Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 20, 2019: Maximum Shelf: Black Death at the Golden Gate

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 20, 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


The Book Worm in Powder Springs, Ga., Considers Co-Op

Seeking to retire, Susan Smelser has started the process of taking the Book Worm Bookstore in Powder Springs, Ga., to a cooperative business model. Smelser, who has owned and operated the Book Worm since founding it in 2005, has given herself a 60-day deadline to see whether the switch to a cooperative model would be viable.

Smelser stressed that the decision doesn't come from the store being in dire straits. Rather, she explained that her husband has been retired for about a year and she is ready to move on from the store and join him. At the same time, she wants the Book Worm to continue in Powder Springs and there seemed no better way than a community-owned cooperative.

"We are debt free, the store is doing fine," said Smelser, who owns the store's building. "We are profitable. We don't have anything but our monthly payments."

Smelser held the first co-op meeting on March 6, which featured a quick overview of the situation and a q&a session with customers and community members. Since then Smelser has held two more meetings and has another one scheduled for this Sunday. So far, she said, she's had "tremendous support" at the meetings and the vast majority of people who came to each of the meetings say they are interested in becoming either sustaining members or shareholders.

Under current plans, community members, customers and friends of the store can become full voting members of the cooperative for $100. They will receive a common share of the business and a 5% discount on all purchases at the store. Those who make investments of $1,000 can become shareholders, who will receive one preferred share and a slice of the store's dividends, in addition to the common share and the discount. And those who invest even higher amounts can receive additional benefits, including more shares, higher discounts and more. Smelser added that she plans to create 200 shares.

Smelser has yet to take any money from prospective shareholders or begin any of the legal work need to create the cooperative. That process will begin around the end of April/beginning of May, if Smelser believes that the necessary community support is there. Should that process begin, there will be a steering committee to guide things that will eventually hand over control to the board of directors. The board will buy Smelser out, while leaving a sizable amount of money in the pot for the store to use as operating expenses, and pay rent to her each month, unless the co-op decides to buy the building.

She added that even after the payout, she plans to be a part of the store. "I would stay on to consult and train. I just don't want to be the full-time person."

As for day-to-day operations, there will be paid store employees, with dividends going to shareholders, and there are plans for plenty of volunteer work. While not mandatory, Smelser hopes that around 75% of members will spend some time volunteering, and some examples of volunteer activities include running the store's social media, setting up for events, and creating seasonal decorations and displays in store.

Smelser founded the Book Worm as an online store, but it did so well that in 2005 she opened a bricks-and-mortar location. The store sells mainly used, rare and out-of-print books, along with a smaller selection of new titles and bestsellers.

"No one wants to see the store close," Smelser said. "But I don't want to wait any longer." --Alex Mutter

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

Charis Books & More to Reopen in Decatur

Charis Books' current location

Charis Books & More "ends a 45-year chapter" in Atlanta's Little Five Points neighborhood this Saturday with a closing party. The independent feminist bookstore will be reopening in its new space at 184 South Candler Street in Decatur on April 1 in a renovated building owned by Agnes Scott College.

The move "caps a five-year journey that started with a community listening tour connected to the bookstore's 40th birthday," Project Q Atlanta reported.

E.R. Anderson, executive director of the nonprofit Charis Circle, said as a result of that tour, they understood that selling the Little Five Points building and moving was necessary for Charis's future. Nevertheless, "the spirit of Little Five Points is in Charis's DNA." The bookstore opened on Moreland Avenue in Little Five Points in 1974, then moved to Euclid Avenue in 1994.

"I hope the neighborhood will remember what we brought to it," Anderson said. "But there's also much to be said about making a fresh start. We have the opportunity to really finally ensure that Charis will be around for the next 45 years through this partnership with Agnes Scott and that is something we could not pass up."

Charis Books' future home.

