Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 4, 2019

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer


Still North Books to Open in Hanover, N.H.

Still North Books, a bookstore, cafe and beer/wine bar that will be located in the former Dartmouth Bookstore space in Hanover, N.H., is planning a fall opening. Valley News reported that Allie Levy, a Dartmouth College alumna, has signed a lease to occupy nearly 2,700 square feet on the first floor. The Dartmouth Bookstore closed late last year after more than 140 years in business.

Levy credits her time working as events coordinator at Denver's BookBar with inspiring Still North Books: "When I was in Hanover in November, I couldn't stop thinking how Hanover needed an independent bookstore. I had seen how BookBar worked in Denver and thought how that idea could really work in Hanover, too." More recently, she has worked in the marketing department of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's trade book division.

Dartmouth Bookstore closed at the end of 2018.

Levy's plan fits with building owner Jay Campion's concept about how traditional bricks-and-mortar retail needs to evolve in the era of online shopping. "It's difficult for people to separate product acquisition from shopping," he said. "Shopping is an experience and product acquisition is getting stuff. You can't compete with the Internet for getting stuff. It's just not possible."

He added that he came to an agreement with Levy to lease the space because "she's smart and has experience in the book business. She's a real book person and has a modern approach. It's a good fit."

Levy, who had been thinking about opening an indie bookstore in Hanover almost since her student days, "was inspired to revive her ambition when she learned last October through the trade newsletter Shelf Awareness that the Dartmouth Bookstore would be closing," Valley News wrote. "So she reached out to Campion, whose family owned the former Campion's department store and has been associated with downtown Hanover retailing since the early 20th century."

Still North Books, which takes its name from a line in the Dartmouth school song, will carry 7,000-10,000 titles, and feature book signings, children's story times and other events, including class discussions for Dartmouth students. "I'm hoping to create a space that is really appealing both for students but also everyone else in the Upper Valley community," Levy said.

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Woodstock, N.Y.'s Golden Notebook Undergoing Renovations

The Golden Notebook bookstore, Woodstock, N.Y., has begun renovations that include a new floor, new shelving and "freshening up its downstairs retail space," the store announced. Owners James Conrad and Jacqueline Kellachan described this as "phase I of a planned renovation and expansion of the bookstore." To accommodate the renovations, the store will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and will have "limited retail hours on other days with a pop-up store at the rear of the building." The store expects to reopen fully by March 1.

Conrad bought the building in 2015, when an inspection found that the foundation needed repair. "The Golden Notebook is committed to the Woodstock community," he said. "The passion and support of our customers have sustained the bookstore for 40 years. We plan to do everything possible to keep the store accessible during the month of February."

Kellachan said, "We are excited to fully re-open March 1 for what will surely be one of the busiest summers in our town, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Michael Lang's Woodstock Festival. In the meantime, books can be ordered on our website or via phone at any time. Please just don't buy it on Amazon!"

The store celebrated its 40th anniversary last September.

Linda's Story Time, Monroe, Conn., for Sale

Linda Devlin, founder and owner of Linda's Story Time, Monroe, Conn., is planning to retire in June and is seeking to sell the store, the Connecticut Post reported. "I hope we can get a buyer," she told the paper. "Every town needs a bookstore."

The Monroe economic development commission plans to help look for a potential buyer, chairman Ray Giovanni, who is also president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, said. "I've known Linda a long time," he added. "She's very creative and made (the business) work well. I hope we can find someone to take the business over."

Linda's Story Time focuses on literature for children--"from babyhood to the teens"--and has, according to the store website, an adult section with "an eclectic mix of the best fiction and nonfiction books and other special gifts for the book lover on your list!" Devlin's motto, the paper said, is "Books are vitamins that taste like candy."

For more information, call Devlin at 203-459-1579.

2019 Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards "are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values." On January 28, at ALA Midwinter in Seattle, Wash., the winners of the CSK Author and Illustrator Awards were announced: author Claire Hartfield for A Few Red Drops (Clarion/HMH) and illustrator Ekua Holmes for The Stuff of Stars (Candlewick Press).


(photo: Brian McConkey)

Claire Hartfield is a children's book author and education leader. A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 (Clarion Books) is her second work for children.

Congratulations! What a fantastic achievement. How are you feeling?

Over the moon! I am so honored to receive this award. And I am so excited to have this opportunity to share this important history with so many new people.

It's always fun to see a nonfiction book receive an award like this. What do you think makes A Few Red Drops shine?

