Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 28, 2018: Kids' Maximum Shelf: The Parker Inheritance

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen


Maggie Mae's Kids Bookshop Opens in Gresham, Ore.

Maggie Mae's Kids Bookshop has opened in Gresham, Ore., and will hold its grand opening on Saturday, March 17, which will include "story times, fun and treats."

Owner Sho Roberts noted that the 750-square-foot store in Gresham's downtown historic district specializes in children's books but also offers "books and gifts for all ages. Our goal is to carry a wide range of multicultural, foreign language, and diverse books in hopes that everyone can find themselves represented in literature." The store currently stocks 2,500 titles.

The store has been a mobile bookstore in Portland, Ore., the past three years, mainly in the summer.

Maggie Mae's Kids Bookshop is named after Roberts's first adopted bulldog, Maggie. The dog theme runs throughout the store in the form of decorations, photos of Maggie and on the wall, the famous Groucho Marx quotation, "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." The Maggie's Must Haves section features weekly recommended titles.

Maggie Mae's Kids Bookshop is located at 43 NW 3rd Street, Gresham, Ore. 97030; 503-512-7493.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

McNally Robinson Opens Second Winnipeg Location

McNally Robinson Booksellers has opened a second Winnipeg location, at the Forks Market. The Canadian indie, which also operates its Grant Park Mall flagship store in the city, said the new location "is a familiar extension. The intent is to showcase the newest and best of what's on offer, while dedicating a special presence to Indigenous and local writing as well as books for children." A rotating selection of non-book items will also be available for sale.

"We are thrilled with the way the Forks has been reestablished as a meeting place," McNally Robinson co-owner Chris Hall noted. "It was a meeting place for Indigenous peoples from ancient times and now brings Winnipeggers as well as visitors from around the world together to enjoy the area's varied offerings. To have the opportunity as a local, independent bookseller, to become a part of what's going on at the Forks is very exciting to all of us."

Hall told the Winnepeg Free Press that the new store, located in an 850-square-foot space on the second floor, has taken about a year to come to fruition. An extension of an additional 150-plus square feet has already begun, made possible by the recent closure of Sydney's Restaurant. It will give the new McNally Robinson access to another set of windows.

"During the course of the last year, as we have been planning and putting the new store together, not one person said to me, 'The Forks? Really?' " Hall said. "Everyone immediately gets excited. It makes perfect sense to everyone.... It's not really even going to add another store's worth of overhead because Grant Park is like the warehouse which we can draw stock from and we have all the human resource management, newsletter production and all the buying of books already happening. The only overhead is labor and rent."

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

Sewanee: The University of the South's Bookstore Moving Off Campus

The college bookstore serving the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., will be moving off campus to a new downtown location. The Sewanee Purple reported that construction for the bookstore "is projected to begin in the summer of 2018.... In a step towards lessening the divide within the often referenced phrase 'Town vs. Gown,' the bookstore will be moved outside of central campus. Often criticized by community members of Sewanee for its secluded nature, Sewanee's central campus can seem detrimentally self-contained."

"The move of the bookstore is part of the plan to bring more commerce and activity to the Sewanee Village," said Jay Fisher, v-p for university advancement. "We expect the Regents to approve architectural plans for the bookstore when they meet in June. Construction should begin later in the summer."

The site for the new bookstore is "an unsuspecting building which they already own: the gray house on University Avenue near the post office," the Sewanee Purple observed.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Alamosa, Colo., Bookstore Closing, May Reopen as Co-Op

Narrow Gauge Newsstand, Alamosa, Colo., will close Friday after 40 years in business, though a movement to turn the space into a co-op bookstore is underway. Manager Christie Lindsay told Alamosa News the store is closing because its magazine distributor is going in a different business direction. She noted that owners John and Mary Anne Duffy once had 13 stores operating throughout the state, but Al's Newsstand in Fort Collins will be their last once Narrow Gauge Newsstand ends its run.

"It was an integral part on how we operate and losing them is devastating," she said. "It's the magazines that bring people in."

Despite the closing, "a sequel is planned for the space," Alamosa News wrote, adding that while discussions are currently in their early stages, Julie Mordecai, director of the Rio Grande Farm Park, "wants to transform the corner into a cooperative bookstore. With the blessing of John Duffy, Mordecai hopes to sell new and used books, food and art supplies along with hosting events such as book clubs, writing workshops and book signings. The co-op may expand into the area upstairs and open temporary office stations."

"I think bookstores can be a place where people can gather and learn and write and buy books and create community," she said. "I don't want to lose this anchor in downtown Alamosa. But we're going to need help and volunteers."

