Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 3, 2019

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman


BookExpo 2019: Children's Book & Author Breakfast

WNBA Pannell Award co-chairs Susan Knopf and Sally M. Kim opened Friday's Children's Book & Author Breakfast by announcing the 2019 WNBA Pannell Award recipients: Chicago's 57th Street Books won the General Bookstore category, with the award panel commenting on the store's "exceptional passion and creativity"; and the Children's Specialty Bookstore award went to Hicklebee's Bookstore in San Jose, Calif., described by the jury as "the gold standard for children's bookselling."

The announcement of the Pannell Awards was a lively start to a spirited and at times emotional Children's Book & Author Breakfast. Co-hosted by sisters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush, the breakfast featured children's and YA authors Tomi Adeyemi and Eoin Colfer, debut author Lupita Nyong'o and adult author Da Chen, whose first work for children will be published this fall.

Barbara Pierce Bush, Jenna Bush Hagar, Tomi Adeyemi, Lupita Nyong'o, Eoin Colfer, Da Chen (photo: BookExpo)

Pierce Bush and Bush Hager introduced their picture book, Sisters First (Little, Brown, Nov.), saying it came from their mutual belief that representation of strong sisterhood was particularly needed "in the wake of the 2016 election." Adeyemi--after proclaiming that sitting next to Nyong'o was akin to being "by your crush" ("If you make real eye contact," she said, "you will self-combust")--expanded upon this idea, focusing on the good that representative children's books can do. "When you have a book," she said, you have the ability to make a person "recognize someone else's humanity." The author of Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Holt, Dec.) implored the audience to "create the world [they] want to live in." She finished by referring back to Nyong'o to illustrate the importance of seeing people like oneself succeeding. "Look at her," Adeyemi and her friends say, pointing to Nyong'o as a role model, "And when we say that, it's really 'look at us.' "

A slightly overwhelmed Nyong'o took the stage after Adeyemi, saying, "I came prepared because I knew I was going to cry, but I didn't know I was going to cry before my speech.... It's really moving to hear how my presence has affected other people." After a few moments and a significant round of applause, Nyong'o collected her thoughts about her debut picture book. As a child, she believed "reality was dark and the world of dreams was light" and she hated her dark skin. Sulwe (S&S, Oct.), she said, allows her to give "darker skin" the chance to "exist in dreams"--it's about depicting children of color and creating for herself "the book I never had."

Eoin Colfer, whose The Fowl Twins is coming from Disney-Hyperion in November, gave the audience a rapid tone-shift by denouncing rumors of his death, apologizing for Bill O'Reilly and Riverdance--"Not Riverdance itself, but all the Riverdance-related accidents"--and thanking the United States for Tylenol PM and CVS. He ended on a sincere note, saying "the energy and the talent and the diversity" present on the stage with him assured him that "the future of children's literature is in very good hands." Such good hands, in fact, that he's eager for next year's BookExpo: "Frankly but hypothetically, I would pay for my own ticket.... Like Brexit, that is something we hope never comes to pass."

Da Chen, "humbled" and "honored" to be featured at the breakfast, closed the event by recounting some of the deeply personal and painful stories of his sister's experience during the Chinese Cultural Revolution that are in his first children's book, Girl Under a Red Moon (Scholastic, Sept.).

Covering a range of moods and rapidly switching between them, the Children's Book & Author Breakfast was energetic, emotional, humorous, painful... a good example of the power held in a diversity of experiences and opinions. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Roswell Johnson Saves the World! (Roswell Johnson #1) by Chris Colfer

BookExpo 2019: Authors and Indies Working Together

Moderated by Emma Straub--who has an unusual perspective because she is both an author and a bookseller (co-owner of Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, N.Y.)--the panel "For Authors: Working Successfully with Independent Bookstores" focused primarily on how booksellers and authors can work together to hold successful events. It quickly became apparent that, as Kelly Estep of Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky., put it, there is "a gold standard" for authors working well with bookstores on events: David Sedaris. He is famous and beloved for spending hours at signings, patiently talking with every fan until late into the night, sometimes for five or six hours; working well with booksellers; often recommending titles by another author; and sending thank-you notes and cards after events.

