Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 5, 2021


Bloomsbury YA: This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Other Press: Barcelona Dreaming by Rupert Thomson

Magination Press: Jacob's School Play: Starring He, She, and They by Ian Hoffman and Sarah Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case

Simon & Schuster Children's Fall Preview: Join us for a virtual meetup featuring your favorite authors and illustrators!

Tordotcom: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Just Pretend by Tori Sharp

Mandala Publishing: Big Panda and Tiny Dragon by James Norbury and Insight Editions

Tor Books: When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson

News

BA Launches Covid Recovery Project

The Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland has launched a £150,000 (about $209,310) Covid Recovery Project, which offers members free mentorship and grants in anticipation of their April reopening. The Bookseller reported that "the fund would help booksellers make necessary improvements and minimize the risk of closures. Those who are struggling or unsure about continuing their business, for whom grants or mentorship could have a significant impact, will be prioritized."

Individual grants range from £500 (about $695) to £4,000 (about $5,580); applications are on the BA's website. The program also offers free mentorship from an experienced bookseller, provided by the Unwin Charitable Trust Bookseller Mentoring Program.

"We are delighted to announce the launch of the Covid Recovery Project as we prepare for the reopening of the high street in April," said BA managing director Meryl Halls. "We know that the past year has been incredibly difficult for bookshops, and understandably some booksellers will be feeling disheartened and weary after 12 months of adapting to shifting circumstances and new challenges. We hope that the grants and mentorship offered by this program will help booksellers to emerge feeling energized and supported as they reopen, continuing their fantastic work within their communities."


Neal Porter Books: Bright Star by Yuyi Morales


International Update: German Bookstores to Reopen

The German government is allowing bookstores to open again next Monday, March 8, Börsenblatt reported. Along with flower shops and garden markets, bookstores are part of a limited loosening of the hard lockdown that started in mid-December.

Alexander Skipis, head of the Börsenverein, the German book industry association, commented, "We're very happy that bookstores will reopen on Monday across the country. Considering that the Chancellor and state governors consider bookstores essential businesses, they recognize the important contribution that bookstores make to society. They are places of cultural exchange, of inspiration and the transfer of content. The decision [to let bookstores open] is also important from an economic perspective, since the store closings have hurt the industry a lot. We are thankful to the political authorities for their validation and support, especially culture minister Monika Grütters, who has been very supportive of the needs of the book industry."

The openings have to meet the usual conditions involving safety, hygiene and limits on the number of customers allowed in the stores.

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Danish bookshops were allowed to re-open March 1, but this applied only to high street stores of less than 5,000 square meters (about 53,820 square feet), with other stores still remaining closed," the European and International Booksellers Federation's Newsflash reported.

In the Netherlands, non-essential retailers were set to re-open March 3, though shops can be visited by appointment only, with a limit of two customers per floor allowed inside, irrespective of overall shop size.

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Latvian booksellers "are pleased to see customers return to the stores" a month after reopening from a mid-December lockdown, Latvian Radio (lsm.lv) reported, adding that "bookstore owners are very pleased about the opportunity to work and the gradual return of buyers. Libraries have also been reopened since January 12, but their reading rooms are still closed for visitors."

"I'll say it's slow, but we're moving again," said Velga Biseniece, manager of Smiltene's only bookstore, which permits two customers inside at the same time. "But people are happy, they come. Of course, it's not a food shop--a person comes, they want to look at everything, see what's new. It's not like one runs in and out. One usually dwells."

The share of Internet purchases increased for Jānis Roze bookstores, but turnover has been affected by the fact that many of the company's bookshops are located in malls.

Vija Kilbloka, owner of publisher Zvaigzne ABC, which has more than 30 bookshops in Latvia, has seen a significant increase for online purchases: "People want to come and buy on-site. But there are undoubtedly also people who are understandably cautious. We see that the number of books orders on the Internet has increased. At the moment, when bookstores are open, it has fallen, but it is not a big fall. Books on the Internet are ordered a lot more than they were last year during this period."

