica on Morning Joe

Tomorrow:
Morning Joe: Mike Lupica, author of The Extra Yard (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9781481410007).

Live with Kelly & Michael: David Siik, author of The Ultimate Treadmill Workout: Run Right, Hurt Less, and Burn More with Treadmill Interval Training (Adams Media, $16.99, 9781440589294).

The Meredith Vieira Show: Christie Brinkley, author of Timeless Beauty: Over 100 Tips, Secrets, and Shortcuts to Looking Great (Grand Central Life & Style, $30, 9781455587940).

NPR's On Point: John Donvan and Caren Zucker, authors of In a Different Key: The Story of Autism (Crown, $30, 9780307985675).


TV: Michael Pollan Cooked

Netflix is launching Cooked, from author Michael Pollan and filmmaker Alex Gibney (Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief). Variety reported that the "docus-series, set to premiere February 19 on the streamer, looks at the 'primal human need' to cook and issues a call for people to reclaim lost culinary traditions at home and restore balance to their lives." Pollan's books include The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food.

The series' four episodes "each centers on one of the physical elements used throughout the history of cooking: fire, water, air and earth," Variety wrote, adding that "personalities and places featured in Cooked include an Aboriginal tribe in Western Australia that fire-roasts monitor lizards; a Connecticut Benedictine nun and microbiologist who makes traditional French cheese; Peruvian brewers who use human saliva to ferment a traditional beverage; and an ancient Moroccan granary powered by rivers."


This Weekend on Book TV: Former Senators Lott and Daschle

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, January 23
1 p.m. Joanne Bamberger, editor of Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox (She Writes Press, $16.95, 9781631528064). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.)

4 p.m. Greg Ip, author of Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316286046).

5 p.m. Alexander Wolff, author of The Audacity of Hoop: Basketball and the Age of Obama (Temple University Press, $40, 9781439913093), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:15 a.m.)

6 p.m. Kara Platoni, author of We Have the Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists Are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time (Basic Books, $27.99, 9780465089970). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. Matt Ridley, author of The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge (Harper, $28.99, 9780062296009), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

8:30 p.m. Charlie Savage, author of Power Wars: Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316286572). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. Trent Lott and Tom Daschle, former senators and authors of Crisis Point: Why We Must--and How We Can--Overcome Our Broken Politics in Washington and Across America (Bloomsbury Press, $28, 9781632864611).

11 p.m. Katherine Zoepf, author of Excellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Young Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594203886), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)


Sunday, January 24
12 a.m. Peter Navarro, author of Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World (Prometheus Books, $25, 9781633881143). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:15 p.m.)

5 p.m. Craig L. Symonds, author of The U.S. Navy: A Concise History (Oxford University Press, $18.95, 9780199394944). (Re-airs Monday at 6:45 a.m.)



Books & Authors

Caldecott Winner Sophie Blackall: What Small Thing Might Change the World

photo: Barbara Sullivan

Australia-born artist Sophie Blackall has illustrated more than 30 books for children, including the award-winning Ruby's Wish and the popular Ivy and Bean series. On January 11, she was awarded the 2016 Randolph Caldecott Medal for her splendid artwork in Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear (Little, Brown). Before Winnie-the-Pooh, Winnie was a real-life black bear, rescued by a soft-hearted Canadian soldier named Harry Colebourn on his way to England to be a World War I veterinarian. This winning picture book, written by Colebourn's great-granddaughter Lindsay Mattick, tells the story of how that very bear ended up at the London Zoo and became the inspiration for A.A. Milne's beloved Winnie-the-Pooh. Here, Blackall answers some questions for Shelf Awareness from her home in Brooklyn, New York.

Did you grow up reading Winnie-the-Pooh?

Winnie-the-Pooh was the first book I bought with my own money. It was a battered 1950 edition in my mother's antique shop, and after school I would curl up under an old oak dining table and read it over and over. I used to try to hide it in the shop so nobody would buy it. Eventually my mother sold it to me for a dollar. I polished the steps to earn the money. I had never read a book like it. A book with interjections and digressions and ponderings. One that meandered and backtracked, that bounced and hummed, that drew you in so close that you felt you were in the very forest itself, and simultaneously allowed you to step back and see the actual form of a book. With characters so endearing they became your lifelong friends.

It was E.H. Shepard's drawings that first made me want to be an illustrator. So, when editor Susan Rich sent me the manuscript for Finding Winnie, I felt as though everything had been leading me to this book.

Finding Winnie explains the origin of the "Winnie" part of the Winnie-the-Pooh--from the Canadian soldier's hometown of Winnipeg--but not the "Pooh" part.

