Also published on this date: Thursday, June 24, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Run: Book One

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 24, 2021

Yearling Books: When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Pantheon Books: Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Scholastic Press: The Guardian Test (Legends of Lotus Island #1) by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Kevin Hong

Tor Books: The First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson


ALA Annual Kicks Off with Amanda Gorman

Carla Hayden, Loren Long and Amanda Gorman

The American Library Association's 2021 annual conference launched virtually yesterday with a conversation between Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and illustrator Loren Long, moderated by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. Gorman and Long collaborated on Change Sings: A Children's Anthem, a picture book "musical journey" that will be published by Viking Books for Young Readers in September.

After Hayden's introduction and welcome, Gorman immediately told Hayden, "You're such a titan. You're a rock star," before jumping into discussing the new book. As she visited schools, Gorman said, she was regularly asked, how do I talk with my child about what's going on? "We're living in such a tumultuous moment," Gorman continued, "and I really feel like children deserve a language by which to navigate their place in the world." Change Sings is the Youth Poet Laureate's "change anthem." Gorman worked for four years on the poem: "I wanted to write a children's book that I felt... I did not get to read when I was growing up.... When I sat down to write, I was pulling off a mosaic of language and visuals I appreciated as a child but didn't necessarily see in one place as a young Black girl."

"How did the picture book format change the poem?" Hayden asked. "I think of poems as being divisible by units of sound," Gorman said, and a children's book had to be "divisible by scene." Long added that, as the illustrator, "it's my job to bring a visual narrative which is accessible to a child." Since the piece is a "profound poem," it has no story in the standard sense. So Long "had a vision of starting quiet, with a little girl who could represent Amanda Gorman"--or anyone--"and then the narrative just builds." It's "an abstract vision of what it means to be a changemaker," Gorman said. "This character could be every child. And that means that every child could be an Amanda Gorman."

The virtual conference will run from June 23 to June 29 and will feature sessions with Barack Obama, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Dr. Eve L. Ewing, Padma Lakshmi and many others. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Only Game in Town by Lacie Waldon

Stillwater Books Expanding to Accommodate Online Operations

Stillwater Books in Pawtucket, R.I., is expanding into an adjacent 1,000-square-foot space to accommodate the bookstore's growing online business, the Valley Breeze reported.

The additional space will provide storage for some 25,000 titles being added to Stillwater's online store. Over the summer, owner Steven Porter and his team will add new books along with signed books, textbooks and rare and antiquarian books.

Like many booksellers around the country, Stillwater Books began experimenting with online sales out of necessity last year. Those sales, which had once been negligible, saw a meteoric rise, and even though in-store sales are quickly recovering, online sales remain high.

"We learned a lot," Porter told Valley Breeze. "We saw a very viable way for us to be successful."

The store also has a publishing operation called Stillwater River Publications, and the expansion has freed up some space in the original store that will now be dedicated to publishing. Porter added that Stillwater River Publications saw growth during the pandemic too. A lot of people completed manuscripts in the past year, he explained, and there have been many inquiries.

Although Porter has renewed his lease for another four years, he said he is concerned about the high number of vacant storefronts nearby. He hopes that local businesses soon fill those spots.

"Overall I think we're in the right place," he said. "We're not going anywhere anytime soon."

GLOW: Putnam: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

NVNR Launches 'The VIndies: A Celebration of Indie Bookstore Videos'

New Voices New Rooms, the collaborative partnership between the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, has launched The VIndies "to recognize the spirit and creativity of independent bookstore videos." The award categories are for best drama, comedy/musical and animated videos, as well as a special Covid-related video category for 2020-21.

NVNR and an academy of judges drawn from the bookselling community will award prizes to videos created by indie bookstores in the SIBA and NAIBA territories from January 1, 2020 through June 1, 2021. Winners will be announced at the VIndie Awards ceremony, which will include viewings of the finalist videos, during the NVNR Fall Conference, September 27-October 1. Prizes will be awarded to the winning stores.