Since announcing the move in 2016, Charis has been working with Agnes Scott to renovate the structure that will be its new home. A capital campaign generated $250,000 for the project, with donors including Agnes Scott, a handful of family foundations and wealthy donors, and "literally thousands" of Charis fans who donated $10 to $100 each, Anderson added.

Charis will lease the property from Agnes Scott rent free. The goal for the new location is to mimic the open and inviting feel of the Euclid Avenue store.

"Our guiding words for the design were organic, homey, welcoming and fresh and I think we have achieved that," Anderson noted. "We will have a front porch where people can chat with friends or have a small book club. We're also making plans for a meditation garden with seating under the big magnolia tree in back."

Charis will host a grand reopening party on April 27 for Independent Bookstore Day.

At B&N: Joe Gorman New Executive V-P, Operations

Joe Gorman

Joe Gorman has joined Barnes & Noble as v-p, operations. He will be responsible for "uniting the stores, café and real estate teams, as well as providing sales, logistical and operational leadership to these teams to drive performance, growth and profitability," according to the company. He will report to B&N's executive chairman Len Riggio.

"Joe is a seasoned executive and given his wealth of retail experience we believe he is the perfect fit for our business," Riggio said.

Gorman, who has more than 25 years of strategic, operational and entrepreneurial experience, was formerly executive v-p, operations, at General Nutrition Centers. Prior to that he worked at GameStop (once owned by Len Riggio and B&N), where he created and grew a business unit dedicated to new strategic growth; and Home Depot, where he led the operational direction and execution plan for West Coast division stores and employees.

Rowman & Littlefield Acquires McBooks Press

The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group has acquired McBooks Press, Ithaca, N.Y., which specializes in historical fiction, particularly naval and military series fiction, as well as some nonfiction. Founded 39 years ago by Alex Skutt as an offshoot of his independent bookstore of the same name, McBooks Press has published such historical fiction writers as Douglas Reeman (Alexander Kent), Julian Stockwin, Dudley Pope, John Biggins and Dewey Lambdin.

Skutt, whose partner, Panda Musgrove, joined the firm in 2005, said, "We work hard and--at the age of 70--it's time for me to retire. Panda Musgrove and I are delighted that Jed Lyons and his very impressive crew will be taking over McBooks Press."

With the sale, Tom McCarthy, editor at Rowman & Littlefield's Lyons Press imprint, will now oversee the McBooks Press program. McCarthy spent four years as an editor at International Marine in Camden, Maine, where he acquired nautical titles.

Effective May 1, Rowman & Littlefield's National Book Network will assume all physical and e-book distribution of McBooks Press. (The company was a distribution client of NBN for five years before moving to Independent Publishers Group in 2007.)

Binc Upgrades Disaster Relief Program

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation's disaster relief program, which was piloted in 2017 and 2018, is now a regular Binc program following a February vote by the board of directors.

The program's goal is to provide assistance to bookstores so they can return to normal operations as soon as possible following a natural disaster, according to Binc, which "can now help bookstores pay essential expenses if they have sustained a financial hardship due to disaster. Rent, utilities, certain repairs, and storage of non-damaged furnishings, while repairs are completed, can all be considered for assistance."

Through the generosity of Binc's donors, the organization assisted six bookstores in 2017 and five bookstores last year with recovery assistance for hurricanes, wildfires and floods. Binc has given more than $76,000 in disaster recovery assistance to bookstores since the pilot program began.

"We believe that the number of bookstores needing this assistance is only going to increase in the coming years," said Binc executive director Pam French. "Our bookstore disaster recovery assistance has proven to help booksellers and their communities move forward after a natural disaster, so by changing the bookstore disaster recovery assistance from a pilot to a regular program, we are preparing for the future."