Pooh is the name Christopher Robin gives to a swan he feeds in the mornings! "This is a very fine name for a swan, because, if you call him and he doesn't come (which is a thing swans are good at), then you can pretend that you were just saying 'Pooh!' to show him how little you wanted him." (from A.A. Milne's When We Were Very Young)

Did you draw when you were a child?

Constantly. On my walk home from elementary school I would pass the butcher shop and beg for some paper. The butcher would roll me up a few sheets and slice me a piece of mortadella into the bargain. I've been fond of butchers ever since. I wish I could thank him.

Do you prefer drawing animals to people?

I like drawing both, but I confess I almost always want to put clothes on animals. It was all I could do not to give Winnie a scarf or a fetching hat.

The book says your medium is "Chinese ink and watercolor on hot-press paper." Tell us more about that.

I use Chinese ink to paint the gray tones, and watercolor washes over the top. I use Schmincke watercolors, in a tin set my father gave me when I was 15. After 35 books I've had to replace a few of the colors, but they last such a long time.

The cover of Finding Winnie is so clever, showing one leg on the front cover and one leg on the back to make sort of a hybrid person based on the two sections of the book. How did that cover design evolve?

We must have tried at least a dozen different ideas for the cover. We knew we wanted the front to show Harry and Winnie and the back to show Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh. I had drawn both pairs full figure and it took a while to work out that I needed to zoom in and just show the legs.

I love the book cover underneath the jacket, with the silhouetted soldiers marching, led by the bear. Are there any more secret things hidden inside Finding Winnie?

This inner cover is one of my favorite things about the book. It's an homage to E.H. Shepard's endpapers in my old edition of Winnie-the-Pooh. I tucked quite a few secrets and jokes into the book, one of the many fun things about being an illustrator. There's a message to be decoded in the signal flags, and several details to be discovered in the map of the zoo. Careful readers will notice the owl in Cole's bedroom. [In Finding Winnie, Cole is the little boy listening to his mother's story as it unfolds.]

The story starts in 1914 Canada, then moves to England when Harry Colebourn goes off to war. What sort of research did you do to make sure the illustrations were historically accurate? 

I visited the archives of the London Zoo to see photographs and news clippings and the ledger in which Winnie's arrival was recorded by the zookeeper in exquisite copperplate. I went to the Imperial War Museum and read soldiers' diaries and I traveled the road Harry and Winnie took to the city, past Stonehenge.

Back at my desk, several things had me tied up in knots: the bird's-eye view of the zoo, which involved researching period photographs of every building and cross-referencing those with a footprint map I had from 1913; getting the train right (luckily I share a studio with Brian Floca who offered encouragement--I think I can, I think I can--and access to his library of train books); figuring out the parade of ships with the only existing color reference being a painting called Canada's Answer--an impressionistic interpretation of the crossing made some years after the event--and learning signal flags. In addition to my own research I was so fortunate to have access to Lindsay Mattick's family documents and photographs, many of which appear in the album at the end of the book.

At one point, the World War I part of the story ends, and the focus shifts to Christopher Robin Milne, A.A. Milne's son, the boy who sees Winnie at the London Zoo. Tell us about that visual shift.

Hearing that Harry leaves Winnie at the zoo, the little boy, Cole, is devastated. His mother explains, tenderly, that sometimes you have to let one story end so the next one can begin. "How do you know when that will happen?" he asks. "You don't," she says. "Which is why you should always carry on." This makes me choke up every time.

We turn the page to see Christopher Robin with his bear and it feels like a new beginning, "Once upon a time..." I think this idea is quite profound. It's how, as human beings, we deal with loss and change. And it ties these momentous events in our lives back to storytelling. Every family is full of stories and we pass them down from generation to generation. The wonderful thing about a book is that when we get to the end, we can begin again at the beginning.

You share an art studio with a handful of luminaries from the children's book world--you mention Brian Floca, Eddie Hemingway, John Bemelmans Marciano and Sergio Ruzzier. It sounds positively dreamy.

My studio mates are my second family, my best friends. I have learned so much from working in their company. We share reference books and industry gossip and lunch and I can't imagine going back to working in isolation. In fact, we are planning a retirement home for illustrators. We'll all have arthritis by then so we'll play Pictionary with our feet.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a new series with my studio mate John Bemelmans Marciano, called the Witches of Benevento, which comes out this April with Viking, and a picture book with Chronicle, which is immense and immensely exciting.

Anything else you'd like to tell the readers of Shelf Awareness?

Finding Winnie is about a spur-of-the-moment act of kindness. It's about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. It's about the connections we make throughout our lives and the possibility that any of those might prove to be profound. It's about stories passed down to us through generations and the stories we share with children and the stories we leave behind.