Focusing on what to do before the event, Estep recommended that authors, especially local authors, have "a relationship with us" beforehand, and, if they're not from the area, they should provide all kinds of information about a proposed event, including any local ties and friends and family in the area who would likely attend the event. "We want you to feel a connection with us and us to feel a connection with you," which, with the author promoting the store, and the store doing the same with the author's work, should last long after the event. She noted that many indies have programs set up outlining how they do events in which "they lay out what they expect from you and vice versa." Also authors need to be prepared for their events, and work out with booksellers whether they will do a reading, discussion, signing, socializing or some combination of those approaches.

Among other things authors can do in advance of an event is to partner with an indie on pre-orders with signed copies, and in social media, link to the indie and IndieBound.

Jenny Cohen of Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, Ore., focused on how authors can work well with booksellers on school events. Noting that she "stacks" school events one after the other on a given day, punctuality is important (as is "making sure you know where you're going if you're driving yourself"). Similarly, it's important to plan presentations ahead of time so that booksellers can let teachers know about the details of the event. Among other effective school presentations are slide shows or talks about the path to publishing the book. (Straub noted that in general, authors should not read extensively from their book "unless they have a truly beautiful accent and have won 17 Pulitzer Prizes.")

Emma Straub, Alyson Turner, Jake Cumsky-Whitlock, Jenny Cohen and Kelly Estep

Another tip: Cohen suggested authors bring bookmarks to school events, so that interested children who don't buy books on site can give them to parents to buy books later in the store. ("There aren't necessarily a lot of sales the day of the visit, but more afterward.") She also advised authors use social media to promote their school visits beforehand so that fans who can't get into schools can pick up books at the store. And in many cases, stores will ship copies to fans who can't come to the event or store and learn about it online.

Alyson Turner of Source Booksellers, Detroit, Mich., focused on what to do during the event, emphasizing that the author should arrive on time "so the event can start when it's promoted to start." The program should be discussed in detail beforehand. At Source Booksellers, she noted, the best events begin with an introduction of the author, "20 minutes of book talk," possibly a short reading from the book, "maybe say a little about how you came to write the book," followed by questions from the audience. (Source Booksellers gives questioners numbers "so they're not all seeking to be called on each time the floor's open to questions.") After the q&a period, the selling (and signing) begins. The store likes to have events run an hour to an hour and a half.

Turner noted even if an event is "sparsely attended, it's still an opportunity for the author to connect with everyone there"--and an opportunity for booksellers to learn things that will be helpful for handselling later.

Jake Cumsky-Whitlock from Solid State Books, Washington, D.C., stressed that after the event, "the author should be among the last to leave and should fight off the urge to run off to dinner with old friends, even if that's scheduled." They should spend time with the people who came to the event: "That personal touch goes a long way."

It's important to thank the staff for all the work they did for the event, he continued, and "it's great for the author to buy a book or product from the store to show support." If the store has a bar or café, he suggested authors have a drink to get to know the staff better. He added that "if authors go the extra mile" thanking and making connections with booksellers, booksellers will do more to sell their books.

After the event, on social media, authors should "direct people to the store for signed copies of the book," share pictures from the event and link directly to the store. --John Mutter

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Demonstrators Support Drag Queen Storytime in Maine

Ophelia Johnson hosted Drag Queen Story Time at Children's Book Cellar

On Saturday, more than 100 people demonstrated outside the Children's Book Cellar, Waterville, Maine, in support of the Drag Queen Story Time event that had been attacked online by Waterville's mayor and others several weeks ago. The Portland Press Herald reported that some 50 people attended the story time event, featuring "Ophelia, a drag queen from Topsham, [who] read two books about inclusion." The event was organized as part of the 2019 Central Maine Pride Festival.

Across the street, "a much smaller group calling itself An End to Child Indoctrination at the Cellar Bookstore, said their message was not about hating anyone, but about sparing young children from the confusion of adult gender identity."

One supporter of the event carried a sign that read "God save the queens." Another, Elizabeth Leonard, said she helped organize the demonstration in favor of the event and the store to "stand here and show how much love there is for inclusion and diversity and the store."

The protests against the Waterville event marked at least the third such attack in recent months, following small demonstrations against drag queen story times at Little City Books, Hoboken, N.J., and WORD, Jersey City, N.J.

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Lancaster, Pa.'s Rabbit & Dragonfly Closing

The Rabbit & Dragonfly, Lancaster, Pa., the coffee shop, bookstore (selling new and used titles) and creative community center that opened in 2015, is closing on June 29.