Board member Annie Philbrick, owner of Bank Square Books in Mystic, Conn., and Savoy Bookshop & Café in Westerly, R.I., recalled that when Bank Square was flooded by tropical storm Sandy, "we received a phone call from Kit who told us she was with Binc and wanted to help. We had no idea what this organization could help with, but we quickly learned that they are an amazing team of hard workers. Over the past eight years, Binc has helped many of our employees with major life and medical issues as well. Without Binc, we would not have gotten back on our feet as fast as we did after Sandy."

Obituary Note: Al Silverman

Al Silverman, the writer, editor and publishing executive who collaborated with Chicago Bears halfback Gale Sayers on the autobiography I Am Third (1970), which was adapted into the 1971 TV movie Brian's Song, died March 10, the New York Times reported. He was 92.

Silverman had been a prolific freelance writer in the 1950s for various magazines, including Sport, which hired him as its editor-in-chief in 1960. He also wrote books about, or with, sports figures like Paul Hornung, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Frank Robinson.

His later books include It's Not Over 'Til It's Over: Stories Behind the Most Magnificent, Heart-Stopping Miracles of Our Time; and The Time of Their Lives: The Golden Age of Great American Book Publishers, Their Editors, and Authors.

In 1972, Silverman left the sports world and joined the Book-of-the-Month Club as executive v-p and editorial director. Larry Shapiro, the club's former executive editor, said, "He had a great gift for creating an event out of an editorial decision and making book-club members feel like participants in the event, at a time when book clubs were considered predictable." During his 16 years at BOTM, Silverman rose to be president and later CEO.

He joined Viking Books as publisher in 1989. In 1994, he became an editor-at-large, a position he held until 1997.

As an editor he worked with a range of authors, including J.F. Freedman, Stephen White, Steve Thayer, William Pease, Saul Bellow, William Kennedy and T.C. Boyle. Baseball was an ongoing interest for Silverman, who edited a novel with Jim Bouton and Eliot Asinof (Strike Zone), a book with baseball writer Robert Creamer (Baseball in '41) and oversaw Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. He also edited an autobiography with the jazz musician Willie Ruff (A Call to Assembly) and Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy.

T.C. Boyle told the Times: "He gave me his full support and a devotion rare in the publishing world. He was generous with his time and affection, an editor who cared deeply about his authors."


Image of the Day: EurekaSIBA!

More than 50 booksellers gathered at EurekaSIBA! in Atlanta yesterday. The one-day meeting featured 20-minute talks by authors, booksellers and publishers, as well as two education sessions led by Oren Teicher and Joy Dallanegra-Sanger of the ABA. The day before, booksellers enjoyed an tour of area bookstores, and the meeting closed with cocktails and an author dinner.

Cool Idea of the Day: Take a Bag, Leave a Bag

The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, Vt., has launched "Take a Bag, Leave a Bag," a bag share program designed to make free reusable bags easily accessible. The bookstore now features a self-serve bag share location that community members have already begun to use.

The initiative is modeled on the "take a penny, leave a penny" trays in stores around the country, according to Jenny Lyons, the bookstore's marketing manager. "It's a real easy idea to implement and as professional booksellers, we have loads and loads of canvas totes."

Seven Days reported that inspiration for the program "came, in part, from tidying expert Marie Kondo, who motivated Vermont Book Shop owner Becky Dayton to clean out her closets.... Dayton discovered a stash of tote bags she'd collected over the years, but she had given them away by the time the store implemented the bag share."

"I thought of it too late," Lyons said, adding that the response to "Take a Bag, Leave a Bag" has been positive. She has been handing out fewer bags, and "people seem happy to take [the reusable bags]. It seems to be working!"

Lyons added that she wasn't taking credit for inventing the concept and said the bookstore still offers new paper and plastic bags: "A book in the rain or snow could get damaged, so we have not totally banned plastic bags yet. But I imagine that could be a natural next step."

Hopkins Fulfillment Services to Distribute Central European University Press

Effective in April, Hopkins Fulfillment Services will provide sales and distribution services for Central European University Press.

