Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 19, 2019: Maximum Shelf: Dominicana

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Flatiron Books: The Last One at the Wedding by Jason Rekulak

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson

Hanover Square Press: The Dallergut Dream Department Store (Original) by Miye Lee, Translated by Sandy Joosun Lee

Nosy Crow: Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Joe Todd-Stanton and Kieran Larwood

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Haunted Road Atlas: Next Stop: More Chilling and Gruesome Tales from and That's Why We Drink by Christine Schiefer and Em Schulz


B&N FY 2019: Sales Fall 3%; Profit of $3.8M


In the fourth quarter ended April 27, total sales at Barnes & Noble fell 3.9%, to $755 million, and the net loss was $18.7 million, compared to a loss of $21.1 million the same period last year, the company announced this morning. For the full year ended April 27, total sales fell 3%, to $3.6 billion, and net earnings were $3.8 million, compared to a net loss of $125.5 million in the previous fiscal year. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 2.3% in the quarter and fell 1.9% for the full year. 

This is likely the last public quarterly earnings report from B&N, which is in the process of being purchased and taken private by Elliott Management. Because of the purchase, B&N will not hold the usual conference call with stock analysts. Also, in its announcement this morning about quarterly and annual results, it had no comments about results.

So this marks the end of an era: only a decade ago, the three major trade bookstore chains--B&N, Borders and Books-A-Million--were all publicly traded and revealed sales, earnings and other information at least every three months. Now, of course, Borders is gone while Books-A-Million is a private company again, to be followed soon by B&N.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

NYC's Three Lives & Co. Moves Back Indoors

Three Lives & Company in Greenwich Village in New York City, which had been closed since Memorial Day weekend due to structural work being done on its building, reopened yesterday, Jeremiah's Vanishing New York reported. While waiting for approval from the city's Department of Buildings, the bookstore had opened a sidewalk pop-up shop in the interim.

Author Gary Shteyngart stopped by to sign books.

Three Lives noted: "Although it was a fun change of pace for us to be selling books on the corner during our impromptu Three Lives Sidewalk Shop, and we thank each of you who stopped by--whether to browse the books or just give us some words of encouragement--it is wonderful to be back in our proper space and surrounded by our beloved bookshelves."



PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Community Board Approves McNally Jackson's Seaport Store

Schermerhorn Row, future site of the newest McNally Jackson.

McNally Jackson's expansion to New York City's Seaport District was approved by the community board this week, Eater NY reported, adding that the indie bookstore "will open along the waterfront at 4 Fulton St. in a 7,500-square-feet space that will also include a cafe with beer and wine.... The original McNally Jackson lives on Prince Street in Nolita, and a smaller second shop opened in Williamsburg last year. While the original has a coffee cafe, this will be the first location to serve alcohol."

The Tribeca Citizen visited the new Seaport site and wrote that owner Sarah McNally "has taken the former Ann Taylor space and ripped out yards of laminate, creating what is bound to be a gorgeous shop. (She says it will be even prettier than the photo above when finished, but I can't imagine a better sight than that raw brick arch and exposed wood beams.) 'It has a water view and it will be a beautiful space,' McNally said."

ABA President Fiocco: 'Book Tariffs Will Cause Harm, Undercut Values'

Among the book world people who testified yesterday at a hearing before the U.S. International Trade Commission about proposed tariffs on Chinese goods was Jamie Fiocco, president of the American Booksellers Association and owner of Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C. In her prepared remarks, she said in part:

Jamie Fiocco

"ABA understands the Administration's serious concerns with China's failure to protect intellectual property and the related issues of forced technology transfers that are being discussed here. However, ABA believes imposing tariffs on books is a clear reversal of decades of U.S. policy that exempts books and other written material from trade restrictions, and to make this change would undercut important American policy interests. In addition, imposing tariffs on books would seriously and disproportionately damage U.S. small and medium sized businesses, like my bookstore, and consumers.

