Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 4, 2022


Sharjah Book Authority: Publisher's Conference

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari

Candlewick Press (MA): Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World by Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph

Parallax Press: How to Live: The Essential Mindfulness Journal (Mindfulness Essentials) by Thich Nhat Hanh, illustrated by Jason Deantonis

Shadow Mountain: Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together by Tara Teaspoon

Berkley Books: The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

News

Don Weisberg Leaving as Macmillan CEO; Jon Yaged to Become CEO

Don Weisberg
Jon Yaged

Don Weisberg is stepping down as CEO of Macmillan Publishers U.S. at the end of the year and will be replaced by Jon Yaged, who is president of Macmillan Publishers U.S. Weisberg has been in his current role since January 2021, when he replaced John Sargent. Starting in January, Weisberg will act in an advisory capacity to Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of Macmillan parent company Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.

Weisberg commented: "Today, with all we're accomplishing at Macmillan, I can, without hesitation, say that there could be no better time for me to step aside. We are coming off two record-breaking years of unprecedented growth and profit; we have improved every facet of our operation at a time when the world has faced an existential crisis, and we have done it with grace, intelligence, and dedication."

Von Holtzbrinck said, "Since 2016, Don has led Macmillan Publishers U.S., and later the whole of Macmillan Trade Publishing, from strength to strength, building a publishing program with both care for our strong legacy, and a vision of who we could be. He forged a team that is the pride of the publishing industry. Our results for the last two years have been nothing short of spectacular. Just as critically, we have made and continue to make substantial efforts towards creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive company. While this is by no means a day of farewell, it is one of emotion, as there is no doubt that we, Macmillan and Holtzbrinck, owe a lot to Don."

Jon Yaged joined Macmillan in 2011 as president of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. Currently, as president of Macmillan Publishers U.S., he has been, the company said, "instrumental in leading Macmillan's U.S. publishers to record-breaking sales and profits, all while working to build a publishing program more reflective of the world in which we live." Before joining Macmillan, he held several positions at the Walt Disney Company, most recently as v-p, U.S. publisher.

Von Holtzbrinck called Yaged "widely respected both within Macmillan and across the industry for his ability to attract, develop and empower talent and for creating a culture of mentorship, collaboration and teamwork, so that creativity flourishes along with a sense of belonging. His results-driven approach, his clarity of communication and decisiveness have been and will continue to be particularly valuable in leading the company."

Yaged added: "From the day I started, Macmillan has been a place that encourages experimentation, nurtures creativity, and cares about people. As we look to the future, I see how we can remain true to our foundation while also continuing to evolve. We will retain the individual identities among our publishers that unquestionably distinguish us from our competitors. We will continue to build upon our progress to make our staff, the books we publish, and the authors we work with more reflective of our society. We will explore new tactics and use new technology to increase discoverability of the books we publish. We will do all of this while striving to make Macmillan the best place to work in publishing."


Camcat Books: Armadas in the Mist: Volume 3 (The Empire of the House of Thorns) by Christian Klaver


Monarch Books Opens in Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Monarch Books, an independent bookstore in Arroyo Grande, Calif., held a grand opening celebration on Saturday, KSBY reported. Owner Taneesha Regez and her husband, Aaron, carry new books for all ages and across all genres, with about half of the store's inventory devoted to children's books.

Regez told KSBY that it's been a lifelong dream to open a bookstore in her hometown, adding that community members have embraced her bookstore. "I've had complete strangers message and ask if they can help unpack books, help alphabetize books. I've had people come in to help paint, so people are really supportive."

On Saturday Regez celebrated the grand opening with a drawing to win a $50 gift card, free tote bags with purchases of $100 or more, coloring sheets for kids and other festivities.


She Writes Press: Canaries Among Us: A Mother's Quest to Honor Her Child's Individuality in a Culture Determined to Negate It by Kayla Taylor


DeMoir Books & Things in Memphis Launches Fundraising Campaign

Jeremee DeMoir

DeMoir Books & Things, Memphis, Tenn., the city's only Black-owned bricks-and-mortar bookstore, has launched a $15,000 GoFundMe campaign, "asking the community for help amidst rising rent and inventory demands," ABC24 reported, adding that the fundraiser's goal is to "address rent costs, pay increases for staff and inventory costs to keep the store afloat."