Central European University Press, with headquarters in Budapest, Hungary, publishes books on the political philosophy and practices of open society, history, legal studies, nationalism, human rights, conflict resolution, Jewish studies, economics, medieval studies, literature, and international relations. It focuses on Central and Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. In recent years it has added titles in the field of higher education policy, gender studies, media studies and art history.

Ivon Asquith, chair of the CEU Press management board, commented: "CEU Press is delighted to have Hopkins Fulfilment Services as our sales and distribution partner in our major market, the U.S."

Davida Breier, director of HFS and Hopkins Sales Partners, said, "We look forward to supporting CEU Press by expanding their sales and distribution in the U.S."

Personnel Changes at Arcadia Publishing; Penguin Workshop

Walter Isaacson has joined Arcadia Publishing as editor-at-large and senior advisor and has become an investor in the company. He has written the biographies Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein: His Life and Universe, Leonardo da Vinci, Kissinger: A Biography and Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and is University Professor of History at Tulane University. He has been the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman and CEO of CNN and managing editor of Time.


Cecily Kaiser is joining Penguin Workshop, the Penguin Young Readers imprint, as director of preschool publishing, effective April 1. She is formerly children's publisher, Phaidon Press, and earlier launched the Appleseed imprint at Abrams. She began her career at Scholastic, first as a book clubs manager, then editorial director of the Cartwheel imprint.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Carla Lalli Music, Andrew Rannells on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Carla Lalli Music, author of Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook (Clarkson Potter, $32.50, 9780525573340).

Also on Late Night: Andrew Rannells, author of Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood (Crown Archetype, $26, 9780525574859).

TV: Gentleman Jack

A trailer has been released for the HBO/BBC series Gentleman Jack, based on the diaries of 19th century landowner and social rebel Anne Lister. Indiewire reported that Suranne Jones "plays the black-clad businesswoman, who not only sought to develop industrial projects on her family's land, but made her intentions known to marry a wife in the process. The series combines a central romance between Lister and her intended, Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), and Lister's attempts to reinvigorate the coal-mining efforts on her family property at Shibden Hall."

The series is from Sally Wainwright, who also wrote and created the hit British police drama Happy Valley. The cast includes Gemma Whelan, Gemma Jones, Timothy West, and Peter Davison. The eight-episode season premieres April 22 on HBO.

Books & Authors

Awards: J. Anthony Lukas Winners; CILIP Carnegie, Kate Greenaway Shortlists

The winners and finalists of the 2019 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards, administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and honoring the best in American nonfiction writing, are:

The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize:
Winner: Shane Bauer for American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment (Penguin Press)
Finalist: Lauren Hilgers for Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown (Crown)

The Mark Lynton History Prize:
Winners: Andrew Delbanco for The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War (Penguin Press)
Jeffrey C. Stewart for The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (Oxford University Press)
Finalist: David W. Blight for Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon & Schuster)

The J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award:
Maurice Chammah for Let the Lord Sort Them: Texas and the Death Penalty's Rise and Fall in America (Crown)
Steven Dudley for Mara: The Making of the MS13 (Hanover Square Press)


The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals released shortlists for the Carnegie Medal (author of a book for children & young people) and Kate Greenaway Medal (illustrator). Winners will each receive £500 (about $665) worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 (about $6,640) Colin Mears Award cash prize. They will be named June 18. This year's shortlisted titles are:

CILIP Carnegie
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Rebound by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli
Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Chris Priestley
The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders

CILIP Kate Greenaway
The Day War Came, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, written by Nicola Davies
Ocean Meets Sky, illustrated and written by Eric Fan & Terry Fan
Beyond the Fence, illustrated and written by Maria Gulemetova
The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
Julian is a Mermaid, illustrated and written by Jessica Love
You're Safe with Me, illustrated by Poonam Mistry, written by Chitra Soundar
The Lost Words, illustrated by Jackie Morris, written by Robert Macfarlane
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality, illustrated and written by David Roberts

The Shadowers' Choice Award, voted for and awarded by the children and young people who shadow the medals, will be announced alongside the two medal winners. This new award evolved out of CILIP's recent Diversity Review, which identified opportunities to empower and celebrate the young people involved in the Medals through the shadowing scheme by giving them a more significant voice and visible presence in the process and prize giving.

