Also published on this date: Thursday, April 13, 2022: Maximum Shelf: Widowland

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny


Uncle Hugo's/Uncle Edgar's Buys Building, Hopes to Open in June

The future home of Uncle Hugo's and Uncle Edgar's (via Google Maps)

Don Blyly, the owner of Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction Bookstore and Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore in Minneapolis, Minn., which burned to the ground in 2020 during the protests following the murder of George Floyd, has purchased a building some two miles from the stores' old location and hopes to open as early as June.

In a Facebook update, Blyly noted that Lake Street Council was giving grants to businesses harmed by the 2020 protests. "I applied for the maximum amount I could qualify for. They decided to give me a little over half of what I asked for, which was still a very useful amount of money. I didn't expect a decision on the grant request to be processed before the closing, but they pushed it through more rapidly than I expected, and the money was available for the closing."

Blyly sold the stores' destroyed old site and also received some insurance money. In addition, the stores' GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $200,000.

Following closing, next on the agenda was redoing the floors in the new location, followed by the installation of bookshelves and lighting. "After some of the book shelves are in place, all the books from my house and the storage locker can move to the store, get sorted, and some placed on the shelves and some moved to the basement (where I will need more shelves for the overstock used books)," he continued. "And somewhere along the line I'll need to order new books for the store. I've gone through the records for about 21,000 books that were listed in our computer from the old Uncles, figuring out which ones to re-order and how many of each. But I haven't yet started entering the titles that came out since May, 2020, and that will take quite a while."

He urged customers to buy from the 8,000 science fiction and fantasy hardcovers and trade paperbacks he has listed on Abebooks so they don't have to be moved to the new store.

Only one former Uncles employee is interested in getting her old job back, he said, and a few other former staffers have volunteered to help get the store open again, so he's looking to hire booksellers.

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Rachel Cass New General Manager of Harvard Book Store

Rachel Cass

Rachel Cass will become general manager of Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., effective May 1. Cass succeeds Alex Meriwether, who is moving into a new role as chief creative officer. Brad Lennon will replace Cass as buying & inventory manager.

Cass joined Harvard Book Store in 2006, serving in a variety of positions over the years, including bookseller, marketing & events manager, head buyer and, for the past four years, buying & inventory manager. 

As CCO, Meriwether will oversee upcoming renovation projects at the bookstore and an update of its website at, as well as future projects to enhance the bookstore's presence in Greater Boston's literary landscape. He joined Harvard Book Store in 2004 and served as marketing & events manager from 2013 to 2018 before becoming general manager. 

Lennon, who has worked at Harvard Book Store since 2009, has been the assistant manager since 2011. He previously held roles in the customer orders office and the print-on-demand department, and before his time at Harvard Book Store worked at BookHampton in East Hampton, N.Y.

"Given the length and breadth of their experience, Rachel, Alex, and Brad are ideal choices for their new positions," said co-owner Jeff Mayersohn. "These organizational changes strengthen the store enormously as we strive to better serve the reading and writing communities of Greater Boston."

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Tidepool Bookshop, Worcester, Mass., Hosting Grand Opening on April 23

After opening at a limited capacity earlier in the pandemic, TidePool Bookshop in Worcester, Mass., will host a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting on Saturday, April 23, the Telegram & Gazette reported.

Store owners Jo and Huck Truesdell began hosting in-store events last month, with more scheduled in April. In addition to the  opening celebration, there will be an event focused on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on April 14 featuring Jeff Lantos, author of Why Longfellow Lied, and Nick Basbanes, author of Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. And on April 21 the store will host a poetry open mic focused on poems set in Worcester.

Prior to opening the bookstore, Jo Truesdell was a kindergarten teacher at Worcester's Bancroft School and Huck Truesdell worked in land acquisition and stewardship of wildlife habitat for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. After retiring from their respective careers in 2017, they became keenly aware of the lack of an independent bookstore in the area and began the journey toward opening a bookstore. Initially the couple planned to be fully open for business in March of 2020.

Sul Ross State University Opts for Akademos 

Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Tex., will partner with course materials platform Akademos to create a new online bookstore operation "to significantly reduce the cost and increase the accessibility of course content for its 2,100 students across four campuses." The university will continue to operate an on-campus store for merchandise and apparel and as a hub for picking up online orders.

"A core value at SRSU is to take students from where they are to where they want to be," said president Pete Gallego. "By streamlining the process of buying materials while also expanding choice and access to more affordable options, we can ensure the next generation of leaders are prepared and set up for success from day one."