This story belongs to Captain Harry Colebourn and his great-granddaughter Lindsay, and her son Cole. It belongs to everyone who ever loved Winnie-the-Pooh, and it belongs to every child who wonders what he or she may do in their lifetime, what small thing might change the world. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness


Awards: Hans Christian Andersen Shortlist

Shortlists have been released for the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Awards, sponsored by the International Board on Books for Young People. The two winners will be announced April 4 at the IBBY press conference during the Bologna International Children's Book Fair. The award "recognizes the aesthetic and literary quality as well as the freshness and innovation of the body of work; the ability to see the child's point of view and to stretch their curiosity; and the continuing relevance of the works to children and young people."

The shortlisted authors are Cao Wenxuan (China), Louis Jensen (Denmark), Mirjam Pressler (Germany), Ted van Lieshout (the Netherlands) and Lois Lowry (U.S.).

The illustrators shortlist includes Rotraut Susanne Berner (Germany), Pejman Rahimizadeh (Iran), Alessandro Sanna (Italy), Suzy Lee (Republic of Korea) and Marit Törnqvist (the Netherlands).


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 26:

NYPD Red 4 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316407069) continues the thriller series about an elite New York Police Department task force. (January 25.)

1924: The Year That Made Hitler by Peter Ross Range (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316384032) tracks a formative year in Hitler's rise to power.

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544520561) follows a toxicologist entwined in a serial murder case and his personal search for an alluring woman.

The Bands of Mourning: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson (Tor, $27.99, 9780765378576) is book six in the Mistborn fantasy series.

The Illegal: A Novel by Lawrence Hill (Norton, $26.95, 9780393070590) follows a refugee from a fictionalized tyrannical state.

Noah's Wife by Lindsay Starck (Putnam, $27, 9780399159237) follows a minister and his wife who move into a town of perpetual rain.

Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World by Pagan Kennedy (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544324008) explores the little steps that lead to big new ideas.

The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse by Mohamed A. El-Erian (Random House, $28, 9780812997620) looks at the future of global economics.

The Dirt Cure: Growing Healthy Kids with Food Straight from Soil by Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein (Atria, $26, 9781476796970) advocates growing and feeding vegetables to children.

Lucky Rice: Stories and Recipes from Night Markets, Feasts, and Family Tables by Danielle Chang and Lisa Ling (Clarkson Potter, $25, 9780804186681) is a cookbook of Asian cuisine.

Paperbacks:
Cats in Paris: A Magical Coloring Book by Won-Sun Jang (Watson-Guptill, $14.99, 9780399578274).

Love in Lowercase: A Novel by Francesc Miralles and Julie Wark (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143128212).

ContamiNation: My Quest to Survive in a Toxic World by McKay Jenkins (Avery, $16, 9780399573408).

Movie:
The Finest Hours, based on the book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman, opens January 29. Eric Bana, Chris Pine and Casey Affleck star as Coast Guard rescuers off Cape Cod in 1952.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
After the Crash: A Novel by Michel Bussi (Hachette Books, $26, 9780316309677). "This old-fashioned crime novel by a French geography professor considers the miraculous survival of a three-month-old infant girl in an airplane crash in the Jura Mountains in which all perished--including a second three-month-old baby. An 18-year struggle is unleashed between two rival sets of grandparents on opposite ends of the economic scale, one of which is accorded custody of the child. Does she really belong to that family? Is her brother really her brother? As the age of majority of the survivor approaches, the questions become more urgent and the private detective who has been on the case for 18 years tries to bring some closure." --Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn.

The Past: A Novel by Tessa Hadley (Harper, $26.99, 9780062270412). "A novel about a family vacation is often used as a device to bring out the worst flaws of the characters; here, it is used to bring out the best of Hadley's writing talent. She brings the family together, introducing them one by one: Harriet, the outdoorsy one; Alice, the dramatic one; Fran, the motherly one; Roland, the scholarly brother. The siblings, along with assorted children, spouses, and a young friend, spend three weeks in the crumbling house that belonged to their grandparents, trying to decide what must be done with it. Readers who enjoy character-driven novels, such as ones by Kate Atkinson, Margaret Drabble, or Jane Gardam, will welcome this novel." --Yvette Olson, Magnolia's Bookstore, Seattle, Wash.