"Please be aware, we are in no way giving up on our dream (a dream that is shared by so many wonderful people in our community)," the store said in a Facebook announcement. "When we are able, we will start throwing tba events under our moniker and our hope is to eventually open in another location with a formula that will have the spirit of the original Rabbit & Dragonfly. Please stay tuned here and feel free to throw any ideas our way."

The store was founded by Jason Zimmerman, Dave Seyfried, Dr. David Eisenberg, Laurie Keener, Stephanie Todoroff and Melissa Garland and was inspired by Inklings, the informal literary group from the 1930s and 1940s whose members included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien."

The owners thanked customers "for all of your priceless patronage, support and presence in our unique community-oriented business over the last four years. It has been a pleasure and honor to meet and know all of you."

BookNet Canada: 'Library Users Are Book Buyers'

Canadians who both buy and borrow books purchase more books, on average per month, than buyers who don't use the library at all. A new BookNet Canada study, Borrow, Buy, Read: Library Use and Book Buying in Canada, found that those who had both borrowed a book from a library and purchased one in the last year purchased an average of 3.0 books per month, whereas those who had purchased a book but said they never visit the library bought the least amount of books (2.6). Buyers who visited the library 10-14 times in the previous month purchased an average of 6.1 books in a given month.

Data for the study was collected throughout 2018 via online surveys of adult, English-speaking Canadians.

Regarding buying preferences by format, 41% of borrowers purchased a new print book in the past year, 12% bought an e-book and 4% an audiobook. In terms of frequency, borrowers are listening to audiobooks more often than readers in general (i.e., adult Canadians who had read or listened to at least one book in the past year, regardless of format or buying habits): 9% listened daily, compared to 7% of readers overall, and 18% listened several times a week, compared to 16% of readers.

Library borrowers are also more likely to read print books daily (24%) or several times a week (28%), when compared to readers generally (20% and 22%, respectively), who are more likely than borrowers to read less often than once a month or rarely.


Image of the Day: Indies with Impact Winner

The Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore in Cincinnati, Ohio, has won the inaugural Indies with Impact prize, sponsored by the Binc Foundation and Penguin Random House. Through the award, PRH "recognizes, supports, and strengthens the connections bookstores have with their neighbors by providing funding for the winner's community-based initiative." Above, at the awards presentation: (l. to r.) Christine Stotz of PRH; Pam French of Binc; Veronica Valerio of PRH; and Jill Burket Ragase and Amanda Kranias, both of Blue Manatee.

The award-winning initiative is the Near-Peer Mentoring program, a partnership between Blue Manatee and the Cincinnati Public Schools under which middle-school-aged mentors provide basic reading instruction and skill development to younger readers. Blue Manatee will supply books to participating students in three to four public elementary and middle schools, and, as the program grows, it will provide other logistical support to students from public schools across Cincinnati.

Jaci Updike, president of sales at PRH, commented: "Supporting independent bookstores is at the heart of the mission of book publishing. Reaching local communities is central to everything we do at Penguin Random House. We are thrilled to congratulate Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore on receiving this inaugural award and look forward to seeing the success of their initiative."

Pam French, Binc executive director, added: "This unique collaboration with Penguin Random House will give the Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore funds to build and grow their program working with students in Cincinnati Public Schools. We are grateful for this opportunity to work with Penguin Random House on Indies with Impact, because of how the prize honors, recognizes and supports the vital role bookstores play in their communities."

Amanda Kranias, director of the Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Bookstore, said that the grant will "accelerate the implementation of our Near-Peer mentoring program to a larger group of students, building relationships that boost reading confidence and leadership skills."

Bookends & Beginnings: Evanston, Ill.'s 'Favorite Local Bookstore'

In a post titled "Why Evanston, Illinois Is One of the Coolest Suburbs in America," Apartment Therapy wrote that one reason concerned the city's "favorite local bookstore," Bookends & Beginnings: "This independent bookstore is hidden in an alley behind Sherman Avenue, in the heart of downtown Evanston, and is known for more than just books--they frequently host events for the local literary community, too."

Two Rivers Adds Five Publishers

Two Rivers Distribution, part of Ingram Publisher Services, is adding five clients, effective in August:

Justice Studios, a new media company affiliated with Justice, which sells products for tween girls, will publish graphic novels designed to empower girls, among other publications.