Raj Kaji, CEO of Akademos, commented: "Students are experiencing increased financial hardship and strain, and are often forced to forgo purchasing the materials they need to learn and thrive as students. Sul Ross State University's innovative approach to course materials will help make possible a high-quality, affordable educational experience for all of their students"

Obituary Note: David McKee

David McKee, the British author and illustrator of the iconic children's books Elmer; Not Now, Bernard and Mr. Benn, died April 6, the Guardian reported. He was 87. 

Klaus Flugge, McKee's long-time publisher, said he was devastated by the news: "His was a singular voice and a shining light in children's books that highlighted inclusivity, diversity and parts of our world that are not always present in publishing for children.... Not only was I fortunate to be his publisher, he was also a wonderful friend, and he will be missed by many more people than he could ever imagine."

McKee's first book, Two Can Toucan, was published in 1964 by Flugge when he worked at Abelard-Schuman. When Flugge founded Andersen Press in 1976, McKee moved with him and went on to create more than 50 books for the publisher, the Guardian noted, adding that he "wrote and illustrated 29 original stories about the beloved multi-coloured patchwork elephant Elmer, the first of which was published in 1968. The books remain one of the most widely read children's book series of all time: more than 10 million copies have been sold, and they have been translated into more than 60 languages."

Along with writing and illustrating children's books, McKee had a successful career as a fine artist, and as a co-creator of animated TV programs including Mr. Benn, based on his series of books about an explorer's magical adventures. The series celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

McKee was named the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement award winner in 2020. "David McKee understands the importance of always paying attention to children and what he gives them is first-rate," said chair of judges Nicolette Jones at the time.

Agent Caroline Sheldon told the Bookseller she was "so sad" to hear of McKee's death: "I was lucky enough to be the paperback publisher of the classic Not Now, Bernard and everything David created from the fabulous Elmer to his gentle King Rollo stories was touched with his genius for words and pictures. A writer and artist of great talent and integrity who was also part of the wider art movements of his time.... Andersen Press was his publishing home, Klaus his publishing god-father and the themes of peace and harmony and the humor, sometimes sardonic, sometimes gentle, of his work have been loved by children throughout the world. One wishes one could say Not Now, David."


Happy 50th Birthday, the Twig Book Shop!

Congratulations to the Twig Book Shop, San Antonio, Tex, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary "with A Month of April Activities! Beginning April Fool's Day at Miss Anastasia Joy's #TwigletStorytime & concluding on Independent Book Store Day, April 30 a bookish all day celebration!" On Facebook, the Twig shared a photo gallery and the origin story of its name. 

Describing the Twig as a "sanctuary to readers, writers and authors since 1972," San Antonio magazine reported that "this destination continues to push the boundaries of what it means to be a thriving independent bookstore, even as competitors like Amazon threaten to make brick-and-mortar booksellers obsolete.... Today the Twig is managed by Claudia Maceo and is home to a collection of newly released books and beloved classics for both children and adults alike. Sprinkled throughout the shop are trinkets and local artisan treasures that add to the store's tangibility that large online retailers simply can't replicate."

Maceo credits the store's longevity to the fact that it provides a personal, in-person love of the written word that book lovers just don't get from online algorithms or touchscreens, the Express-News wrote.

"Or as I like to say, some stories are bound in books, and some stories bind us together when we share them," she said.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Delia Ephron on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Delia Ephron, author of Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life: A Memoir (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316267656).

Tamron Hall: Leah McSweeney, author of Chaos Theory: Finding Meaning in the Madness, One Bad Decision at a Time (Harper Wave, $27.99, 9780063143845).

The Talk: Wil Wheaton, author of Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir (Morrow, $28.99, 9780063080478).

The View: Bill Browder, author of Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin's Wrath (Simon & Schuster, $28.99, 9781982153281).

Watch What Happens Live: Molly Shannon, author of Hello, Molly!: A Memoir (Ecco, $27.99, 9780063056237).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jonathan Van Ness, author of Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life (HarperOne, $27.99, 9780063082267).

TV: Conversations With Friends

BBC Three and Hulu released a teaser for Conversations with Friends, the upcoming Sally Rooney adaptation from director Lenny Abrahamson (Room). Deadline reported that the show, which will launch May 15, "reunites Rooney with Abrahamson and Normal People producer Element Pictures, all three of whom worked on the previous Rooney adaptation."