"We are constantly amazed at the creative talent shown by bookstore videos," said SIBA executive director Linda-Marie Barrett. "They have moved us to tears, or made us laugh, or both! Bookstore videos offer glimpses into their worlds, and highlight just how important they are in their communities."

NAIBA executive director Eileen Dengler added: "I think these videos demonstrate just how flexible and responsive independent bookstores can be to any situation. They are a testament to the resiliency of small businesses."

To be eligible, videos must have been created by a SIBA or NAIBA member bookstore and must have been publicly exhibited--appearing on the store's website, on their social media channels, or in their store newsletters--between January 2020 and June 1, 2021. Nominations may come from independent bookstores or any fan of independent bookstores. Only one nomination per category, per store. The deadline to nominate a bookstore video is July 15.

SIBA's Barrett noted that "one of the bright spots over the last year has been watching bookstore videos. Whether it's a peek into the life of the owners of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, N.C. (pretend) living in their shop while the pandemic drags on, or a customer at Midtown Reader in Tallahassee, Fla. remembering how a childhood book shaped her life, these videos remind us of the very personal and life-changing ways books and booksellers impact our lives. I'm so impressed by the creativity, thoughtfulness, and daring that go into these videos, including the brief ones shared on social media. We look forward to celebrating the stores that share their stories this way, and do it so well!"

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Other Scams by Philip Ellis

HarperCollins Becomes Official Publisher of MLK Archives

Dr. King at the 1963 Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C.

HarperCollins has become the official publisher of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s archives, with the deal including world rights to publish from those archives in all formats and in all languages. 

HarperCollins editors will have access to the material through an archivist appointed by the publisher, and the company will look to work with Black scholars, actors, artists, performers and activists on projects related to the material in the archives. The first titles from the archives will be published in January 2022, to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The deal marks a return of sorts--HarperCollins was King's original publisher, having published his first book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, in 1958.

Judith Curr, president and publisher of HarperOne Group, negotiated the deal with Amy Berkower, Writers House president and agent for the King estate, and Eric D. Tidwell, managing director and general counsel of Intellectual Properties Managment Inc. and manager of the King estate.

"We are thrilled to be the official publisher of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s archives," said Curr. "We view this as a unique global publishing program, leveraging the company's collective creative efforts to develop region-specific yet universally appealing publications that illustrate how extensive and inclusive Dr. King's work is. We see this as an opportunity to further solidify Dr. King's legacy as one of the world's essential figures in the fight for justice and equality."

"The King estate is pleased to return the publishing rights to Dr. King's literary archive to his  original publisher," said Tidwell. "Dr. King's prophetic message of peace, hope, love, and equality continues to  impact the world today. That message is needed now more than ever. We look forward to utilizing HarperCollins's global footprint to continue the perpetuation of Dr. King's wonderful legacy through new creative literary projects."

Lisa Bayer New AUPresses President

Lisa Bayer

Lisa Bayer, director of the University of Georgia Press, was elected president of the Association of University Presses during the association's annual business meeting last month. She succeeds Niko Pfund, president of Oxford University Press USA.

"It is my hope that in the coming year, I can lead the Association as it helps guide our membership beyond a time of uncertainty to a restorative and renewed focus on our collective power as a publishing community," Bayer said during the AUPresses's annual meeting.

Bayer has run the University of Georgia Press since 2012, and prior to that was marketing director and regional trade editor at the University of Illinois Press. From 2015-2018, she was a member of the AUPresses board of directors and most recently was on the board's Admissions and Standards Committee.

More information about the AUPresses leadership changes can be found here.

Obituary Note: Patricia Reilly Giff

Patricia Reilly Giff

Patricia Reilly Giff, two-time Newbery Honor winner and the author more than 100 books for children, died on June 22 at age 86.