Owner Jeremee DeMoir wrote on the GoFundMe page: "We're an all-inclusive bookstore that supports our city and its literacy mission. Since opening in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we've been fortunate to serve our community with a FREE Children's Book program (ages 0-17) and offer many services, including space for people to work from the store remotely, community book clubs, movie nights, and book signings.
 
"However, due to rising rent costs at our location, the uptick of new titles being released weekly, and inventory demands, it has been hard to keep up financially. We have always been committed to providing the best version of the store and ensuring our staff continues to be taken care of, but right now we could use a little bit of help.... We've stayed afloat during the pandemic thanks to the dedication of our booksellers and the commitment of indie-loving book readers and authors who choose to book our space for their events. Your donations would help us continue our mission to address literacy gaps in children via our free book program and help us continue our mission of fostering a love of reading in our city."
 
DeMoir, a former teacher, told ABC24 that he opened the store after noticing how limited reading material was for African-American children in schools: "Being functionally illiterate is a thing, however, it should not be and in Shelby County, our literacy rates are extremely low. Not only because of access, but because of content.... I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars buying books for my classroom library and realized that I could make it bigger. What about the other children in the community? What about the other children in the city?"

He added: "Independent bookstores have it differently. We aren't funded by franchises or big corporations and so all of it comes from us to us. That's the whole thing about being a community, it's being there for the next person... so we're trying to make sure we do that."


CamCat Publishing: The Darker the Skies (Earth United) by Bryan Prosek


Workman's Susan Bolotin Retires

Susan Bolotin

After nearly 22 years as head of the Workman imprint at Workman Publishing, Susan Bolotin has retired. During her time at Workman, she oversaw the adult, children's and, with Janet Harris, the calendar publishing programs for the Workman imprint. She is succeeded by Stacy Lellos, publisher of Workman Children's Publishing and Algonquin Young Readers; Lia Ronnen, publisher and editorial director of Workman's adult publishing program and Artisan; and Page Edmunds, publisher of Workman Calendars.

Bolotin began her career at Random House, writing the first-ever catalog for the entire Vintage Books list and holding various sales and editorial positions. She then moved to Simon & Schuster to be editor-in-chief of Touchstone Books. She then worked in journalism for 20 years, including stints as an editor at the New York Times Book Review and a contributor to the daily and Sunday papers. She later held a variety of editorial and management positions at Self, Vogue, 7 Days, LIFE, Good Housekeeping and more.

In 2000, Peter Workman recruited Bolotin to be Workman's editorial director, saying he was looking for a book editor with magazine experience, since he thought a book's cover should have "newsstand" appeal and its insides as many entry points as a well-designed magazine page. She was promoted to acting publisher and then publisher not long after Peter Workman's death in 2013, holding the titles of editorial director and publisher until her retirement.

The company said, "With her hand in all of Workman's businesses, Bolotin acquired, edited, published, and championed many of Workman's bestselling books and iconic brands. Overseeing editorial, design, photography, publicity, and marketing, she was instrumental in building the creative teams that have made the company what it is today, helping to grow the adult, children's, and calendar businesses to a place where they will now be separated into three imprints."

Bolotin commented: "Being able to do what you love for fifty years is an incredible gift. And getting to spend more than twenty of those years with the innovators at Workman is a treasure almost beyond belief. I am filled with gratitude toward the Workman family, Dan Reynolds, my incredible colleagues, and all the authors and artists whose work I've been given the honor of celebrating."

Senior v-p and Workman Publishing publisher Dan Reynolds added, "Over the last eight years, I'd often get to the office early and start my day with Suzie, discussing ideas touching on a wide range of subjects, while also struggling with the world at large. The intelligence and humanity she brought to all the conversations, layered on top of a good cup of coffee, primed me for the day ahead. Suzie is singular in so many ways, but it is her work ethic paired with a passion for quality that most defines her. Workman's success is inextricably linked to all that Suzie brought to her job, and we will forever be grateful."


Barefoot Books: Save 10%


Obituary Note: Gwen Marcum

Gwen Marcum

Gwen Marcum, former owner of Capitola Book Cafe in Capitola, Calif., died on April 19. 

Marcum co-owned Capitola Book Cafe with three other women, and for nearly 30 years helped make it "a center of literary, intellectual and social life in Santa Cruz County, bringing in authors and speakers from around the world," the Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote. Marcum was a voracious reader who was "fiercely committed to independent booksellers and was a leader in the efforts to protect local bookstores from the incursion of big box chain stores in Santa Cruz County."