Paperback
The Song of Hartgrove Hall: A Novel by Natasha Solomons (Plume, $16, 9780147517593). "Three brothers return to Hartgrove Hall after World War II to find their beloved home hard-used by military forces and greatly in need of repair. Their efforts are complicated by the introduction of the oldest brother's fiancé, Edie Rose, whose beautiful voice instilled hope in the British citizenry during the darkness of war. Soon, all three brothers are in love with Edie, but only one will ultimately win her hand. Fast-forward to present times and Edie has just passed away, leaving Fox reeling from his wife's death and mired in grief. Called upon to babysit his four-year-old grandson one day, he discovers that the lad is a prodigy at the piano with an uncanny ability to impart through his grandfather's musical compositions the emotions Fox felt when writing them. This novel is a joy to read and fills readers with a hope of restoration in the face of loss." --Vicki Burger, Wind City Books, Casper, Wyo.

For Ages 4 to 8
Cockatoo, Too by Bethanie Deeney Murguia (little bee books, $17.99, 9781499801026). "Murguia uses only 12 words in this hilarious, alliterative story that plays with words and sounds. One cockatoo becomes two, and then two become four dressed in tutus. Toucans follow doing the can-can, and eventually all the jungle birds join in on the wordplay. This fun, simple story is paired with bright, colorful watercolor illustrations in a book that is both smart and silly--a great combination!" --Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12
When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, 9780544534322). "In this charming story, an orphan from Copenhagen goes to the tiny island of Bornholm to live with the grandmother she has never met. Although she is cheerful and loving, Inge Maria fears that she will never be able to make her grandmother love her because she is always falling into misadventures. To her surprise, Inge Maria's mischief reminds her grandmother of her own childhood, and the two forge a loving bond." --Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee, Chicago, Ill.

For Teen Readers
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99, 9781492622468). "Fifty-four minutes. That's all it takes to devastate a small town in Alabama. That's all it takes for innocent lives to be lost and some twisted idea of revenge to be enacted. That's all it takes to forever change everyone who is left alive. Told through the eyes and ears of four different characters, with a few social media posts interspersed, this is an unforgettable book. Nijkamp masterfully brings to life the terror and disbelief that a school shooting elicits and makes the reader go through that same turmoil. A thought-provoking must-read!"  --Phoebe Dyer, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The Flood Girls

The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield (Gallery Books, $25 hardcover, 9781476797380, February 2, 2016)

The hardscrabble town of Quinn, Mont. (population 956), serves as the backdrop for The Flood Girls, the first novel by Richard Fifield. He sets his story in 1991, and his grasp of the intricacies--and often oppressive nature--of small-town life shine through the perspective of Jake Bailey, a precocious 12-year-old fixated on polyester leisure suits and motorcycle leathers, along with pop culture of the times: the music and persona of Madonna, the books of Jackie Collins and the soap opera drama of Erica Kane. Jake's eccentricities make him a misfit, but also a perceptive observer--especially from his rooftop hangout where he seeks refuge from his family and spies on who is "having affairs with the UPS man, who was eating too much when they thought nobody was watching, who was stealing checks from mailboxes."

When Jake's neighbor Frank--"the shyest person in Quinn"--dies, Frank's estranged daughter, Rachel Flood, a once-notorious boozer and floozy, returns to Quinn nine years after her high school graduation. She comes to claim her inheritance, which consists of Frank's dilapidated house trailer plagued with black mold and his 1978 Ford Granada. Rachel, a blonde bombshell, had once been "hell-bent on destroying herself, and she had mostly avoided collateral damage. She had never killed a family of four while drunk driving, had never left a baby to freeze to death in a car while drinking at a bar in the middle of winter. She was a relatively good person, had only broken hearts and occasionally the law."

Against the advice of her Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, sober Rachel sets out to redeem herself and make restitution for her past. It's a tall order, especially when she tries to make amends with her mother, Laverne, the crude, unforgiving owner of the Dirty Shame, one of two local watering holes. The pub employs a crew of brash, sharp-tongued barmaids--with names like Martha Man Hands, Red Mabel and Black Mabel--who moonlight on the bar's softball team, the Flood Girls. When Laverne is injured in a gun fight, Rachel, in her quest for redemption, gets roped into taking over the Dirty Shame in her mother's absence, and reluctantly enlisted to play for the Flood Girls, who are in search of a winning season. Will Rachel's former neighbors, coworkers and friends continue to hold grudges and make her life miserable? When Rachel befriends Jake--the record-keeper for the softball team, who is also the team's "heart" and "good luck charm"--he helps Rachel claw her way back into the fold of the backwoods little town she thought she had escaped.

Caustic wit, absurd plot turns and an ensemble cast of riotous characters infuse this outlandish yet moving novel about the hard-bitten bonds of community. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A Montana town is turned upside-down when a reformed outcast returns to claim an inheritance and make amends for her sordid past.


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