"It is crucial to understand that even the most successful of independent bookstores operate on the thinnest of margins. And despite growth and success in recent years, bookselling is a highly volatile business. If prices increase due to an increase in tariffs, the negative impact on the fiscal health of the bookselling world--and on readers young and old--would be significant.

"Based on information from publishing colleagues, some 25% of books they publish are printed in China. And the great majority of children's books and texts such as Bibles are printed in China. Not only will the proposed tariff impact what books are available--and affordable--to young readers and their families, it will impact what makes my store, and other stores like mine, unique. In independent bookstores, sections are curated carefully by store owners to fit the needs of the communities in which the indie bookstore resides. Tariffs on book titles would impose significant and unwarranted roadblocks on creating a vibrant, diverse children’s book section, for example. This unfortunate result would impact both my business and the young readers and families in my community in ways that will unquestioningly have long-ranging impact on future readers.

"There is a free expression issue at stake here as well. Any increase in the price of books would limit their sale, thereby limiting the exchange of ideas. The importance of providing affordable books by a diverse range of authors to the residents of communities throughout this country cannot be overstated.

"Simply put: Taxing books would be bad policy. The proposed tariffs under Chapter 49 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule would inflict harm on our customers--a diverse community of readers. Imposing tariffs also would undercut fundamental American values, such as the First Amendment right of every citizen to have access to a wide range of diverse voices and writings.

"Any tariff on printed books, regardless of genre or title, would be a tax on every reader, whether they are community members who buy books in our store, or whether they are school districts seeking to provide titles for students. It will drive up the cost of books for everyone who reads. In many cases, especially in poorer areas, it may be the difference between whether a book is affordable to a reader or not. The long-term deleterious impact that this could have would be significant. It will also disproportionately damage both U.S. businesses and consumers, as well as critical priorities and values for our country."

Flintridge Bookstore Owners Looking to Sell Building, Keep Business Open


Peter and Lenora Wannier, owners of Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., have put up for sale the 6,340-square-foot building in which their bookstore resides, the La Cañada Valley Sun reported.

The Wanniers are seeking $5.35 million for the building, which went up in 2010 and opened in February 2011. Despite their intent to sell, and the listing stating the building's current tenant "will need time to vacate the property after the close of escrow," Peter Wannier told the Valley Sun that he and his wife have no immediate plans to close the bookstore.

"My interest is in running a bookstore, not owning a building," Wannier explained. "Even if we sold the building we would lease it back. If we don't get a reasonable offer we're not going to sell it."

Wannier added that he and his wife have been approached by a few interested parties, but they don't plan on taking any "concrete action" this year. At the same time, Wannier did not say how long he would remain on the property as a lessee. The Wanniers have owned the land since 2006. They opened the bookstore in 2007, in a storefront just down the street from where it is now. From 2006 until 2010 the only thing on the lot was a derelict gas station.

"Part of the reason we did the building was we wanted to make something attractive here at this important corner of La Cañada," Wannier told the Valley Sun.

Rowman & Littlefield Acquires Prometheus Books

Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group has acquired the publishing assets of Prometheus Books, Amherst, N.Y., which was founded in 1969 by Paul Kurtz, the late philosopher and the driving force behind the secular humanism movement. Prometheus, which has a list of 1,700 titles, has focused on popular science, critical thinking, philosophy, history, atheism, humanism, current events, psychology, and true crime.

Jonathan Kurtz, son of Paul Kurtz and longtime president of Prometheus Books, will continue to oversee the editorial acquisition efforts of Prometheus Books with the help of editor Jake Bonar. The trade titles published under the Prometheus Books imprint will become part of Globe Pequot, the trade division of Rowman & Littlefield. The titles published under the Humanity Books imprint will be distributed by the academic and professional division of Rowman & Littlefield. The latter are titles that Prometheus acquired from Humanities Press International.

As of June 30, sales and distribution of Prometheus Books will be handled by Rowman & Littlefield's National Book Network. Penguin Random House Publisher Services has handled sales and distribution of Prometheus Books.