Her work included the Kids of the Polk Street School books, the Friends and Amigos books, and the Polka Dot Private Eye books. Several of her novels for older readers have been chosen as ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Books and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. They include The Gift of the Pirate Queen; All the Way Home; Water Street; Nory Ryan's Song, a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Honor Book for Fiction; and the Newbery Honor Books Lily's Crossing and Pictures of Hollis Woods. Lily's Crossing was also chosen as a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book. Her most recent books include the Zigzag Kids and Mysteries on Zoo Lane series, Genevieve's War, Island War and A Slip of a Girl.

As a child, her favorite books included Little Women, The Secret Garden, the Black Stallion books, the Sue Barton books and the Nancy Drew series. Giff loved reading so much as a child that her sister had to grab books out of her hands to get Giff to pay attention to her; later, Giff’s three children often found themselves doing the same thing. She was a reading teacher for 20 years, the educational consultant for Dell Yearling and Young Yearling books, and an adviser and instructor to aspiring writers. She was also a bookseller: for a time, she and her husband and children ran the Dinosaur's Paw, a children's bookstore named after one of her Kids of the Polk Street School novels, in Newtown, Conn.

She once said, "I always start each day by writing. That's like breathing to me. I wanted to write from the first time I picked up a book and read. I thought it must be the most marvelous thing to make people dance across the pages."

One of her longtime editors, Mary Cash, v-p and editor-in-chief, Holiday House Publishing, said, "One of the things that made Patricia Reilly Giff's work extraordinary was how thoroughly she understood the emotional lives of children--what they loved most, what frightened and troubled them, and what truly mattered to them. She was also able to give her characters the compassion and forgiveness they could not yet give themselves, and I think this is why readers often found her work reassuring. The lovely thing is that she was just as generous and compassionate in her personal relationships, which is part of what made it such a joy to work with her."

Another longtime editor, Wendy Lamb, Wendy Lamb Books, said, "I always felt so lucky to publish Pat, who was a delight in every way. I met her at Viking in 1978, when an editorial assistant found Pat's first book, Today Was a Terrible Day, in the slush pile. I became her editor at Delacorte in 1996. She was funny, firm, a complete pro. Each draft arrived on time. One of the joys of my career was to listen to her speeches, and to hear her chat with fans as she signed books. Each person she worked with at RHCB mattered to her. She was grateful for your contribution to her book, or to a conference, or to an appearance. She cared about you. Her readers felt that, too. Last week, a student at the Columbia Publishing Course told me that Pat's Pictures of Hollis Woods inspired her to work in children's books. What she gave us all will last."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Willie Nelson on the Tonight Show

The Talk: Graham Norton, author of Home Stretch: A Novel (HarperVia, $26.99, 9780063112094).

Kelly Clarkson Show: Meg Boggs, author of Fitness for Every Body: Strong, Confident, and Empowered at Any Size (Tiller Press, $19.99, 9781982157074).

Ellen: Casey Wilson, author of The Wreckage of My Presence: Essays (Harper, $26.99, 9780062960580).

Drew Barrymore Show repeat: Iska Lupton and Anastasia Miari, authors of Grand Dishes: Recipes and Stories from Grandmothers of the World (Unbound, $29.95, 9781800180000).

Tonight Show: Willie Nelson, co-author of Willie Nelson's Letters to America (Harper Horizon, $27.99, 9780785241546).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Quentin Tarantino, author of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel (Harper Perennial, $9.99, 9780063112520).

This Weekend on Book TV: Andy Slavitt on Preventable

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, June 26
7 p.m. Yusef Salaam, author of Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice (Grand Central, $28, 9781538705001), and Ian Manuel, author of My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption (Pantheon, $25.95, 9781524748524). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Bob Weil, editor-in-chief of Liveright Books, discusses the publisher's 10th anniversary.

9:45 p.m. New York Liberty basketball player Jocelyn Willoughby discussed her Read What You Sow book club. (Re-airs Sunday at 12:45 a.m.)