Books & Authors

Awards: Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Shortlists

Shortlists have been released in 14 categories, including six dedicated to books, for the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards. The winners, who are voted for by the public, will be announced at a reception at Fortnum & Mason, the Royal Exchange, on May 12. Check out the complete list of book finalists here

Feast Your Eyes on Food: An Encyclopedia of More Than 1000 Delicious Things to Eat by chef Laura Gladwin, illustrated by Zoe Barker, is the first children's book to be shortlisted (in the Food Book category) for the awards, the Bookseller reported.

Reading with... Kaylani Juanita

photo: Justin Luke

Kaylani Juanita is the illustrator of the Stonewall Book Award winner When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff. She is also the illustrator of Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole Doyon, A House for Every Bird by Megan Maynor and The Little Things by Christian Trimmer. Juanita's latest picture book, Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, by Nina LaCour (Candlewick Press) is a tender, inviting story about missing a parent.

On your nightstand now: 

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.

Your top five authors:

My top five authors and their books (in no particular order):

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Big Kids by Michael Deforge

Book you've faked reading:
The majority of required reading for high school.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Raybearer. A lot of my answers are probably going to lead back to this book. I've even bought copies for family members. 

Book you've bought for the cover:

When I was 14, I naively bought a reprint of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov from Barnes & Noble because the cover was pretty and the name reminded me of the Japanese fashion Gothic Lolita. There's so much discourse behind controversial reprinted Lolita covers, and now I completely understand why!

Book you hid from your parents:

I never hid any YA novels as a kid. When I was a preteen, though, I had this comic titled Saber Marionette J by Satoru Akahori. It was rated 16+ for nudity and violence, and was very problematic--like, it takes place in the future where the only humans left are male, very binary with gender and all the women are femme-bots. I used to read it in secret, then I made my own non-canon fanfic comic about having a robot girlfriend. 

Book that changed your life:

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. My mom would read it to me all the time, and it really helped me grasp the idea of life and death in a very gentle way. After reading it, I would imagine myself and her getting older: I would get bigger, capable of holding her like how she held me; she would be little and feel taken care of when cradled in my arms. To this day I think about that book, especially now that I'm taller than my mom and getting close to my 30s.

Favorite line from a book:

"Uniformity is not unity. Silence is not peace." --Jordan Ifueko, Raybearer

Five books you'll never part with:

I can't choose! I'm trying to work on my picture book hoarding because I don't have limitless space. 

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

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

Book Review

Children's Review: Drawing Outdoors

Drawing Outdoors by Jairo Buitrago, trans. by Elisa Amado, illus. by Rafael Yockteng (Greystone Kids, $18.95 hardcover, 36p., ages 5-9, 9781771648479, May 3, 2022)

The narrator of the inspiring Drawing Outdoors attends a school that's "between two mountains, near a river, in the middle of nowhere," and has "almost nothing" in the way of supplies. But what this school does have is an extraordinary teacher who makes learning a not-to-be-missed adventure.

The teacher waits in the doorway for her pupils every morning. They may not have much more than a blackboard and some chairs, but they're about to become explorers with paper, crayons and plenty of imagination. "Look!"--the teacher points out a Brontosaurus near the river, a Triceratops on a big rock, a Stegosaurus hidden between stones. Pupils, even those who don't want to come to school in the first place, are fascinated; one and all "stop talking and start to draw." Pterodactyls darken the sky and when the "mountain booms and the birds stop singing," it's because a Tyrannosaurus is "roaring among the trees!" Then it's time for a snack on the back of a Diplodocus and when the students go home, they all do so with a stack of drawings and a real sense of accomplishment.

The creative trio of author Jairo Buitrago, translator Elisa Amado and illustrator Rafael Yockteng (Lion and Mouse) describe in this picture book the very best kind of education. Buitrago's graceful text tells an entertaining story through the whimsical imaginations of childhood, and the wonderful teacher who brings learning to life recalls the unorthodox, magical Ms. Frizzle. Yockteng's digital illustrations add a touch of humor by blending the fantastical elements into the landscapes. His palette is a delightful blend of greens, blues and purples that belong to mountains, valleys, forests--and dinosaurs--matched with bright, colorful tones for humans and smaller animals that allow them to stand out on every page.

All children, everywhere, deserve access to a decent education. As the publisher asserts, while many schools "have playgrounds, gyms, computers, lots of teachers, school libraries, and all sorts of other equipment," others struggle to make do with much less. What is central to this story is the idea that no matter what school a child attends, no matter how many or few the supplies, one dedicated professional can make all the difference. Because with the right teacher, even a school that has "almost nothing" can surely have "a Brontosaurus that's as big as a mountain." --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author

Shelf Talker: A school that has very little besides an exceptional teacher encourages kids to thrive in this inspiring picture-book adventure.

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