Jonathan Kurtz commented: "I am very proud of what Prometheus Books has accomplished over the last 50 years. It is a privilege to enter this partnership with a distinguished publisher like Rowman & Littlefield."

Rowman & Littlefield CEO Jed Lyons said, "Jon Kurtz and his team built Prometheus Books into one of the most respected independent publishers in the nation. Its backlist of 1,700 academic and trade titles is a perfect fit for Rowman & Littlefield. We are delighted that Jon and Jake will carry on as part of our team."

Last November, in a move to return its focus to nonfiction, Prometheus Books sold its science fiction and fantasy and crime fiction imprints--Seventh Street Books and Pyr--to Start Publishing.

Obituary Note: Alan Brinkley

Alan Brinkley, "one of the pre-eminent historians of his generation, with a specialty in 20th-century American political history," died June 16, the New York Times reported. He was 70. Brinkley's work "spanned the full spectrum of the last century's seminal events and influential characters, including the Great Depression and World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy."

His book Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression (1983) won the National Book Award, while "his high school and college history textbooks American History and The Unfinished Nation were best sellers and frequently updated," the Times wrote.

"For the 20th century, Alan set the agenda for most political historians, especially about the New Deal," said Michael Kazin, a history professor at Georgetown University and co-editor of Dissent magazine, adding that Brinkley was one of the first historians to see the rise of the conservative movement in American politics. "Very few historians were writing about conservatives, but he had his eyes open. They were changing the political dialogue, and he wanted to understand it. It's become a major theme in American political history."

Brinkley's other books include Pulitzer Prize finalist The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century (2010), John F. Kennedy (2012), Franklin D. Roosevelt (2009), Liberalism and Its Discontents (1998) and The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (1995). He also helped his father research and write Washington Goes to War, David Brinkley's memoir of being a young reporter covering Roosevelt and the capital as it prepared for World War II.

He was professor at Columbia University for more than two decades and a provost emeritus. In a letter to the university's community, president Lee Bollinger wrote: "To whichever of the many conceptions of 'public intellectual' one may subscribe, Alan's life met and, in many ways, set the standard. He will be missed here at Columbia, and by many beyond our gates who benefited from and enjoyed all that Alan taught us over the course of his lifetime."


Image of the Day: The Fall at Anderson's

Anderson's, Naperville, Ill., hosted a packed launch event for Tracey Townsend's new novel, The Fall, the second book in the Thieves of Fate series (Pyr).

Chalkboard of the Day: Books & Books


Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla., shared a photo of the store's recent summer-themed, quotable sidewalk chalkboard message: " 'Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.' --Jim Rohn"

Kiwi Q&A with 'The Great Wardini'

New Zealand bookseller, magician, hypnotist and author Gareth Ward (aka The Great Wardini) was featured in the Sapling's "Mahy Questionnaire" series. Together with his wife, Louise, he runs the Wardini Books stores in Havelock North and Napier South. Among our favorite exchanges in the q&a:

Gareth Ward

In what way might you be a trickster?
I'm a professional magician and hypnotist--it doesn't get much more tricky.

You're at a party and someone finds out what you do. What is the question they invariably ask?
How long have you been rocket surgeon? (I wasn't going to tell them I'm an author. They'd probably say "I'm going to write a book one day" as if it is something you can just simply churn out in a few weekends, and which doesn't take passion, commitment and a small part of your soul to achieve.)

Describe yourself in three words.
Struggles with simple instructions.

Margaret Mahy: "Imagination is the creative use of reality." Is this true for you?
Imagination is our only weapon in the war against reality.

Who do you go to be entertained by linguistic pyrotechnics? Or entertained by songsense nongs?
We're fortunate that we've had some really great performance poets at our bookshops. I am always amazed at what they can achieve with so few words.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jim Acosta on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jim Acosta, author of The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America (Harper, $27.99, 9780062916129).

TV: The Most Dangerous Man in America

Woody Harrelson and Luke Davies are teaming on The Most Dangerous Man in America, a limited series package based on the book by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis. Deadline reported that Harrelson will executive produce and star as Timothy Leary, while Davies (Hulu's Catch-22) will adapt and exec produce. Star Thrower Entertainment's Tim White, Trevor White and Allan Mandelbaum will also be executive producers.