Amnesty International U.K. continues to support the medals, providing educational resources and training to raise awareness and understanding of the power of children's books to explore human rights, encourage empathy and broaden horizons. Amnesty has produced materials for all the shortlisted books for discussion in classrooms and libraries.

Reading with... Christi Daugherty

photo: Jack Jewers

As a newspaper reporter, Christi Daugherty ​began covering murders when she was 21 years old. She worked as a journalist for years before writing the Night School series of thrillers for young adults under the name CJ Daugherty. The Echo Killing was her first adult novel. A Beautiful Corpse (Minotaur, March 12, 2019) is the second book in the Harper McClain mystery series.

On your nightstand now:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Whenever I'm writing a first draft I won't read books in the crime genre, so this is my chance to experiment. Schwab writes elegant, complex fantasy novels that take me out of my own world for a little while, and make the impossible real.

Favorite book when you were a child:

When I was about seven years old, I read The Witch's Buttons by Ruth Chew until it was worn thin. I think Chew was the first writer I truly fell in love with. She wrote thrillers for small children and she was a genius at it. She saw magic everywhere and she made you believe.

Your top five authors:

F. Scott Fitzgerald--I read all his books in one year when I was 19. I was devastated when I found out he was already dead and we could never meet because, by then, I was in love with him and Zelda, and I suppose I never fully recovered. He is one of the reasons I became a writer and an expat. His writing is remarkable and distinctive, his voice absolutely.

Graham Greene--There is something dangerously exotic about his books. There's a louche intelligence to the characters that's both attractive and threatening. I want to live in one of his books, hanging out with spies in Vietnam or solving crimes in Cuba. He introduced me to the British crime novel--which is a land of its own.

Liza Cody--I would never have written The Echo Killing if I hadn't first read her Anna Lee series. The detailed portrayal of a woman working in a man's world still rings true. She makes hard writing look easy, and that is something I always try to do.

Tana French--I've read every Tana French book and her writing is always an absolute delight. I would happily sacrifice a distant relative if it meant I could write that beautifully. She brings modern Dublin, with all its money and flaws, to life in a way few crime books manage. I look forward to each new release like a child anticipates Christmas.

Douglas Coupland--I discovered Coupland in the 1990s when a friend shoved a copy of Generation X into my hands. Reading that book was like seeing my own imagination in written form. I often think about his characters setting fire to cars with bumper stickers reading, "We're spending our grandchildren's inheritance," and I still think they shouldn't be prosecuted for that crime.

Book you've faked reading:

Wolf Hall. I'm perfectly willing to admit it was over my head.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Out of everything I've read in the last few years, no book has stayed with me quite like this one. I think about that ending at least once a week. I study her character building with open envy. There is no book I recommend more often.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. But then, here's the thing--I fell in love with the book inside. It's now one of my all-time favorite novels. It tells the tale of a mysterious, roving circus that travels in secrecy, appearing without warning, and opening only at night. The story is magical, elaborate and incredibly beautiful.

Book you hid from your parents:

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. Need I say more?

Book that changed your life:

All the President's Men by Bob Woodward. I read it when I was a freshman in college. Within a year I'd changed my major to journalism. In many ways my entire adult life hinges on me reading that book at 18. I'm not sure I ever would have become a writer if I hadn't.

Favorite line from a book:

"Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy." --F. Scott Fitzgerald

Five books you'll never part with:

All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland: The lovable, broken family at the heart of this story reminds me of J.D. Salinger's Glass family. They are intelligent, irascible, difficult, funny and charming. I want them to be my family.

