Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 19, 2021

Margaret K. McElderry Books: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Zonderkidz: The Smallest Spot of a Dot: The Little Ways We're Different, the Big Ways We're the Same by Linsey Davis, illustrated by Lucy Fleming

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop


At Scholastic: Peter Warwick New President, CEO; Iole Lucchese Becomes Chair

Peter Warwick

Peter Warwick, who has been an independent director at Scholastic since 2014, has been named president and CEO of the company, effective August 1. He assumes the roles and responsibilities of the late M. Richard (Dick) Robinson, Jr., who died on June 5.

The Scholastic board stated: "Peter will be only the third CEO in Scholastic's rich 100-year history, and he has proven himself exceptionally qualified to take on that role. During his tenure as a member of the board, Peter has been an effective and creative leader and advocate for Scholastic. His prior career as the chief executive officer of significant business units within Thomson Reuters and Pearson provides Peter with the requisite experience and insights to deliver strong growth and financial performance at Scholastic. Under Peter's leadership, our collection of great businesses, unparalleled content, and remarkable people will continue and grow in strength to serve our customers, shareholders and other stakeholders."

Warwick said, "It is an honor to accept the position of CEO at one of the premier publishing houses in the world, and to lead our dedicated and exceptionally talented management team and employees. Dick Robinson built Scholastic into the most admired global children's book and education business. His devotion to children's literacy, education, and journalistic integrity was so profound it is ingrained in the culture of the company. I am deeply committed to continuing to embrace these same principles going forward and build upon the core Scholastic mission while creating value for all of our stakeholders. As a board member for the last seven years, I have been part of the decisions that have built a powerful business platform and enhanced our beloved brand. We will grow our business by continuing to create new and exciting content, developing educational programs in print and digital formats, and further strengthening our partnerships with children, parents and educators around the world."

Iole Lucchese

In related moves, two new members have been appointed to the board. Iole Lucchese, Scholastic's executive v-p, chief strategy officer and president, Scholastic Entertainment, is filling the seat previously held by Dick Robinson and has been named chair of the board. She has been with the company for 30 years, starting her career with Scholastic Canada and rising to the leadership of Scholastic Canada before moving to Scholastic headquarters in New York City.

The company said that Lucchese has "a strong track record of instigating effective change, including the significant expansion of the book publishing and distribution group in Canada, the expansion of the company's digital activities, and her responsibility for the renewal of its media activities, strengthening the 'Scholastic' brand through bringing Scholastic's highly engaging content to audiences in new formats."

Robert Dumont has been elected a director, as designee of the Robinson family. He is the principal at Robert Dumont PLLC, a New York boutique law firm specializing in tax and estate planning for international private clients. Dumont fills the seat held by Andrew Hedden, who served for 30 years on the board and resigned for this purpose. Hedden continues to serve as Scholastic's executive v-p, general counsel and secretary. James W. Barge continues to serve as lead independent director.

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

NOLA's Blue Cypress Books Moving to Larger Location

Blue Cypress's old storefront

After 13 years in its original location, Blue Cypress Books in New Orleans, La., is moving across the street to a new, larger space at 8123 Oak Street. 

Owner Elizabeth Ahlquist and her team closed the old store on Sunday and will reopen in the new space on August 7. They plan to celebrate with a grand opening event on the same day featuring libations and a book signing with author Jim Gabour (Meow, Monsieur!: The French Felines of New Orleans).

The new location spans two floors, allowing Blue Cypress Books to greatly expand its selection of both new and used titles. There will also be a dedicated space at the new shop for author events, readings and other gatherings. They plan to re-create the original store's "eclectic, cozy and welcoming atmosphere" in the new space.

The interior of the new store in progress.

Ahlquist said it was "time for Blue Cypress Books to evolve into the bookstore it was meant to be," noting that the extra space at the new location will allow the team to "finally do all of the things we've dreamed of doing."

LeeAnna Callon, the store's event coordinator and manager, added that Blue Cypress Books will be able to expand its event calendar as well. "Our new space will allow us to have bigger events and more of them in a beautiful, climate-controlled setting, without having to worry if we'll get rained on."

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

Wonders of the World Book & Toy Store Opens in Gulfport, Miss.

Wonders of the World Book and Toy Store opened earlier this month at 1520 29th Avenue, Suite 3, in downtown Gulfport, Miss., where owner Tonisha Kimble "is writing a new chapter in Mississippi's history of Black-owned bookstores," the Biloxi Sun Herald reported. She launched the bricks-and-mortar operation after years in business as an online vendor.

Describing the Covid-19 pandemic as "a sink or swim moment for me," Kimble said that before the pandemic she had relied on events to sell products and build relationships with potential customers, but that changed dramatically last year.  

After finding the space in downtown Gulfport, she "decided to make the leap to open a brick-and-mortar store for the first time," the Sun Herald wrote. "She's hoping the store will allow for serendipitous interactions with customers, conversations about books and toys for kids, book signings and author talks and even birthday parties."