First of all, the story--all of it true--is a page turner with moments of suffering, tenacity, heartbreak, pride, rage and, ultimately, some redemption. Many readers have told me that the story reminds them of lore passed down through the generations of their own families: African Americans who migrated north from the south and immigrants to America from countries around the world. And there is something more: the story of 1919 echoes many of the issues we face today. Knowing our history helps us to avoid repeating the same mistakes and to build upon the good ideas that came from that era so that we can move forward to create a better world.

Red Drops is your first work for young readers since your nonfiction picture book Me and Uncle Romie in 2002. Was there a reason for that extended period of time between titles?

Yes. My career has always been about giving young people the tools to lead their best lives. I began working as a school desegregation lawyer to increase equality in schools. Then, when my own three daughters were small, I stopped working outside the home for five years. I read to my kids a lot and I began to see that some stories were not being told. I wrote Me and Uncle Romie about the world-famous African American collage artist Romare Bearden, who used art to tell stories. The book shows children how to tell their own stories through art. Then I went back to work in schools and didn't have time to write. But now I am doing some of both--a perfect mix!

You've spent your career providing underprivileged children with opportunities--does that work influence what you want to write and how you present your material?

Most definitely. I know how important it is for young people of all races and backgrounds to see their own stories, their own histories, portrayed in books and movies and on TV. I am excited to be able to share some of these stories through my writing.

How does it feel to come back to authorship and receive such an incredible response for your book?

Woo hoo!!!

Thanks so much for chatting with Shelf! Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

The future is yours to make!

Congratulations again!

(photo: Charles Walker Jr.)

Ekua Holmes is a native of Roxbury, Mass., and a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has devoted her practice to sustaining contemporary black art traditions in Boston, as an artist, curator of exhibitions and as an active member of Boston's art community. The Stuff of Stars (Candlewick Press) is her second Youth Media Award-winner; she received a Caldecott honor in 2016 for Voice of Freedom (written by Carole Boston Weatherford, Candlewick).

Congratulations! You've been working as an artist since 2000, but you're still very new to children's literature. What has it been like creating art for others' words?

It has been a wonderful new way of working that considers not just the authors, editors and directors but most importantly the children who will be reading the text and viewing the illustrations.

What is it like to get so much recognition in such a short period of time?

Unbelievable. I am still pinching myself. I don't think about it too much, though. I don't want to be distracted from trying to do my best work.

What are your connections to the story being told in The Stuff of Stars? Was there anything about working on this title that was different from previous experiences?

Yes. I wasn't sure I was the right illustrator. But Candlewick editor Liz Bicknell thought I was. In terms of a connection, I am made of The Stuff of Stars--as is everyone I love and cherish!

Is there anything in this piece that you think makes it stand out more than other books you've illustrated? How does it relate to your body of picture book work?

It's very different from anything else I've ever done in children's literature. Its abstract, conceptual, scientific. The human figure plays a supporting role to the unfolding of our universe. I also used a technique, marbleizing, that I'd always been interested in. It turned out to be the right material for this story.

Are you working on anything new?

Yes. A book with a new author, Angela Joy: Black Is a Rainbow Color.

Thank you so much for chatting with Shelf! Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

What I've learned from The Stuff of Stars is to stay open to new challenges. Just like the universe was born by unfurling, zigging, zagging and stretching, so do we grow as artists. Thank you for your thoughtful questions.

Congratulations again! 

Thank you Roxbury Sunflowers!!

 --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness


Wi14: Mariachi & Murder Grand Finale

"Mariachi & Murder," the 2019 ABA Winter Institute grand finale event, opened, appropriately enough, with a lively performance in Kiva Auditorium by Mariachi Buenaventura.

Then Kelsy April, manager at Savoy Bookshop and Café in Westerly, R.I., introduced Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, hosts of the hit true crime/comedy podcast My Favorite Murder and authors of Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered: The Definitive How to Guide (Forge Books, May 2019), a Winter/Spring 2019 Indies Introduce debut selection.

(l. to r.) Georgia Hardstark, Karen Kilgariff, Kelsy April

A devoted fan of the podcast and proud "murderino," April recalled that from the first episode she listened to, "I was obsessed with how these two badass ladies who co-hosted the show managed to talk about true crime in a way that made it feel a little bit less taboo; that it was okay to talk about something that might make you feel vulnerable, but in the end can relieve some of your own anxieties. I know, a true crime comedy podcast doesn't sound like it should work but it does."