The series follows Leary's "daring prison escape and run from the law in 1970.... All this culminated in one of the trippiest journeys through the American counterculture as the psychologist and writer, known for advocating the benefits of psychedelic drugs like LSD under controlled conditions, eluded Nixon's soldiers," Deadline wrote.

Books & Authors

Awards: German Peace Prize; CILIP Carnegie, Kate Greenaway

Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado has won the €25,000 (about $28,000) Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, which he will receive at a ceremony in the Paulskirche at the end of the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 20.

The organizers of the prize cited Salgado for contributing to "social justice and peace with his photographs and furthering the worldwide debate about the necessity of protecting nature and the climate.... He focuses on people who are uprooted by war or climate catastrophes in the same way he focuses on those who are traditionally rooted in their natural environment. He succeeds in sensitizing people around the world to the fate of workers and migrants and the needs of indigenous peoples. Through his startling black-and-white images that the photographer calls an 'homage to the greatness of nature' and that highlight the disfigured land as much as its fragile beauty, Sebastião Salgado gives us the chance to conceive of the earth as what it is: a habitat that does not belong to us alone and that must be preserved."


Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X won the CILIP Carnegie Medal for children's literature, and The Lost Words, illustrated by Jackie Morris and written by Robert Macfarlane, took the CILIP Kate Greenway Medal for excellence in illustration. This is the first time in the medals' history that both winning titles have been written in verse. The winners each receive £500 (about $625) worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and the £5,000 (about $6,270) Colin Mears Award. The prizes are judged by children's librarians across the U.K.

In her speech, Acevedo gave credit to one of her students, who "had given me a challenge, or at least permission to grab the baton. She gave me permission to write a story about young people who take up space, who do not make themselves small, who learn the power of their own words."

Noting that the "times ahead are challenging," Morris said, "It seems to me that artists, writers, musicians have one job at the moment--to help to tell the truth about what is happening to this small and fragile world we inhabit, to re-engage with the natural world, to inspire and to imagine better ways to live."

Chair of judges Alison Brumwell praised The Poet X for its "searing, unflinching exploration of culture, family and faith within a truly innovative verse structure.... This is a powerful novel on every level."

Brumwell observed that in The Lost Words, "life cycles of the natural world are celebrated in vivid detail. Every tiny movement and variegated fleck of color is rendered exquisitely and gives vibrance to author Robert Macfarlane's spells."

Acevedo and Morris were also chosen as winners of the Shadowers' Choice Award, voted for by members of the 4,500 school reading groups who shadow the medals.

Reading with... Kevin Allred

photo: Drew Stevens

Kevin Allred is a writer, speaker and educator whose work has been featured on HuffPost, NBC News, Salon and more. In 2010, he created the women's and gender studies course "Politicizing Beyoncé" whose syllabus pairs Beyoncé's songs and music videos with writing by black women throughout U.S. history, highlighting the history of black feminism. His book Ain't I a Diva?: Beyoncé and the Power of Pop Culture Pedagogy (Feminist Press, June 11, 2019) brings his syllabus to life and outlines his pedagogical process alongside analysis of Beyoncé's work.

On your nightstand now:

There are honestly mountains of books on my nightstand right now, not just piles. On top: Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko, Alexis Pauline Gumbs's M Archive: After the End of the World (part two of a poetry triptych meditating on the contributions of formative black feminist thinkers--this one in conversation with M. Jacquie Alexander); Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval by Saidiya Hartman; Matthew Frye Jacobson's 33 1/3 book Odetta's One Grain of Sand (one of my favorite albums); and Shirley Jackson's Dark Tales, for something a little creepy before bed when needed.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Much to my mom's dismay (as she tells it now), my first favorite book was Richard Scarry's Best First Book Ever. After a few readings, I memorized all the words on the page in a precise order (the book is basically just systematically naming everything shown in the illustrations). My mom would always try to take shortcuts and skip words or even whole pages. I'd immediately make her start over from the beginning.