Although total turnover has fallen 10%-15% compared to last year, due in part to closing bookstores just before Christmas, Kilbloka noted that the main thing was getting back to work: "We're working with great pleasure--I've returned to life!" --Robert Gray


Harper: The Taking of Jemima Boone: The True Story of the Kidnap and Rescue That Shaped America by Matthew Pearl


How Bookstores Are Coping: Neighborhood Web Shop; Change After Change

In Decatur, Ga., Brave + Kind Bookshop has been closed to browsing for nearly a year, store owner Bunnie Hilliard reported. While she has had the option of reopening for quite a while now, per state and city regulations, she's chosen to operate as a "neighborhood web shop," with customers buying online and picking up their parcels on the bookstore's porch.

Hilliard noted that several times over the course of the pandemic she's seriously considered reopening for limited browsing or shopping by appointment. Each time, however, she's realized that this was essentially due to "peer pressure," as she felt that she should be doing what her colleagues were doing. She added that she hates to turn people away, and people are "ready to come inside," but there is still a significant chance that her staff and her customers could catch the virus in her store, and that is "too much of a burden for me to bear."

Bunnie Hilliard

Asked how her store fared in 2020 compared to a normal year, Hilliard explained that Brave + Kind first opened in September 2018, and was still relatively new when the pandemic hit and she chose to close down. That said, the store performed better last year than it did in 2019 despite the pandemic and being open only online. It seems like people in her community are making a serious effort to support her store and have a greater awareness in general of the need to support small businesses.

Going into 2020, one of Hiliard's goals was to expand the store's website functionality to allow for more than registering for events, signing up for the store's monthly book subscription service and buying a limited selection of pre-made book bundles. When the pandemic hit, Hilliard had to address the online shop immediately, which was "somewhat of a silver lining." Online sales have been strong enough, she continued, that she's been "okay with not opening the store." Another bright spot has been the shift to virtual events, which has allowed Hilliard and her team to reach a much wider audience than ever.

Looking ahead, Hilliard said that when the weather warms up a bit, she would like to start hosting sidewalk sales a few times per week. The shop has a fair amount of surrounding green space, so it feels that it would be safe to have customers browsing outside. Opening any further than that would probably not happen until at least the summer.

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Pia Ledina, owner of Turning the Page in Monroe, Conn., reported that her store is open for browsing and adults are bringing their children to the bookshop, and in that very general sense, things are "normal." Otherwise, it's hard to describe anything about the reality of the pandemic as normal. 

Turning the Page was less than a year old when the pandemic began, so Ledina has little to which she can compare 2020. She and her team have taken things "month to month" and have made "change after change" to keep going. The store's customer base has grown significantly, and the 2020 holiday season was stronger than 2019's.

The bookstore's community has been "incredibly supportive," and Ledina noted that the store and community members have found ways to help each other that have gone beyond "typical small business interactions." Her background as an educator and school librarian, for example, was helpful after schools went virtual and parents needed more support. There was a very real sense, she added, of everybody being in it together.

So far in 2021, January and February were both much slower than the frantic end to 2020, but the outlook for the rest of the year is still good and "better than 2020." She and her team have felt a bit of "survivor's guilt" knowing that some of their bookstore and small business colleagues have either not made it or are still seriously struggling, but they are hopeful that as vaccinations continue and the weather improves, things return to normal sooner rather than later. --Alex Mutter


Bronzeville Books: Rising and Other Stories by Gale Massey


March Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Yesterday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for March was delivered to nearly 680,000 of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 185 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 679,485 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker (Holt).

For a sample of the March newsletter, see this one from Solid State Books, Washington, D.C.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Turnout by Megan Abbott


Obituary Note: Paul D. Marks

Paul D. Marks, the award-winning mystery writer best known for the 2013 novel White Heat, died on February 28, his wife, Amy Marks, wrote on Facebook, saying in part, "He died peacefully listening to Beatles and cowboy music. He loved sharing his film noir alerts, his dog walking pictures, his love of writing and his thoughts on life with you. He used to boast that he could go anywhere in the country and would have a Facebook friend he could have lunch with."

A native of Los Angeles, Calif., Marks wrote extensively about the city and Southern California. He published four novels during his career and numerous short stories, many of which won awards. His novel White Heat, which was set in L.A. during the 1992 riots, won the Shamus Award for Independent Private Eye Novel in 2013. He published a sequel, Broken Windows, in 2018.