10 p.m. Andy Slavitt, author of Preventable: The Inside Story of How Leadership Failures, Politics, and Selfishness Doomed the U.S. Coronavirus Response (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250770165). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, June 27
1 p.m. Jordan Shapiro, author of Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad (Little, Brown Spark, $27, 9780316459969).

3:15 p.m. Michael Dobbs, author of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy (‎Knopf, $32.50, 9780385350099).

5:15 p.m. Sasha Issenberg, author of The Engagement: America's Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage (Pantheon, $40, 9781524748739).

6:50 p.m. Jim Campbell, author of Madoff Talks: Uncovering the Untold Story Behind the Most Notorious Ponzi Scheme in History (McGraw-Hill, $28, 9781260456172).

7:55 p.m. Daniel James Brown, author of Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II (Viking, $30, 9780525557401).

11 p.m. Jean Becker, author of The Man I Knew: The Amazing Story of George H.W. Bush's Post-Presidency (Twelve, $30, ‎9781538735305).

Books & Authors

Awards: Pritzker Lifetime Achievement; Gordon Burn Longlist

Margaret MacMillan is receiving the 2021 Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The $100,000 award will be presented at the 2021 Liberty Gala on October 21. MacMillan is the first woman to win the award.

The organizers commented: "Author or co-author of 15 publications, MacMillan has been recognized nationally and internationally for her work regarding the international and military history of the 19th and 20th centuries."

MacMillan is a Canadian historian who was educated at University of Toronto and Oxford University. She is a Professor of History at the University of Toronto and emeritus Professor of International History at the University of Oxford. Her work has been translated into 29 languages and honored with numerous awards. She is the first woman to win the Samuel Johnson Prize, the British honor for best nonfiction writing in the English language, for her 2001 work, Peacemakers: the Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (published in 2002 in North America as Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World). Her other works include Women of the Raj, Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World, Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History, The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, and most recently War: How Conflict Shaped Us.


The longlist for the £5,000 (about $6,980) 2021 Gordon Burn Prize, honoring "the year's boldest and most exciting fiction and non-fiction," has been selected. The winner will be announced on October 14 during the Durham Book Festival. See the 12 longlisted titles here.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 29:

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (Berkley, $27, 9780593101537) is historical fiction about J.P. Morgan's personal librarian, a Black woman passing as white.

Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration's Response to the Pandemic That Changed History by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta (‎Harper, $30, 9780063066052) investigates Trump's botched pandemic response.

Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm by Robin DiAngelo (‎Beacon Press, $24.95, 9780807074121) is by the author of White Fragility.

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen: The Emotional Lives of Black Women by Inger Burnett-Zeigler (Amistad, $24.99, 9780062959829) is written by a clinical psychologist.

The Third Grave by Lisa Jackson (Kensington, $27, 9781496722249) is book four in the Pierce Reed/Nikki Gillette thriller series.

When Stars Collide by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062973085) is a romance novel about a football quarterback and an opera singer.

Dr. Fauci by Kate Messner, illus. by Alexandra Bye (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781665902434) is a picture book biography of the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Generation Misfits by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99, 9780374313746) features a Japanese American middle-grader who joins her school's J-Pop club and meets some true friends.

Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife by Ariel Sabar (‎Anchor, $17, 9780525433897).

Pug Actually: A Novel by Matt Dunn (Mira, $15.99, 9780778311232).

In Royal Service to the Queen: A Novel of the Queen's Governess by Tessa Arlen (Berkley, $17, 9780593102480).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu: A Novel by Tom Lin (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316542159). "A raucous romp through a nearly lawless post-Civil War American West. Ming Tsu's story is captivating and impossible to put down; the cast of characters is just too unique to forget or dismiss. A blood-crusted gem of a tale." --Jamie Fiocco, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Palace of the Drowned: A Novel by Christine Mangan (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250788429). "Bridging the gap between genre and literary fiction with enormous skill and agility, Mangan has again given us an electrifying yarn full of menace and atmosphere. With a mesmeric sense of place, Palace of the Drowned is a fully transportive experience." --Wesley Minter, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Biblioasis, $16.95, 9781771964111). "This is a literary mystery explored with white-hot intensity. The author's journey, both physical and emotional, to discover more about the central poem and its author is obsessive and candid. It's not just genre-blending, it's genre-obliterating. A Ghost in the Throat cannot be contained." --Lesley Rains, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, Pa.