Regarding the podcast's origin, Kilgariff said, "We stumbled upon something we didn't know was waiting to be uncovered."

Noting that "one of the things booksellers do really well is serve as a place of discovery and place of community for people who love to read," April called My Favorite Murder "a space for fans of true crime to really come together and be together in their passion."

"We love it, too," said Kilgariff. "We're definitely not experts, as you'll find out if you listen to the podcast. And so, accidentally, we set up this interactive thing with the listeners where I will absolutely misquote statistics, cities, the year something happened. I think I'm right when I'm doing it. I find out I'm wrong. And that becomes the conversation." 

April agreed: "We develop these connections with you, and we feel like we know you. In bookselling, it's the same thing. We are all about making connections with our readers and the people that come into our store and feel safe in our store."

Hardstark observed that they realized this aspect of their mission quickly, adding that "it happened in the airport today, where you get stopped and someone says, 'I listen to your podcast,' and it's usually some girl that you could be friends with, that I would hang out with. It's been this really cool thing. It's like-minded women; a lot of people that are so similar to us. And so, when they say I feel like I know you, well you do because I speak to you as exactly who I am."

Recalling her longtime obsession with true crime stories, Kilgariff gave a shout-out to the Copperfield's Books in Petaluma, Calif.: "We've had an indie bookstore in my hometown all my life. Everyone goes there. It's right downtown and you'll just walk through it just to see what's there. It's very central, very cool. I remember being a 12-year-old and going into the true crime section like I was in the adult book section, looking through and seeing the different stories. And there was this feeling that it was taboo. I shouldn't be there. It's not for me. I think the experiences people have with this podcast--and hopefully the book--are a way to discover that you get to like whatever you want and there's lots of other people who like the same thing."

Regarding Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered, April praised the dual memoir humor advice book as "hilarious, honest and compulsively readable. Karen and Georgia tear down walls, talk about the things that make them vulnerable, the mistakes that they've made, their triumphs, and all while making us laugh out loud." Then she joked: "Where the hell am I supposed to put that in the store?"

"Right in the front, baby!" Kilgariff replied.

Hardstark added that she was recently in her favorite indie bookstore, Skylight Books in Los Angeles: "I go there all the time. I used to go when I was depressed and didn't know that many people when I first moved to L.A. I would just go in and wander around, look at the booksellers' recommendations when I needed something to read. They always had good books out, still do. I went in there the other day, looking for something, and it hit me that the table where all these incredible books always are, where I always find a good one....  My frickin' book is going to be there! I almost started crying.... It's an honor and it's because we have such an incredible group of listeners." --Robert Gray

Univ. of Georgia Press Buys Milestone Press

The University of Georgia Press has bought Milestone Press, which specializes in guide books for the Southern Appalachian region. Milestone has 22 active titles, and new titles will be published under the Milestone Press imprint.

Founded in 1992 by Mary Ellen Hammond and Jim Parham, Milestone Press titles that cover a range of outdoor activities: backpacking, motorcycle touring, day hikes and family hikes, remote and urban hiking, mountain biking and road biking, as well as waterfall and wildflower trail hikes in and around the Southern Appalachians. The first title UGA Press will publish under the Milestone Press imprint is Backpacking Overnights: North Georgia Mountains and Southeast Tennessee by Jim Parham, which will appear in May.

"We are pleased to pass the Milestone Press torch to Georgia's oldest and largest publisher, and happy that our titles and authors have found such a good home there," Hammond said.

Parham added: "Mary Ellen and I are confident UGA will do a great job continuing what we began with our first guidebook more than 25 years ago: providing reliable, up-to-date adventure information in an easy-to-use format."

UGA Press director Lisa Bayer commented: "As a leading publisher of respected nature guides with our Wormsloe Foundation Nature Books and Georgia River Network Guidebooks, the UGA Press is excited for this opportunity to expand our list and publish on new topics of interest to the citizens of the region. Milestone Press's strong reputation for quality publishing makes it a perfect fit for the University of Georgia Press."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Seriously HAPPY:
10 life-changing philosophy lessons from Stoicism to Zen to supercharge your mindset
by Ben Aldridge
illus. by Michelle Brackenborough
GLOW: Holler: Seriously HAPPY: 10 Life-Changing Philosophy Lessons from Stoicism to Zen to Supercharge Your Mindset by Ben Aldridge