The Infatuation Inc., a multimedia company that provides guides on where to eat, and owns Zagat. It will publish The Zagat 2020 New York City Restaurants Guide in November.

Starry Forest Books, a children's publisher of titles that include board books on mindfulness and rocket science, and retellings of classic novels in picture-book format.

Reverte Management, Barcelona, Spain, which publishes Spanish-language editions of business titles, including books by Harvard Business Review, Wiley and McGraw Hill.

Hamilcar Publications, Boston, Mass., which publishes books about professional boxing.

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

Jackie Douglass has joined Sourcebooks in the newly created role of marketing assistant, Kids and Young Adult.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Amanda Little on Fresh Air

CBS This Morning: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls: A Novel (Riverhead, $28, 9781594634734).

Good Morning America: Tan France, author of Naturally Tan: A Memoir (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250208668).

Strahan & Sara: James Patterson, co-author of Unsolved (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316419826).

Fresh Air: Amanda Little, author of The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World (Harmony, $27, 9780804189033).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Vanessa Bayer, author of How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? (Feiwel & Friends, $16.99, 9781250298430). She will also be on Good Morning America today.

Good Morning America: Caylin Moore, author of A Dream Too Big: The Story of an Improbable Journey from Compton to Oxford (Thomas Nelson, $24.99, 9781400209910).

Also on GMA: Evangeline Lilly, author of The Squickerwonkers Act 1 (Quiet Cocoon, $12.99, 9780989589147).

CBS This Morning: Jim DeRogatis, author of Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly (Abrams, $26, 9781419740077).

Conan: Chelsea Handler, author of Life Will Be the Death of Me: . . . and you too! (Spiegel & Grau, $27, 9780525511779).

Daily Show: Amber Scorah, author of Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life (Viking, $28, 9780735222540).

Movies: The Tiger Rising; The Long Walk

Queen Latifah will star in and executive produce a film adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's The Tiger Rising. Deadline reported that the deal for the film rights was finalized at Cannes. GG Filmz and Thomasville Pictures are producing, while Streamline Global is on board as executive producer on the movie, which will begin production this fall in Thomasville, Ga. Ray Giarratana adapted the screenplay and will direct. Latifah will play Willie May, "a wise and compassionate woman who works as a chambermaid at a local hotel and becomes a source of solace advice and comfort for the young children," Deadline wrote.


André Øvredal (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) will direct New Line's film adaptation of Stephen King's The Long Walk, which was originally published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman in 1979. Deadline reported that since its publication, the novel "has become a classic in its dystopian vision, the echoes of which can be found throughout popular culture (e.g. The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner). The book is quintessential King in its coming-of-age themes, zeroing in on the humanity of boys who prevail amid hardship and despair akin to the protagonists in Stand by Me and It."

Books & Authors

Awards: Royal Society Young People's Book

A shortlist has been released for the £10,000 (about $12,635) Royal Society's Young People's Book Prize, which "aims to inspire young people to read about science and promotes the writing of excellent, accessible STEM books for under-14s." The winner, selected by judging panels made up of young people across the U.K., will be announced in November. This year's finalists are:

100 Things to Know About Numbers, Computers & Coding by Alice James, Eddie Reynolds, Minna Lacey, Rose Hall and Alex Frith, illustrated by Federico Mariani, Parko Polo and Shaw Nielsen
Kid Scientists by David Stabler, illustrated by Anoosha Syed
Planetarium by Raman Prinja, illustrated by Chris Wormell
Science Makers: Making with States of Matter by Anna Claybourne
The Bacteria Book by Steve Mould
The Element in the Room by Mike Barfield, illustrated by Lauren Humphrey

Lonely Planet's Guide to ALA 2019: The Heart of Washington D.C.

For attendees of the American Library Association annual conference and exhibition in Washington, D.C., June 20-25, Lonely Planet is offering sights to see and tips excerpted from Pocket Washington, D.C., part of its Pocket Guides series that are designed to give quick, easy and accessible information that's perfect for a short break.

Welcome to Washington, D.C.
The United States' capital teems with iconic monuments, vast (and free) museums and the corridors of power where visionaries and demagogues roam. Seeing the White House and soaring Capitol will thrill, but it's the cobblestoned neighborhoods, global cafes and jazzy bohemian quarters that really make you fall for D.C., no matter what your politics.