Your top five authors:

In no particular order:

1. Octavia Butler, for her imagination. She taught us how to be better, if only we'd listen.

2. Every word June Jordan wrote was so full of love and joy, playful. She made even the spaces between words indescribably significant.

3. Audre Lorde because she told the truth, even when it was scary. Or, precisely because it was scary and necessary. She demanded we look to places where the struggles of others overlap with our own.

4. Alice Walker expanded my scope even further to see the impacts of my every interaction, not only with people but with the earth.

5. Joan Didion's nonfiction taps into cultural trends and emotions that we often don't even want to admit to or recognize ourselves, all via stunning sentences.

Book you've faked reading:

In high school, I was supposed to read The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky for AP English. I skimmed a few chapters and read CliffsNotes for basic plot. Of course, in the term paper, I confused one brother for another, mixed events up and gave myself away. My teacher never stopped making fun of me for that paper and I definitely deserved it.


Book you're an evangelist for:

It changes regularly, but right now my bible is Imani Perry's Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation. It's a blistering takedown of "patriarchy," as not just a social organization that gives men power over women, but as present and constantly resurrected in all our social relations through the process of gendering itself--of people, of occupations, of emotions, of actions, of everything. It's a sweeping, genius synthesis of so many disparate sources. Trust me, pick this book up and get your mind blown wide open. I can't stop thinking about it.

Before Perry's book, I was shouting the praises of Darnell Moore's beautiful memoir No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America (now out in paperback) everywhere I went. Read that one, too!!

Book you've bought for the cover:

I don't usually buy a book just for the cover, but will search out a particular favorite cover of one I'm already in the market for. Or grab a copy of a book I've already read and enjoyed if a certain cover catches my eye. I picked up copies of both William Golding's Lord of the Flies and H.G. Wells's The Time Machine under those circumstances. I also recently bought a mass market paperback copy of W.E.B. DuBois's The Souls of Black Folks because of some gorgeous cover art even though I already had a copy at home. Related to this: As a rule, I never buy movie tie-in covers of any book because I think they're rude.

Book you hid from your parents:

Depressingly, I remember hiding Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of her Gay Son by Leroy Aarons under my bed when I was 14 or 15. Not because it was scandalous, but because I was coming to terms with my own sexuality at the time. It was one of the only books I could find at my local library that even mentioned being gay (I grew up in small-town conservative Mormon Utah). I sat with the book, sad and scared, many nights behind my locked bedroom door. I wish there had been celebratory, joyful accounts of what I was going through at the time available to me, but I'm still very grateful for that book and think of Bobby often.

Book that changed your life:

Reading The Color Purple by Alice Walker was the first time I remember sobbing over a novel. It was one of the first, explicit times I connected so deeply with a literary character, and maybe more importantly with a literary character so different from me on the surface. I felt like an outcast, an outsider for my own reasons given my own life circumstances. I connected with the emotion of Celie's journey and experiences, not the specifics--but that created an important, critical bond. It was also the first time I encountered a joyful queer relationship portrayed in writing, or anywhere. Despite everything Celie went through, she found her voice. I was looking for my voice, too, and The Color Purple helped me figure out what that could mean. It initiated my life-long interest and commitment to black women's writing and questioning the power and privileges I often embody, especially when I might feel marginalized for my difference. Because there's a whole matrix of oppression and privilege to navigate and consider, as Patricia Hill Collins has theorized.

Favorite line from a book:

"They shoot the white girl first." Toni Morrison opened Paradise with these incendiary six words and then spent an entire book confusing readers as to who the white girl actually was/is. Still, no one knows save Morrison. And that's the point of her genius novel (and my favorite by her), which makes it the most perfect sentence in literature, let alone FIRST sentence, I've ever encountered.