Obituary Note: Penny Vincenzi

British author Penny Vincenzi, whose novels have sold more than seven million copies worldwide, died February 25, the Guardian reported. She was 78. Vincenzi published her first book, Old Sins, in 1989 and produced 17 novels and two short story collections. Her "sweeping, doorstopper-sized novels earned her the moniker 'doyenne of the modern blockbuster' from Glamour."

"Her special gift as a novelist was her love for her characters, and that came from her deep interest in not only the people in her imagination, but also in pretty well everyone she ever met," said Clare Alexander, Vincenzi's agent. "She had such a generous gift of friendship, quite blind to whether someone was the boss or just making her a cup of tea. And that is why so many people in publishing will be devastated by her loss. Throughout her life--which like everyone's, had its own tragedies and pitfalls--Penny always looked for hope and joy and the best way forward, which is perhaps why her huge fan base crossed generations and never deserted her. I will miss her every day. She was a storyteller of such natural talent."

Author Sophie Kinsella noted: "As an author, I so admired her ability to weave together huge, epic plot lines and create such satisfying books full of real life, wit and passion. She was like one of her own novels: once you were in her company you didn't want to say goodbye. I will really miss her."

Vincenzi's books include A Question of Trust; the Lytton Family Trilogy (No Angel, Something Dangerous, Into Temptation); A Perfect Heritage; and Forbidden Places.


Image of the Day: Cuba at Versailles

Staffers from Books & Books and the sales team from Phaidon met at Miami's popular Cuban restaurant Versailles to brainstorm promotions for CUBA: The Cookbook. From left to right: Mark Pearson, D.A.P.; Phaidon rep Amy Hordes; Books & Books events & marketing director Cristina Nosti; owner Mitchell Kaplan; server Sarita; children's buyer Cristina Russell; inventory manager Gael LeLamer; and buyer Aaron Curtis.

Baghdad's First Female Bookseller 'Making Waves'

A new bookstore in Baghdad "is making waves--not for the titles it sells but for who owns it," NBC News said in reporting that BagBara'a Abdul Hadi Mudher al-Biyati is "the first woman to run a shop and publishing house on al-Muntanabbi Street, home to the Iraqi capital's historic book market."

"I didn't think at all of how others would look at me," said 29-year-old al-Biyati. "I was only thinking of the fact that I am achieving something when I convince someone to buy a book from me."

Born into a family that loves books and literature, she frequented al-Muntanabbi Street and eventually struck up a conversation with a bookshop owner. She recalled: "Without thinking, I asked him, 'Will you accept me to work with you as a volunteer and take care of your social media pages?' " He did, and for three years she managed the company's social media accounts and sold books at its stall on al-Muntanabbi Street, site of a March 2007 bombing that killed 30 and led to the area becoming a pedestrian-only zone.

Last February, with financial backing from her father, she opened Bara'a Bookstore and Publishing House, and has now published six books. She said she wants "to bring back the importance of females in our society." Her efforts also include a weekly broadcast on local TV discussing newly published books and Bara'a Is Reading on her YouTube channel, where she talks about books that have recently been published or translated into Arabic.

"I can come to the book market alone now, but four years ago I couldn't," al-Biyati said. "Life has improved and I hope that it will improve more and more in the future."

Personnel Changes at PRH; Running Press/Black Dog & Leventhal

Alyssa Oles is being promoted to v-p, director, fulfillment operations and IT services, Penguin Random House, based in Westminster, Md.


At Running Press and Black Dog & Leventhal:

Jessica Schmidt has been promoted to v-p/associate publisher of Running Press and has added marketing and publicity for Black Dog & Leventhal to her responsibilities. She joined Running Press in 2016 as director of marketing and publicity.

Amy Cianfrone has been promoted to marketing and publicity manager.

Kara Thornton has been promoted to senior publicist, focusing on Black Dog & Leventhal.

Media and Movies

TV: Harriet the Spy; The Kissing Hand

The Jim Henson Company has optioned two classic book properties--Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy novels and Audrey Penn's the Kissing Hand picture books--for development as television series in partnership with Rehab Entertainment and 2 Friends Entertainment.

Harriet the Spy is being developed as a new stylized 2D animated series that will follow the title character as she observes and writes about New York in the 1960s. BAFTA and Emmy Award- winning Karrot Entertainment (The Snowy Day, Sarah & Duck) is attached to animate the series.

The Kissing Hand will be brought to life with puppets from Jim Henson's Creature Shop, as Chester the raccoon learns how to navigate going to school, making new friends, and dealing with the daily anxieties of a preschooler, with the love and support of Mama Raccoon.