Marks's short stories appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Hardboiled, Mystery Weekly and more. His 2016 short story "Ghosts of Bunker Hill," also set in L.A., was published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and was voted #1 in its readers poll that year. His 2018 short story "Windward" appeared in the Best American Mystery Stories of 2018 and won the 2018 Macavity Award for Best Story. He published his last novel, The Blues Don't Care, in June of last year.

Marks was also a board member of the Los Angeles chapters of Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America.


Notes

Masking Up, Texas Style

Yesterday, we highlighted the response of Blue Willow Bookstore, Houston, Tex., to Governor Abbott's lifting of pandemic-related restrictions, including face mask mandates. Several other indie booksellers in the state are also sharing their reactions on social media, including:

At Malvern Books

Malvern Books, Austin: "In an effort to keep our staff and customers as safe as possible, we will be following the federal mandate on mask wearing--all customers will be required to wear a mask and practice social distancing while in the store."

Kaboom Books, Houston: "Unlike our Governor, we do not feel comfortable with the present viral situation. We will continue our present Mask-Only Policy both for ourselves and for our customers."

The Twig Bookshop, San Antonio: "Y'all... The Twig will still require masks, require social distancing, limit capacity."

Katy Budget Books, Katy: "To protect our booksellers and local literary community, KBB will continue requiring masks and hand sanitizing to shop in store for the time being.... Please be patient and kind with all local businesses during this time, as we navigate new landscape again to the best of our ability."

Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown: "Our goal is to be the safest place to work and shop in Georgetown during the current health crisis. We care about our Lark & Owl community and will continue to uphold the highest safety measures possible as outlined by the CDC. Therefore, MASKS ARE REQUIRED for shopping inside Lark & Owl Booksellers."

At Interabang Books

Interabang Books, Dallas: "Be like this bovid and help us stop Covid! We are asking our customer base to please keep masking up in store for the safety and comfort of all who shop here. Thank you for your support!"

Murder by the Book, Houston: "For nearly a year now, Murder by the Book's safety regulations governing both staff and customers have been based on the recommendations of science. We will continue to adhere to CDC recommendations and require the following to browse the bookstore: A mask must be properly worn upon entry and kept on while in store (covering the nose as well)...."

Monkey and Dog Books, Fort Worth: "Monkey and Dog Books is continuing a mask requirement to protect our employees and customers. Like you, we are looking forward to seeing smiles again and hope that day is in the near future."


Happy 15th Birthday, A Likely Story Bookstore!

Congratulations to A Likely Story Bookstore, Sykesville, Md., which is celebrating its 15th anniversary with specials all month and a daylong event tomorrow, March 6. "Please plan on dropping in for a piece of cake and help us celebrate," the store wrote to customers. Also tomorrow, the store is offering a 15% discount on most purchases, along with other specials and giveaways.

The store thanked customers for their support for the past 15 years, adding, "This year in particular has been challenging and our customers have been our lifeline."


Chalkboard: Titcomb's Bookshop

Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass., shared a photo of its store chalkboard on Facebook, noting: "A quote from Anne Bogel, author of I'd Rather Be Reading, creator of the blog 'Modern Mrs. Darcy,' and host of the podcast 'What Should I Read Next?' Beautiful chalkboard art by our very own Matthew C."

The message reads: "Why this book, or that one? I never know at the time. Sometimes of course, I seek out a book I need. But sometimes it's more apt to say the book needs me. I've learned books move in mysterious ways, and I'd do well to pay attention."


Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

At Sourcebooks:

Pamela Jaffee has joined the company as senior director of publicity and brand marketing for the new imprint Sourcebooks is launching with E.L. James. She was previously senior director of publicity and brand development at HarperCollins for Avon Books, Harper Voyager, and William Morrow.

Molly Waxman has been promoted to executive director of marketing--fiction. She joined Sourcebooks as senior director of marketing a year ago after more than a decade in the marketing department at HarperCollins, most recently as director of marketing.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: James McBride on Fresh Air

Today:
NPR's Here & Now examines the legacy of the late Octavia Butler.

Fresh Air: James McBride, author of Deacon King Kong (Riverhead Books, $17, 9780735216730).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Joe Scarborough, author of Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization (Harper, $29.99, 9780062950499).

Tomorrow:
MSNBC's Live with Ali Velshi: Naomi Klein, co-author of How to Change Everything: The Young Human's Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781534474529).