Explore Capitol Hill
The city's geographic and legislative heart surprises by being mostly a row house-lined residential neighborhood. The vast area holds top sights such as the big domed Capitol and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, but creaky bookshops and cozy pubs also thrive here. The areas around Easter Market and H St. NE are locals' hubs, with good-time restaurants and nightlife.

Top Sights in a Day
Tour the dramatic Capitol, filled with statues, frescoes and whispery chambers. Take the underground tunnel over to the Supreme Court. Hopefully the justices are listening to oral arguments (October to April) that you can sit in on; otherwise you're free to explore the building. Next door the Library of Congress holds fascinating exhibits and artworks.

The Capitol, 1st St. NE & E Capitol St.
The political center of the U.S. government and geographic heart of the District, the Capitol sits atop a high hill overlooking the National Mall and the wide avenues flaring out to the city beyond. The towering 288-foot, cast-iron dome, ornate fountains and marble Roman pillars set on sweeping lawns scream: "This is D.C."

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW
For a deep understanding of the Holocaust, this harrowing museum is a must-see. It gives visitors the identity card of a single Holocaust victim, whose story is revealed as you plunge into a past marked by ghettos, rail cars and death camps. It also shows the flip side of human nature, documenting the risks many citizens took to help the persecuted.

Library of Congress, 1st St. SE
The world's largest library--with 164 million books, manuscripts, maps, photos, films and other items--awes in both scope and design. The centerpiece is the 1897 Jefferson Building. Gawk at the Great Hall, done up in stained glass, marble and mosaics of mythical characters, then seek out the Gutenberg Bible (c. 1455), Thomas Jefferson's round library and the reading room viewing area.

Book Review

Review: Girls Like Us

Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger (Putnam, $26 hardcover, 288p., 9780525535805, July 2, 2019)

Cristina Alger (The Banker's Wife, This Was Not the Plan) crafts a gripping story of suspense with Girls Like Us. Fans of murder mysteries packed with action and plot twists will be satisfied by this edge-of-the-seat adventure into seedy Suffolk County.

FBI Agent Nell Flynn has returned home to the unbeautiful end of Long Island to sprinkle her father's ashes, close up his house and move on. It's her first time back in 10 years. She's on leave from the Bureau following a traumatic on-the-job shooting, recovering from injuries both physical and emotional. Her father, homicide detective Marty Flynn, had some good buddies on the force, and it's nice to see them again, but Suffolk County doesn't hold many pleasant memories. Then Marty's last partner, Lee Davis, with whom Nell went to high school, asks for her help on one last case. Two young women have been murdered: "working girls," the cops call them; one of them was undocumented. These are the kinds of lives the department doesn't really value. In their details, though, these murders take Nell back to the murder of her mother when Nell was seven years old.

Is there a serial killer at work in Suffolk County? Is there a link to Nell's past? What exactly was her father's involvement? Was his death really an accident--and was she wrong to alibi him on the night of her mother's death? As clues mount up and point in different directions, Nell is less and less sure of who she can trust. Her wounds are not at all well healed, but she may be the only one who can prevent more deaths.

Girls Like Us is a little weak on certain details--the way a deadbolt works, the difference between prostitution and pandering charges, how a field agent might tell a suspect was dead. But its plot drives with such momentum that these details may be overlooked. With violent action and split-second turns, this is not a book to put down easily: plan accordingly. Alger's thriller is emphatically plot-driven, but her characters hold their own, from Lee, who doesn't quite fit in on the force, to the guys Marty Flynn was closest to in the department and the retired cop who runs the local bar.

As an added complication, the new murders and that of Nell's mother may be class-based, as the rich summer people of the Hamptons meet the working-class section of Long Island, where Nell and the Suffolk County Police Department guys are from. Nell is a quintessential damaged cop, even if she is FBI: ignoring her own injuries, pushing too hard, taking foolhardy risks, with a strong sense of right and wrong (as her father seemed to have). Her personality serves as backbone to the electric plot of Girls Like Us, and the reader trusts that she will follow through to the truth, no matter how much it hurts. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: Heart-racing action and a twisty-turny plot star in this thriller of multigenerational cops and murders.

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