"Both of these classic book properties share the Jim Henson Company's commitment to entertain and inspire children, featuring dynamic characters and stories that celebrate creativity, empowerment, and joy," said Halle Stanford, president of television for the Jim Henson Company. "We have a deep respect for Harriet the Spy, and her many fans, and we're ready to bring this real girl to audiences around the world. Similarly, the Kissing Hand, which is arguably the top book parents use to prepare their children for preschool and kindergarten, is deeply nurturing and perfectly suited for puppetry. Now more than ever, we believe children need the stories of Chester Raccoon and his Mama to encourage them to adventure in the world while still maintaining the loving connection of family and friends."

Books & Authors

Awards: SCBWI Spark, Emerging Voices; RBC Taylor

The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators has announced winners of the 2017 Spark Award, which recognizes excellence in children's books published through an independent or non-traditional route; and On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award, which is "part of the SCBWI's ongoing effort to foster diverse and underrepresented voices in children's publishing."

The Spark winner in the "Books for Older Readers" category is Michelle Morgan for Flying Through Clouds. The honor book is Petals by Laurisa White Reyes. The Spark "Illustrated Book" winner is The Santa Thief by Alane Adams, illustrated by Lauren Gallegos. Author/illustrator Michael Hale's Bad Monkey Business is the honor book in this category.

The SCBWI's On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award winners are Anuradha D. Rajurkar for her YA novel American Betiya and Lakita Wilson for Books Like Me, the first title in a planned middle grade series called the SweetPeas. The winning manuscripts will be made available to select agents and editors via a secure website. Rajurkar and Wilson will also receive a paid trip to the 2018 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles to meet editors, agents and other industry professionals.

"Our community is actively working toward the goal of every child having the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the pages of a book," said SCBWI executive director Lin Oliver. "It is time to acknowledge underrepresented authors and illustrators and help them bring their talents and voices to the forefront."

The On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award is made possible through the generosity of Sue and Martin Schmitt of the 455 Foundation.


Tanya Talaga won the C$25,000 (about US$19,615) RBC Taylor Prize, which honors the best in Canadian nonfiction, for for her book Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City. As winner, Talaga will select the next recipient of the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award, which is given to an up-and-coming Canadian writer who will receive C$10,000 (about US$7,845) and the opportunity to be mentored by Talaga.

In its citation, the jury said: "Talaga has written Canada's J'Accuse, an open letter to the rest of us about the many ways we contribute--through act or inaction--to suicides and damaged existences in Canada's indigenous communities. Tanya Talaga's account of teen lives and deaths in and near Thunder Bay is detailed, balanced and heart-rending. Talaga describes gaps in the system large enough for beloved children and adults to fall through, endemic indifference, casual racism and a persistent lack of resources. It is impossible to read this book and come away unchanged."

Reading with...Akwaeke Emezi

photo: Elizabeth Wirija

Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist. Their debut novel, Freshwater (Grove Atlantic, February 13, 2018), is an Indie Next selection and has been listed as a most anticipated book of 2018 by Esquire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, the Rumpus and Bustle, among others. Their short story "Who Is Like God" won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa.

On your nightstand now:

I recently discovered Cassandra Khaw's work and promptly bought all of it that I could find. She has a wonderful way with language and worldbuilding. I just finished her books Food of the Gods and Hammer on Bone, and I'm about to start A Song for Quiet. I also have Emma Reyes's memoir, The Book of Emma Reyes, which I'm looking forward to reading particularly because it was a gift from a magician who loves me.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I feel like this is a slightly impossible question to answer! There was definitely a strong British influence in most of what I read (colonialism will do that)--books by Enid Blyton, C.S. Lewis, James Herriot, and Gerald Durrell. There were series upon series--Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Goosebumps and Animorphs--but the book that gives me a definite surge of childhood feels is actually Chinua Achebe's children's story Chike and the River. It was such a formative part of my early years; we read it both at home and as assigned reading in school.

Your top five authors:

I read quite a bit, but there are actually very few authors who I get genuinely excited to talk about and see new work by. N.K. Jemisin is one of them; I live and hunger for the worlds she makes. Helen Oyeyemi, always; she creates fascinating work. Zen Cho, who I want to write all the things, just so I can read them. And for novels that haven't come out yet but are among my favorites because the linearity of time is irrelevant--Eloghosa Osunde and Christopher Myers.