Tonisha Kimble

As a child, Kimble was a reader, and after her son was born she wanted to help him love books, too, but realized it was difficult to find books that represented her family: "I was like, if I'm facing that problem, I'm sure my friends and other people that I know who love books also and want to pass it on to their children are as well. Why not start a business?" She launched WoW as an online shop while living in Florida a few years ago. The logo, which she designed, depicts her and her son.

Kimble said she does not worry much about Amazon because she has something they can't offer. She just wants to make sure people know where to find her. "I love my home state, I've been a lot of places, and I really just want people to know that this type of culture is here," she noted. "I can't wait to see everybody."

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

Bookstore Sales Up 129.8% in May

In May, bookstore sales jumped 129.8%, to $632 million, compared to May 2020, according to preliminary Census Bureau estimates. May was the second full month that reflected severe measures taken in the U.S. to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, which included widespread lockdowns. By comparison to pre-pandemic times, sales this May were down 9.2% in relation to May 2019.

For the year to date, bookstore sales are up 22.2%, to $2.97 billion.

Total retail sales in May rose 27.1%, to $641.5 billion. So far this year, total retail sales have risen 23.8%, to $2.9 trillion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing new books." The Bureau also added this unusual caution concerning the effect of Covid-19: "The Census Bureau continues to monitor response and data quality and has determined that estimates in this release meet publication standards." Hits $15 Million Mark

Sometime overnight, hit the $15 million mark in money earned for independent bookstores in the U.S. The money consists in part of a pool of a 10% cut on Bookshop sales that are made directly or through an affiliate, with the pool distributed to indie bookstores around the country, even stores that don't use Bookshop. In addition, bookstores that do use Bookshop as their e-commerce site receive a 30% commission on the cover price of their book sales, which don't count toward the general pool.

Bookshop financially helps more than 1,200 indie bookstores in the U.S., with an additional 26,000 non-store affiliates contributing to the results by linking to Bookshop. Its year-on-year growth is 17%, and, of course, since its fortuitously timed launch in January 2020, it has been a lifeline for many indies during the pandemic, particularly new stores and established stores without strong e-commerce operations. Bookshop hit the $10 million milestone this past December. Since its launch in the U.K. in November 2020, Bookshop has 470 bookshops on board there and has earned some £1.48 million(about $2.03 million) for indies.

From the beginning, has said that besides supporting indies, one of its main goals is giving online shoppers an ethical alternative to Amazon that supports local businesses. The company noted that Amazon's market share of U.S. book sales has grown at an average of 8% per year since 2015. If it continues at that rate, it will account for 80% of books sold directly to consumers by the end of 2025. Bookshop estimates that in the past 16 months it's captured about 1% of Amazon's book sales.

In an essay on Medium, CEO Andy Hunter said in part: "The future is not something that happens to us. It is something we create. People all over the world are waking up to the fact that our small choices--from buying local, to recycling, to choosing clean energy, and shopping from ethical companies--are shaping the world that we live in. I want my children to grow up in a world that includes thousands of bookstores; if you do too, we need to change our habits."

Obituary Note: Bernette Ford

Bernette Ford

Bernette Ford, "who as an author and editor was a leading advocate of making children's books more diverse and making sure that people of color had opportunities to write and illustrate them," died June 20, the New York Times reported. She was 70. Ford, whose résumé included vice-presidencies at Grosset & Dunlap and then at Scholastic Books, where she founded the Cartwheel imprint in 1991, "was among the first Black executives at a major children's book publisher. In 2002 she formed her own company, Color-Bridge Books, which consulted on and packaged a range of books for young people."

Ford wrote or collaborated on several children's books, including Bright Eyes, Brown Skin, written with Cheryl Willis Hudson and illustrated by Ford's husband, George Ford. Published in 1990 by Just Us Books, a company founded by Hudson and her husband, Wade, the book was written in verse and featured images of four Black children doing ordinary things. The Times noted that with "its Black characters and subtle emphasis on Black pride, it was the kind of book that would have been hard to find just a few years earlier."

As head of Cartwheel, Ford was responsible for bestsellers like the Clifford the Big Red Dog books and the "I Spy" series. Her own writing included books for the very young that used animal characters, including No More Pacifier for Piggy! and No More Blanket for Lambkin!, but "with Color-Bridge Books, she was particularly interested in books with diverse characters that were written and illustrated by people of color," the Times wrote. One series she created, called Just for You!, featured both established authors and relative newcomers.

Wade Hudson called Ford "an unsung hero in the push to bring more people of color into children's book publishing."

After graduating from Connecticut College in 1972, Ford worked as an editorial assistant at Random House, rising to senior editor and then becoming editorial director at Golden Books before moving to Grosset & Dunlap. In 1989, she joined Scholastic.

Grace Maccarone, who is now executive editor at Holiday House, was among those assigned to Ford's staff when she was given charge of the Cartwheel imprint. "She was really great at pulling great work out of people," Maccarone recalled, "not only her staff, but also the authors and illustrators she worked with. If you had a weakness, she worked with you on it." Maccarone "now gets to complete the circle" by posthumously publishing Ford's picture book Uncle John's City Garden, which is due to be released next year. 