Mental health matters are unpacked through philosophy and quirky challenges in Ben Aldridge's uplifting first YA title, Seriously HAPPY, which mixes personal stories and synopses of teachings from OG philosophers. Alongside Aristotle and Socrates, Aldridge includes insights from lesser-known great minds like Bao Gu, a female Chinese Taoist physician, and Nigerian philosopher Orunmila, to show readers how to be confident, decisive, and resilient. Aldridge personally "employed Stoicism and other philosophies as key strategies in overcoming severe and debilitating anxiety and panic attacks as a young man," says Holler publisher Debbie Foy, adding that Aldridge's conversational tone makes the subject matter accessible and inviting to a young adult audience. "He is clear that everyone deserves happiness in their lives but what constitutes 'happiness' is different for all of us." --Rachel Werner

(Holler, $12.99 Hardcover, ages 12-up, 9780711297807, 
September 3, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Maasai Storytime

Joseph Koyie, Maasai warrior and naturalist from Kenya, joined storytime at the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, N.C. After reading Rachel Isadora's I Just Want to Say Good Night and Old Mikamba Had a Farm, Koyie taught the children how to make the real animal sounds.

Black Birch Books, Wasilla's 'Hometown Bookstore'

Taylor Jordon opened Black Birch Books, Wasilla, Alaska, with a vision of "having a safe place that felt like another world, where people could escape," the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reported in a profile of the new and used bookstore that will celebrate its first year in business this March. "I'm honored to be Wasilla's bookstore," Jordon said. "We've got such a diverse community. It's something that we should celebrate."

After 15 years in the U.S. Air Force, she suffered a spine injury and her longtime idea of one day opening a bookstore "became a reality quicker than she anticipated," the Frontiersman wrote.

"My spine injury was unexpected so it kind of made me create a whole different life," Jordon said, observing that her new life is unexpectedly fast-paced: "Here I am retired and I had this picture in my head: I'm gonna open a bookstore; I'm gonna read books all day; and drink tea and it's gonna' be great. I have now read 23 chapters of a book and I've almost overdosed on tea to keep me alive because I don't have time to eat."

She has "also built strong relationships with other independent bookstores like Fireside Books in Palmer and Title Wave Books in Anchorage," and does not see them as her competition, since "they all do things differently and feed off each other in a mutually beneficial way," the Frontiersman noted.

"Certain businesses in this economy thrive when they work together," Jordon said.

Rizzoli New York to Distribute Pavilion Books

Effective in July, Rizzoli New York will distribute Pavilion Books, which includes Pavilion Children's, Portico, Pitkin, and the National Trust, in the Americas via Penguin Random House Publisher Services.

Pavilion Books, with headquarters in London, publishes the Then and Now series, authors and illustrators such as Cath Kidston, Millie Marotta and David Roberts, and branded publishing programs for companies and organizations, all with a focus on cooking, children's, gardening and lifestyle.

Pavilion managing director David Graham commented; 'This new partnership with Rizzoli marks a significant and strategic step for Pavilion in North and South America. We have a program of very exciting books that appeals to readers across the world and I am very confident that the combination of the strength of the Pavilion list and Rizzoli's market knowledge and illustrated book expertise will significantly grow our presence and our sales in this key territory."

Jennifer Pierson, Rizzoli's v-p of sales and marketing, added: "We are thrilled to work with Pavilion, the highly respected independent publisher of illustrated adult and children's books that shares our values of quality, style, and creativity. We are excited to be partnering with them to bring their future lists to the North and Latin American markets and look forward to a long and successful collaboration."

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

At Sourcebooks, Liz Kelsch is being promoted to director of marketing for nonfiction and mystery. She was formerly senior marketing manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Angie Thomas on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Roger McNamee, author of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Disaster (Penguin Presss, $28, 9780525561354).

Fresh Air: Bridgett M. Davis, author of The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother's Life in the Detroit Numbers (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316558730).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Riverhead, $30, 9780735220171).

CBS This Morning: Angie Thomas, author of On the Come Up (Balzer + Bray, $18.99, 9780062498564).

Also on CBS This Morning: Jill Schlesinger, author of The Dumb Things Smart People Do with Their Money: Thirteen Ways to Right Your Financial Wrongs (Ballantine Books, $25, 9780525622178).

Good Morning America: Reshma Saujani, author of Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder (Currency, $25, 9781524762339).

Today Show: Chris Wilson, author of The Master Plan: My Journey from Life in Prison to a Life of Purpose (Putnam, $27, 9780735215580).

Also on Today: DeVon Franklin, author of The Truth About Men: What Men and Women Need to Know (Howard, $26, 9781982101275).