TV: Sitting Pretty

ABC Signature has optioned Rebekah Taussig's memoir Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body "in a competitive situation" and will develop it for television with Mandeville Films and director-producer Randall Einhorn's Sad Unicorn banner, Deadline reported. Taussig will co-write the adaptation with another writer, and executive produce with Laurie Zaks, David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman from Mandeville Films as well as Einhorn, who is attached to direct. Jeremy Stern and Lea Cuello will oversee on behalf of Sad Unicorn and Mandeville, respectively.



Books & Authors

Awards: Schaffner Prize, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

Bruce Bond is the winner of the 2021 Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature for his poetry collection Liberation of Dissonance, which Schaffner Press will publish in spring 2022. The award honors Nicholas Schaffner, a poet, musician, biographer, and music critic, and brother of Schaffner Press publisher Timothy Schaffner.

Schaffner said about the winner: "With its finely honed language and interweaving of free-verse couplets, poet and musician Bruce Bond has returned us to the world of structure and form as the framework for this profound exploration of dissonance in music, in art, in our lives and its underlying power to restore meaning and hope in a chaotic world."

Bond is a poet and musician, and the Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas. With Corey Marks, he is the poetry editor for American Literary Review. His previous collections include Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems, Gold Bee, and Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods.

Prize runners-up were: Matteo Urella for Machetes Dipped in Rum: The Oral History of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Elizabeth Sweeney for Ghosts of our Former Selves: A Novel in Stories.

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Irish author Edna O'Brien will receive France's highest cultural distinction by being named commander of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, which is given to people who have "distinguished themselves by their creations in the artistic or literary field."

The Guardian reported that from her debut novel The Country Girls, which "was banned when first published in 1960, to her most recent novel, Girl, which tells the story of Nigeria's abducted Chibok schoolgirls, the French Embassy in Ireland described O'Brien as 'a committed feminist who offered a voice to women around the world' and is 'one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.' "

O'Brien "has built a special relationship with France and the French public both for the quality of her writing but also for her universal struggles, which received a particular resonance in France," said the French Embassy. She was also the first non-French recipient of the Prix Femina special in 2019, honoring her entire body of work.


Reading with... Mike Chen

photo: Amanda Chen

Mike Chen is the author of Here and Now and Then (a finalist for Goodreads Choice/Best Sci-Fi, CALIBA Golden Poppy and the Compton Crook Award) and A Beginning at the End. His short fiction is featured in Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View--The Empire Strikes Back, and he has covered geek culture for sites such as Tor.com, Nerdist and StarTrek.com. In a previous life, he covered the NHL for Fox Sports, SB Nation and other outlets. His latest novel is We Could Be Heroes (Mira, January 26, 2021).

On your nightstand now:

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow and Star Wars--Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott are on my nightstand right now. I want my brain to really de-stress before I dive into them. Also on my phone is an ARC of Anne Tibbets's upcoming Screams from the Void.

Favorite book when you were a child:

When I was younger, A Royal Pain by Ellen Conford was something I constantly re-read--it was the first book I read that really felt like the voice and pace drove the story, which is something I appreciate to this day. When I was a little older, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles became a teen obsession.

Your top five authors:

It's hard for me to pick a top five because I find my tastes fluctuate. So each of these represents something different:

Top influence (voice and character): Nick Hornby
Top influence (world and story): James Luceno
Top Star Wars author: Claudia Gray
Top instant-buy author: Kat Howard
Top author whose writing makes me jealous: Alix E. Harrow

Book you've faked reading:

I could not get through Heart of Darkness in high school. I think it's only like 100 pages? And it was worse than reading a technical manual (and I should know, I used to be a technical writer).

Book you're an evangelist for:

There are two books I constantly tell people to read. The first is An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard, which is a beautifully written adult urban fantasy that takes Harry Potter-esque houses with modern NYC mob rivalries. The second is Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, the novelization of the film by Matthew Stover. Much more than just a novelization, this is the closest to literary fiction as I've seen in Star Wars media--it plays with structure, tone and tense while diving deep into character. They are both among my favorite books ever.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I actually don't think I've ever impulse-purchased strictly from a cover. I'm a very word-of-mouth reader, which is why having author friends is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to a TBR pile.