Five books you'll never part with:

Because my encounters with these books are so burned into my mind, they feel like part of me--tied to my growth as a person and to my own biography in different ways: Angela Davis's Autobiography helped ignite my political consciousness. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa changed the way I think about identity. Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name--A Biomythography redefined what was possible when writing about oneself. La Mollie and the King of Tears by Arturo Islas was one of the first novels that profoundly moved me, in ways I'm still trying to find words for. And last, but not least, Gloria Naylor's Linden Hills is a book I've recently fallen in love with and can't imagine my life without.

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

Honestly, anything by Octavia Butler. But if I had to choose, it would be Parable of the Sower. I do re-read the book regularly, but reading Butler's words for the very first time was such a magical experience, I want it back.

Favorite books on black women in music that aren't Beyoncé:

Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe by Gayle F. Wald is a must-read because Sister Rosetta Tharpe created nearly everything about contemporary American music and still doesn't get the credit she deserves. Greg Kot's I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the Music That Shaped the Civil Rights Era is an amazing look at the career of Mavis Staples (still slaying today at 80 years old)! Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday is a classic, period. And Nina Simone's autobiography I Put a Spell on You is amazing. Simone is my all-time favorite artist and Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone by Nadine Cohodas gives important additional insight into her life, too. Though it's not a book, the documentary The Amazing Nina Simone, directed by Jeff Lieberman, is essential viewing.

Book Review

Children's Review: Skulls!

Skulls! by Blair Thornburgh, illus. by Scott Campbell (Atheneum, $17.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9781534414006, July 23, 2019)

First-time picture book author Blair Thornburgh (Who's That Girl) teams up with Scott Campbell, who made his creepy-cute bones illustrating Kelly DiPucchio's Zombie in Love duology, for a cheery tribute to that undersung hero, the skull.

"You probably don't think much about skulls," the narrator says to readers and their stand-in, a little girl with perpetually astonished eyes and brunette pigtails in the shape of cumulus clouds. The speaker continues extolling the virtues of the "car seat for your brain" as the girl walks through a city crowd featuring a lumberjack, a pirate, a baker and many others, all going about their business, playing instruments, reading or carrying groceries. A page turn reveals an astonishing X-ray-image view of every head around her, including the skulls of a pet dog, parrot and turtle. Posed against a white background, the figures' chunky brown watercolor outlines and the black X-ray silhouettes surrounding their toothy skulls lend dramatic impact. Although the child jumps in surprise, the narrator confidently refers to skulls as "a good thing," and the inclusion of people of all ages and varying occupations emphasizes the ubiquity of skulls. As her adventure leads her through a gathering of skeletons--some playing croquet in period costume, others grilling hot dogs in pirate and vampire outfits--the girl learns that skulls don't intend to scare people, and that they have useful holes "for hearing, for seeing, for smelling and breathing, and for eating grilled cheese sandwiches." She encounters grinning skulls of all shapes and sizes, her growing delight evident in her ecstatic smile until her appreciation for her bony new friends has her own face converting into a pigtailed skull portrait.

Campbell's sweetly absurd illustrations will help little ones learn not to fear the Reaper, whom he shows contentedly sipping a juice box. The quirky watercolor scenes support Thornburgh's offbeat narrative perfectly, the human characters achieving a balance between noodle-armed, cartoon goofiness and osseous reality. Campbell's palette, a combination of sweet pastels, stormy blacks and blues, and murky earth tones, keeps the playful tone consistent while adding a hint of classic skeletal gloom. Between the popularity of Halloween and el Día de los Muertos, some families will find Skulls! a useful tool for comforting and educating young children who may find the holidays' skeleton-heavy imagery unsettling. Parents and teachers will also likely appreciate the list of skull facts in the end matter, ideal for engaging a skull's contents. This authoritatively positive demystification of cranial bones--with its recurring theme of grilled cheese appreciation--is sure to have preschool through early elementary-aged readers shouting, "I love my skull!" --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services division manager at Main Branch, Dayton Metro Library

Shelf Talker: In her debut picture book, Thornburgh celebrates the wonders of skulls with help from veteran illustrator Campbell.

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