The View: Jacqueline L. Jackson, author of Loving You, Thinking of You, Don't Forget to Pray: Letters to My Son in Prison (Arcade, $24.99, 9781948924320).

On Stage: Dog Man: The Musical

Dav Pilkey's Dog Man "is getting the stage musical treatment," Deadline reported, adding that the Emmy Award-winning duo Kevin Del Aguila and Brad Alexander "are on board to write Dog Man: The Musical, with Jen Wineman directing the world premiere staging for the not-for-profit TheaterWorksUSA at an Off Broadway theater this summer."

Producers described Dog Man: The Musical as "a hilarious new musical based on the bestselling book series by Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey featuring a lovable crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, and all hero." The production, designed for children 6 and up, will run June 28 to August 4 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.

"I just had the honor and privilege of seeing an early workshop performance of Dog Man: The Musical and I absolutely loved it," said Pilkey. "I admire the talented team at TheaterWorksUSA who are best known for making literature come alive and for creating entertainment that appeals to audiences of all ages. I can't wait for everyone to see it!"

Books & Authors

Awards: Victorian Prize for Literature

No Friend But the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison by Behrouz Boochani has won the Victorian Prize for Literature, the overall prize of the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, honoring Australian writing and administered by the Wheeler Centre on behalf of the premier of the state of Victoria. To see the winners in all seven categories, click here.

Behrouz Boochani, who also won in the nonfiction category, receives A$125,000 (about US$90,610) altogether. His award is especially striking because the Kurdish-Iranian journalist and asylum seeker has been detained in an offshore prison in Papua New Guinea by the Australian government since 2013. His translator, Omid Tofighian, represented him at the awards and played a recorded video message.

"I have always said I believe in words and literature," Boochani said. "I believe that literature has the potential to make change and challenge structures of power. Literature has the power to give us freedom."

Book Review

Review: Instructions for a Funeral: Stories

Instructions for a Funeral: Stories by David Means (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 hardcover, 208p., 9780374279813, March 5, 2019)

In a 2016 interview with the Guardian, David Means described the aspirations that drive his short story writing: "What you hope for," he said, "is that you radiate the past behind the story and the future in front of it. You want to end in a way that makes the reader go back and reread and pushes them forward into eternity or whatever the hell's out there." With subject matter as varied as the terrors of homelessness and mental illness and the demands of parenting, the 14 eclectic stories in Instructions for a Funeral, Means's fifth collection and first since 2010, admirably fulfill that goal.

It's impossible to isolate a single dominant theme or perhaps even a representative story, but the title selection is as good as any for revealing the distinctive pleasures of Means's (Assorted Fire Events) short fiction. In it, the narrator, William Kenner, a real estate developer, in the guise of a meticulously detailed and wickedly funny letter to his lawyer, reveals how his friend Philpot and Sullivan, a New York mobster, swindled him in a real estate deal. Featuring the harrowing description of a mass shooting, two dramatic scenes of rescue and a chilling encounter between Kenner and Sullivan, and the final sentence, "Everything, right now, is safe and cozy," it's a masterly literary juggling act.

Not all of Means's stories are so dramatic. "The Chair" is a stream-of-consciousness account of a stay-at-home father's musings as his son cavorts on a stone wall above the Hudson River, a setting for several other stories in Instructions for a Funeral. Anyone who's ever wrestled with the balance between love and discipline will appreciate the narrator's ambivalence as he futilely warns a five-year-old boy of the consequences of his daredevil antics. Transgression of a different type is the subject of "The Mighty Shannon," where the protagonist of "The Chair" and his wife, Sharon, a Manhattan lawyer, find themselves in a couples therapist's office confronting the aftermath of their mutual affairs.

Means also has an affinity for society's marginal inhabitants. "The Ice Committee" is the poignant story of two homeless men--Kurt, a Vietnam veteran in his mid-50s, and Merle, his much older companion--in frigid Duluth, Minn., as they muse on the vicissitudes of luck while scrounging for a few dollars to buy a scratch-off lottery ticket. "These were the glorious moments between them," Means writes in a tender summing up of the pair's meandering conversation, "when the burdens of their respective regrets seemed to merge and disappear, and it was because of these purifications that they were still together, still hanging on."

Instructions for a Funeral is like the proverbial box of chocolates. Not every story will suit every reader's taste, but there are ample treats here guaranteed to surprise and delight anyone. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: David Means's fifth collection of short stories offers varied glimpses of some of the trials of human life.

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