Book you've faked reading:

Most recently? Marlon James's A Brief History of Seven Killings. People tend to talk about it with the assumption that everyone's read it; I pretty much just smile and nod at this point.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I've been aggressively rhapsodizing about Fran Ross's Oreo to anyone who will listen ever since I read it a couple of months ago. The magician recommended it to me and rightfully so--that book completely blew open my ideas around what I could write, specifically what format it could fit into. It helped me see that even in just thinking about my work, I'd been limiting it to a certain template of what I thought a book could be.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I rarely buy physical books anymore; I prefer e-books, so covers become less of a factor. However, the cover design I've enjoyed recently is the U.K. edition of Chinelo Okparanta's Under the Udala Trees; it's got great color and texture.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents were actually quite indifferent about censoring books when I was younger, so I didn't need to hide anything from them. But if there was one book I definitely didn't want them to know I'd read, it was V.C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic. I was about nine when I read that and my goodness, that was stressful.

Book that changed your life:

I'm going to be terribly gauche here and say Freshwater, because reading that book as I wrote it and through all the editing drafts afterwards has continued to be the most transformative experience I've ever had with a book. I had no idea what it was going to be when I started, and the person I was then is not the person I became by the time it was done. The ripples of that experience continue till today, a molting of skin that's taking a few years to play out.

Favorite line from a book:

Ah, this one is from my favorite Toni Morrison book, Love. I even made a video piece in response to it--"Hey, Celestial." It's a secret reference used between characters in the book as an affirmation of bond and power.

Five books you'll never part with:

Rumi's The Masnavi, which I'm studying to figure out how to get to nothingness. Douglas Adams's The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--my mother had a copy of this book and I've loved it since I was little. Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red, for sentimental reasons involving the magician. Kuzhali Manickavel's Insects Are Just Like You and Me Except Some of Them Have Wings; I used to read her blog and I just love the writing in this book. Grace Jones's memoir, I'll Never Write My Memoirs, which gave me incredible insight into how to be a hypervisible artist presenting as one's full self (aka life goals). 

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Any of Octavia Butler's books. I deeply envy everyone who hasn't read them yet because they get the pleasure of doing so.

Book you carry around with you:

I'm going to collapse about 40 books into one and say Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. I honestly wish my favorite authors who do series would write a world as extensive as this, it's perfect to jump into at any time and large enough that it never gets boring to revisit.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Wild Robot Escapes

The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown (Little, Brown, $16.99 hardcover, 288p., ages 7-12, 9780316382045, March 13, 2018)

When readers last saw Roz, it would have been hard to imagine her on a farm. But that's where the wild robot's new journey begins in Peter Brown's sequel to his bestselling middle-grade novel, The Wild Robot. Roz is delivered by self-driving delivery truck to Mr. Shareef, a recent widower and father of two, to help him on his dairy farm. Hilltop Farm's animals, like those on the remote island she used to call home, first see Roz as "a monster." She quickly connects with them, though, by doing "the unthinkable" and speaking "to the cows in the language of the animals." She bonds with the farm animals and the Shareef children, but desperately misses her adopted son, a goose named Brightbill. Roz has a place on the farm but she longs to escape. Over many months, with help from almost every animal and person she knows, Roz is finally reunited with Brightbill. The two set out to return home but, even as she is running away from the farm, she doesn't feel free; she feels "something more like fear" that she'll be captured and destroyed, or that her son will be hurt. Indeed, both Roz and Brightbill are not free--in order to have any chance of making it home, they will have to escape completely from a society that doesn't understand them.

As with The Wild Robot (2016), The Wild Robot Escapes has a broad appeal beyond the typical middle-grade audience. Brown's simple prose and illustrations, in combination with the story's complex themes, make The Wild Robot Escapes both accessible and thought-provoking. Roz observes and explores her world with open curiosity, and many of her conversations pose interesting questions to the reader, as in this conversation:

" 'How do you know your feelings are real?' said the woman.
'How do you know your feelings are real?' said the robot." 

After considering the concepts of the self and the importance of community, the story ends on a quiet and satisfying note, leaving readers with much to discuss. Black-and-white illustrations, drawn in Brown's expressive style, add visual context that will attract and aid any reader who's still building the ability to decode text. The book also works beautifully as a read-aloud, thanks to third-person narration that often addresses the reader directly ("Reader, there's another important quality that children possess. In addition to being sneaky and smart, they're also compassionate") and ultra-short chapters. For the sake of Roz's happiness, readers may hope this is her final adventure. Whether it is or isn't, though, Roz and her numerous families have given readers a book to mull over for many years. --Stephanie Anderson, assistant director of selection, BookOps

Shelf Talker: The sequel to Peter Brown's acclaimed The Wild Robot is a magical middle-grade mixture of prose and illustration about what it means to be free and what it means to belong.

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