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents were actually pretty cool about me reading anything. My dad is a big reader, so we were always allowed to ask for as many books as we wanted. So they bought me pretty much Anne Rice's entire catalog when I was a teen--I don't think they realized just how sexual those were!

Book that changed your life:

Nick Hornby's About a Boy is the first book I read that made me think that I wanted to try to tell stories like this.

Favorite line from a book:

I mentioned the Revenge of the Sith novelization by Matthew Stover above, and one thing I love about it is how it presents the dark side as this all-consuming evil. It closes with this passage on how to defeat the dark, and these are words I lean on when things are rough (so a lot in recent years):

"The dark is generous and it is patient and it always wins--but in the heart of its strength lies its weakness: one lone candle is enough to hold it back.

Love is more than a candle.

Love can ignite the stars."

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

At the midpoint of Fonda Lee's Jade War, there's a fight that involves my favorite character from her Green Bone Saga. The fight and its stakes were so intense that I actually read line by line by moving a sheet of paper to make sure I didn't pick up any accidental spoilers by looking away for a second. It was probably the most visceral reading experience I've ever had, and it would be really cool if I could always read that section without knowing what happened.

Book you had to read in high school that you actually liked:

I read Judith Guest's Ordinary People in high school, and it's a book I still have on my bookshelf. It was my introduction to literary fiction and it did several things for me. First, it showed how artful prose could be while still telling a compelling story. Second, it played with structure in a way that I hadn't seen before. And third, it demonstrated how an emotional arc can drive a story forward without necessarily being plot heavy. Even though I don't revisit this book that often, it's still a milestone read for me.


Book Review

Review: Windsor Knot

Windsor Knot by SJ Bennett (Morrow, $27.99 hardcover, 288p., 9780063050006, March 9, 2021)

Queen Elizabeth II... a super-sleuth? In the vivid imagination of British author SJ Bennett (aka YA author Sophia Bennett), Her Royal Majesty becomes swept up in a possible murder investigation at Windsor Castle. This clever fictional premise humorously plays out with grand appeal.

The first in a proposed series, Windsor Knot commences in April 2016, as 89-year-old Queen Elizabeth II takes in "an almost perfect spring day" in the bucolic countryside on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The night before, Prince Charles had gathered a who's who of high-profile overnight guests to "curry favor with some rich Russians for one of his pet projects." At the soiree, a performer--a good-looking Russian pianist in his early 20s--"played Rachmaninoff like a dream" and even danced with the Queen. The next morning, however, the young musician is found dead in his bedroom. At first, it appears that he died in his sleep. But at breakfast, banter among the guests sheds new light. There's talk that ladies' underwear and lipstick were found near the man's nude corpse, "strung up like a Tory MP" near his bedside. Foul play? Suicide?

What follows is an investigation into the Russian's death--sordid details Her Majesty the Queen would prefer to keep out of the limelight and away from the prying press, especially as the royal family is expecting a visit from President and Mrs. Obama. While professional detectives work the case, Queen Elizabeth enlists the help of her loyal private secretary, Rozie Oshodi, who assists as the tenacious, resolute Queen secretly investigates the murder on her own. The Queen, intent on restoring decorum and order to the Royals and her devoted staff asap, sets off on a covert quest to root out answers and ensure that justice prevails.

Bennett portrays the perceptive, resourceful Queen--her thought processes, intuitions and actions--with great wit and affection, and a well-drawn supporting cast further enlivens a fast-moving, spirited and suspenseful plot. Readers will be enchanted by Bennett's inventive portrayal of a deeply engaging icon of the 20th and 21st centuries, and will be eager to crown Queen Elizabeth II a royally appealing and amusing amateur sleuth. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: In a witty, clever cozy mystery, Queen Elizabeth II secretly unravels details of a possible murder at Windsor Castle.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: A World Book Day Like None Before

World Book Day (U.K. & Ireland), the annual celebration that "aims to change lives through a love of books and shared reading," was held yesterday. Like everything else on the planet, WBD 2021 had to be significantly altered due to challenges posed by Covid-19 precautions. The festivities necessarily tended toward the virtual and socially distant.