The Likeness by Tana French: This book about a female detective covering a murder case in which the victim looks exactly like her is dark and absorbing. The suspects are arts students living in a rambling old house south of Dublin. Like the detective, the reader gradually falls in love with them, but one of them is a killer.

True Grit by Charles Portis: As far as I'm concerned, this is the greatest young adult novel ever written. I first read it when I was 12, and saw the original John Wayne film around that time. It's a western in which the main character is a hyper-intelligent, grieving 14-year-old girl willing to risk everything to avenge her father's murder. In a world in which young women are rarely cast as heroes, this book shines.

Dupe by Liza Cody: I found a first-edition of Dupe in a used bookshop in England about a year before I sat down to try to write my first novel. I read it in a day. It had been a while since I'd fallen so hard in love with a novel. As a trainee detective at a private investigation firm, Anna Lee is determined to prove herself, but the case is dangerous and complex, and the men she works with constantly undermine her.

The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald: In this posthumously published, nonfiction book, Fitzgerald writes about his own mental and physical breakdown--the loss of Zelda, the crumbling of his career and his descent into alcoholism and depression. The writing is sharp and painfully funny, filled with eternal truths like, "In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day." He was as much a philosopher as an author of fiction.

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

The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I distinctly remember finishing this book for the first time, and then going right back to the beginning to read it all again. In many ways, this is a perfect crime novel, and a perfect young adult novel. Basically, a perfect novel.

Book Review

Children's Review: Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born

Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul, illus. by Jason Chin (Neal Porter/Holiday House, $18.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9780823441617, April 23, 2019)

Looking at those remarkable months "Before a Baby Is Born," Nine Months portrays both the everyday experiences of an expectant family and the scientific facts of in utero development.

Using a loose rhyming scheme, author Miranda Paul captures the month-by-month magic of a fetus's growth. This development is captured on the left side of each two-page spread in Caldecott Honor artist (Grand Canyon) Jason Chin's friendly illustrations; the family of three preparing for the arrival of the baby is shown on the right. The family gardens, puts together a crib and reads a story called Hello Baby/Hola Bebé. On the left side of each spread is the verse, a detailed illustration of the developing fetus and the time progression of the pregnancy. Starting with Week 15, the beautifully lifelike illustrations are "actual size," which may prompt young readers to hold up the page to their own belly to better imagine what's going on inside the mother's uterus.

Mom's belly--and the baby-to-be--grows through the seasons, from winter to summer. The parents are wonderfully and appropriately inclusive of their daughter, giving her a "BIG SISTER" T-shirt and taking her to the ultrasound appointment. Shortly before the birth, a beloved visitor (Grandma?) arrives to stay with the little girl as her parents head to the hospital. The worried and uncertain expression on the child's face as she tentatively waves good-bye to her parents is poignant and emotionally accurate. Her father's smile is comforting; her mother's is... complicated, with love and concern in equal measures. And Grandma? It's pretty clear she's going to whip up some cookies or a fun craft project the minute they close the door. After Baby finally arrives, depicted coated with vernix and with the umbilical cord still attached, her big sister and other "[l]oved ones" visit the hospital. As the grandparents mingle and celebrate, Big Sister gazes solemnly at her new bundled sibling, parents looking on happily.

In Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born, Paul (Water Is Water, illus. by Chin; One Plastic Bag) includes more detailed information than can be found in many "what to expect" books for children. Chin's warm watercolor and gouache artwork is sweetly reassuring, letting young readers see that while all these miraculous changes are going on inside Mom's body, life keeps going on in the "outside" world. Four full pages of back matter allow adult readers to share additional facts with their young charges, including amazing things most babies can do before they're born, lengths of time for other mammals to gestate and some important "what if"s. Reading Nine Months may just become a nightly ritual for expectant families. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: Nine Months is a beautifully balanced celebration and explanation of how babies develop in utero, and how families prepare, just right for siblings-to-be and their parents.

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