Cool Return of the Day

Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., which has long hosted literary trips to spots around the world, is restarting its trip program. The store announced that its next trip will be to Morocco March 5-12, 2022. "Along with our partner, Wild Blue Yonder Trips, we invite you to join us for an unforgettable Moroccan Adventure. Spring is a beautiful time to visit Morocco, with cool temperatures and sunny days, and the first flowering trees begin to bloom. This trip will be led by popular P&P teacher of Middle Eastern literature Dr. Heba F. El-Shazli, and Sheila Campbell, who leads a number of our trips. Heba will introduce you to the customs, foods, literature, art and culture of Morocco as we visit its imperial cities."

Personnel Changes at Macmillan

Naheid Shahsamand has joined the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group school & library team as a marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Norman Kamali on Tamron Hall

Tamron Hall: Norma Kamali, author of Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible (Abrams, $35, 9781419747403).

Kelly Clarkson Show repeat: Neil deGrasse Tyson, co-author of Cosmic Queries: StarTalk's Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going (National Geographic Society, $30, 9781426221774).

Drew Barrymore Show repeat: Matthew McConaughey, author of Greenlights (Crown, $30, 9780593139134).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Simon Rich, author of New Teeth: Stories (‎Little, Brown, $27, 9780316536684).

TV: The Sympathizer

Robert Downey Jr. will co-star in as well as produce an adaptation of Viet Thanh Nguyen's novel The Sympathizer for A24 and HBO. Variety reported that Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, The Handmaiden) will serve as co-showrunner with Don McKellar (Exotica, Last Night). Filming is set to take place in Los Angeles and in Vietnam.

"Adapting Mr. Nguyen's important and masterful work requires a visionary team. With director Park at the helm, I expect this to be a creative producing adventure for Susan, me and Team Downey, and a stimulating process for myself in playing these complex supporting roles," Downey said. "A24 and HBO are the perfect combination of partners and co-parents.... It's exactly the type of challenge I've been craving, and I believe we will deliver an exceptional viewing experience to our audience."

Chan-wook will direct and executive produce the project alongside Downey, McKellar, Kim Ly, Rhombus Media's Niv Fichman and Team Downey's Amanda Burrell and Susan Downey.

Books & Authors

Awards: Mo Siewcharran Longlist

Hachette has released a longlist for the Mo Siewcharran Prize, which was launched in 2019 "to help discover unpublished fiction writers from Black, Asian and marginalized ethnic backgrounds." The winner receives £2,500 (about $3,475) plus the offer of a publishing deal, subject to contract, with Little, Brown and Abacus. The shortlist will be announced August 27 and the winner named in September.

Named in memory of Nielsen Book's former director of marketing and communications, the award "aims to nurture talent from under-represented backgrounds writing in English." Run by Hachette UK's Changing the Story diversity and inclusivity initiative, the prize returns this year following a break in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Book Review

Review: In All Good Faith

In All Good Faith by Liza Nash Taylor (Blackstone Publishing, $27.99 hardcover, 9781982603977, August 10, 2021)

Liza Nash Taylor's second novel, In All Good Faith, tells a compelling, insightful story of two women whose lives intertwine unexpectedly during the Great Depression. May Marshall Craig, the protagonist of Taylor's debut novel, Etiquette for Runaways, has returned from Paris to her Virginia hometown, where she's running her family's market and caring for her two young children. When a family tragedy forces her lawyer husband to accept a job in Washington, May takes on even more responsibility at home. But financial worries and a long-distance partnership put a growing strain on her marriage.

In Boston's West End, shy Dorrit Sykes is grieving her mother's death, pinching pennies from her seamstress work and wrestling with doubts about her family's Christian Science faith. Eventually, Dorrit travels with her father to Washington, D.C., for a veterans' march, encountering people and situations wildly different from any in her previous experience. The two women cross paths some months after the march, and their encounter will change both their lives.

Taylor paints an evocative portrait of life during the Depression, capturing the national hopelessness as Americans of all classes struggled to support themselves and their families. Dorrit's journey to Washington gives readers a vivid glimpse into the desperation of World War I veterans who converged on the nation's capital to demand help from the government they had served. After the march ends in chaos, Dorrit must reach beyond her sheltered existence and her own anxieties to survive, learning (sometimes through trial and error) whom she can trust. May, meanwhile, has an idea to expand her family's business by making and selling candy, but she and her husband disagree vehemently on the role of women in business enterprises. Although their personalities and financial situations are quite different, May and Dorrit face similar challenges in carving out lives for themselves that look unlike anything they could have imagined.

Told in both women's voices, Taylor's narrative touches on faith in the religious sense, but far more important is the faith that both women learn to place in themselves and each other, plus a small circle of loved ones. In All Good Faith is both a quiet, unflinching account of daily privations during the Depression and also a story of women fighting to have their ideas taken seriously. Ultimately, though, despite tragedy and sorrow, it is an uplifting story of friendship and hope. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Liza Nash Taylor's compelling second novel features two women whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways during the Great Depression.

Powered by: Xtenit