There was also some good news to share about reading habits after a year of pandemic-induced isolation. BookTrust, CLPE, National Literacy Trust, the Reading Agency and children's publisher Egmont, along with Nielsen Books, collaborated to offer insights on the impact of the past year on reading for pleasure, and children's life chances. Among their findings:

  • Many children embraced reading at the beginning of the pandemic. The majority looked online for reading inspiration, with YouTube (45%), social media (28%) and friends (31%) cited as a key source of ideas. 
  • Books provided a valuable resource to support children's wellbeing, with young people reporting it helped them relax (40%) and made them feel happy (35%).
  • 82% of teachers found ways of reading aloud to their classes during the pandemic because it provided emotional support as well as developing literacy skills.

The research also found that parents read more with children and encouraged kids to read more as well. While remote learning could be a challenge for many families, parents who read aloud to their children every day "noticed an improvement in wellbeing, behavior, family bonds and attainment with schoolwork (even when home educating)."

On the negative side, access to books remains a serious issue, particularly among disadvantaged children and families. Despite many schools implementing quarantine initiatives and delivery services, 40% of primary-level children were unable to take books home. A year into the pandemic, reading has decreased slightly, according to Nielsen Books.

"It's wonderful to see how many children and families have felt the benefit of shared reading during the lockdowns, but this evidence shows that too many children in the U.K. don't have access to books," said WBD CEO Cassie Chadderton. "World Book Day aims to change lives through a love of books and shared reading. Our mission to ensure that all children can experience the life-changing power of books and reading has never been more critical." 

At Stanford's Travel Shop: "It's that time of year again. Show us your map wrapped kids dressed as atlases for #WorldBookDay."

Independent bookshops celebrated this very different WBD in their own ways. Here's a sampling from social media posts:

Far from the Madding Crowd, Linlithgow, Scotland: "Happy World Book Day everyone! We have all the £1 titles now in stock and ready to be collected, but there is absolutely no rush this year as we will keep the offer running until we're allowed to reopen, or until we run out of stock--whichever comes first! To collect your World Book Day book, just contact us to make an appointment. There's no need to pre-select the title--when you come to the shop, you essentially have 15 minutes to 'browse' each title in our secure and Covid-safe entrance hall."

Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, Norwich, England: "TEACHERS! SCHOOLS! HOMESCHOOLERS! We have exciting news about our very own World Book Day (UK & Ireland) Bookbugs Bookfest! We have been busily collecting content for our day celebrating all the brilliant books and have some amazing authors, illustrators and workshop providers ready [to] help make WBD special.... We've created this because we knew your little ones wouldn't be able to come into the shop for the day but we wanted to give something back to all the schools and educators who have supported us."

Forum Books, Corbridge, England: "Lockdown may have prevented us from welcoming you all into the bookshop today but that's not going to stop us from celebrating! Throughout the day we're looking forward to virtually seeing lots of you... for our At Home With BOOK BONANZA featuring some truly incredible children's authors.... But whatever you're doing today--whether you're dressed up at home, partying virtually at school, or having a quiet afternoon read--we hope you all have a fantastic World Book Day!"

The Nenagh Bookshop, Nenagh, Ireland: "We will miss the children calling in to the Bookshop on World Book Day.... Please, hold onto your WBD Token until we reopen! We will honor them indefinitely."

Hermione at Darling Reads in Horbury

Darling Reads, Horbury, England: "With the strange times being what they are, we know that not everyone will have been given a token this year. We don't want anyone to miss out so you can now order your free World Book Day book on our website, regardless of if you have a token or not."

Griffin Books, Penarth, Wales: "We might be in lockdown, but don't panic, you can still exchange your World Book Day vouchers for one of this year's fabulous titles.... Due to the current lockdown restrictions and with many children still home schooling, we are extending our World Book Day offer and will accept vouchers until the end of the summer term. Happy Reading!"

ebb & flo bookshop, Chorley, England: "Happy World Book Day! We've lots of books waiting to go to a good home. Bring your token, choose a title from our window and knock on the door.... And if you haven't been given a token, but really really want a WBD book, let me know. We won't send any child away without one."

Booksellers Association: "Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child's future success--more than their family circumstances, their parents' educational background or their income.... Bookshops are a big part of what makes World Book Day special. Thanks to you, World Book Day can bring the transformative power of reading for pleasure to more children and young people."

--Robert Gray, editor

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