For Ages 4 to 8
Are You a Cheeseburger? by Monica Arnaldo (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 9780063003941). "I love how characters Grub and Seed wonder and use their imagination for things they don't quite understand. Arnaldo's whimsical banter and illustrations will make this a regularly requested household read-aloud." --Lauren Brown, The Story Shop, Monroe, Ga.

For Ages 8 to 12
Ophie's Ghosts by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray, $16.99, 9780062915894). "Ophie is a smart girl with a scary talent. Growing up in racist, post-World War I America, Ophie is dealing with darkness in her life--her father's grisly death, her mom's struggle to make ends meet, and ghosts! This rip roaring, slightly scary adventure will earn Ophie a lot of love from readers!" --Margaret Neville, The King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

For Teen Readers
The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon (Inkyard Press, $18.99, 9781335212795). "The Witch King is a smart, bold, queer contemporary fantasy that balances romance and adventure with sharp commentary on social justice and the politics of power. This is a must for readers of Holly Black, Seanan McGuire, and Anna-Marie McLemore." --Kiersten Frost, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: She Who Became the Sun

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor Books, $27.99 hardcover, 416p., 9781250621801, July 20, 2021)

Asian Australian writer Shelley Parker-Chan reimagines the founding of a dynasty in She Who Became the Sun, a bold, breathtaking historical fantasy debut seething with intrigue and action.

In 1345 CE China, a village in its fourth year of drought lies "flattened under the sun like a defeated dog that has given up on finding shade." Once 11 in number, only three of the Zhu family still survive: 11-year-old Zhu Chongba, his father and his 10-year-old sister. Because of his lucky birth order, Chongba is expected to achieve greatness, while the village fortune teller prophesies his sister's fate as "Nothing." When bandits kill their father, though, Chongba succumbs to grief and starvation. Hungry for survival, his sister (hereafter referred to as Zhu) decides to take his name, his clothing and his fate. Disguised as Chongba, she finds food and shelter as a monk but never forgets that to evade the nothingness of her true fate, she must achieve her brother's promised greatness instead. A civil war brings the opportunity she craves, but standing in her way is General Ouyang, a eunuch renowned for his beautiful face and military prowess. The last of his line, Ouyang pretends to faithfully serve the family who murdered his own while secretly plotting vengeance. Evenly matched in strategic brilliance and both outsiders in a society of rigid gender roles, Zhu and Ouyang are pitted against each other in a deadly battle of wit and will to determine their own futures and that of China.

In this explosive duology opener, Parker-Chan puts a slight supernatural spin on the historic Red Turban Rebellion. While Zhu can see ghosts and royalty can physically manifest the fire of their divine right to rule, the conflict between two ruthless yet sympathetic adversaries fuels the action and tension. The story deconstructs traditional gender roles through the eyes of Zhu, Ouyang and strong women characters who use their agency to gain influence. Power comes at a cost as Zhu, already prone to moral flexibility in the name of survival, moves ever further from the precepts of her monastic vows, and Ouyang works against the person he loves most. The political underpinnings and military strategies are well-drawn, while lush descriptions of dress and setting beautifully evoke a bygone era. Vibrant and passionately inventive, She Who Became the Sun gives the aphorism "live life like your head is on fire" dazzling new meaning. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: The first in a historical fantasy duology, this pulse-pounding epic reimagines the founding of a dynasty through the eyes of its well-developed queer leads.

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