Melinda Powers, head book buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz and formerly of Capitola Book Cafe, noted that Marcum was "very active in the bookselling community during that time, including serving on the NCIBA board and attending many, many ABA events…. She was beloved." She retired from bookselling in 2006.

Born in Menlo, Iowa in 1935, Marcum went to college at Simpson College before earning a Master's Degree at American University. She traveled to Ghana as part of an international exchange and later worked for the Washington Post. A lifelong activist, Marcum participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964 and was present for Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. And in 2007, at the age of 71, she went back to Iowa to canvas for Barack Obama.

Marcum and her husband John moved to Santa Cruz in 1972, where they "became early members of the UCSC faculty community." She was also involved in youth sports and other community events.

In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations to the Campaign for Female Education and the UC Education Abroad Program.


Candlewick Press (MA): The Real Dada Mother Goose: A Treasury of Complete Nonsense by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Julia Rothman


Notes

Timely Display: Gibson's Bookstore

Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., shared a photo of its store display focusing on reproductive rights in the wake of this week's troubling news from the Supreme Court, noting: "Your friends at Gibson's are very concerned about the threat to reproductive rights now emerging from the Supreme Court. As always, we stand ready with many books on this and related topics. And we're also your community gathering place if you want to vent--or organize."


Personnel Changes at Workman Publishing

At Workman Publishing, Meghan O'Shaughnessy has been promoted to associate publicist for the Workman adult, children's, and calendar publishing groups, as well as Algonquin Young Readers. Before that, she was publicity assistant and online marketing intern for Algonquin Books.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rick Martínez on the View, Good Dish

Tomorrow:
Tamron Hall: Will Jawando, author of My Seven Black Fathers: A Young Activist's Memoir of Race, Family, and the Mentors Who Made Him Whole (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374604875).

The View: Rick Martínez, author of Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593138700). He will also appear on the Good Dish.


Movies: Turtles All the Way Down

New Line's film adaptation of John Green's Turtles All the Way Down has added J. Smith-Cameron (Succession), Poorna Jagannathan (Never Have I Ever) and Maliq Johnson (Grand Army), joining previously announced cast members Isabela Merced, Cree Cicchino, Felix Mallard and Judy Reyes in the HBO Max movie.

Directed by Hannah Marks from a screenplay by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the project is produced by Temple Hill's Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey and Isaac Klausner. Green is executive producing alongside Aptaker and Berger.



Books & Authors

Awards: Branford Boase Shortlist

A shortlist has been released for the 2022 Branford Boase Award, which is sponsored by Walker Books and presented to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. The prize also honors the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent. 

The winner will be named July 14 at a ceremony in London. The winning author receives £1,000 (about $1,270), with author and editor each getting an inscribed plaque. This year's shortlisted titles are: 

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen, edited by Carmen McCullough & Tricia Lin
Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths by Maisie Chan, edited by Georgia Murray
The Upper World by Femi Fadugba, edited by Emma Jones, Stephanie Stein &
Asmaa Isse 
Grow by Luke Palmer, edited by Penny Thomas 
The Valley of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr, edited by Zöe Griffiths 
Digger and Me by Ros Roberts, edited by Ella Whiddett & Ruth Bennett
The Boy who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter, edited by Lauren Fortune 
Grimwood by Nadia Shireen, edited by Ali Dougal 


Reading with... Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis is a Canadian author of nearly two dozen books for young people. Step, a collection of 10 stories about the journeys each child takes on their 11th birthday, building confidence and compassion for others, is available now from Groundwood Books.

On your nightstand now:

The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde: Her writing is so clear and strong and truthful and empowering.

The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction: 90 writers, over 100 stories, so much to learn from.

Albert Camus's Notebooks, 1935-1942: Being able to read his random thoughts, scribbles and parts of stories is wonderful. It's like, "This is what writers do," they scribble down thoughts and some of those thoughts sometimes turn into something readable.

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See: My wife, Heidy, gave this to me for Christmas. It's about generations of women on the island of Jeju in an all-female diving collective.

Favorite books as a child:

The Teddy Bear Habit by James Lincoln Collier, about a kid who lies to grown-ups and wanders around Manhattan all by himself. I wanted to be that kid. Still do!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith's lovely tale of a girl growing into becoming a writer.

Look Through My Window and Kate by Jean Little. Little wrote so beautifully about children grappling with important issues like questions of faith, learning to take responsibility and learning how to be a good friend.

Top five authors:

Jean Little for the dignity in her books for children; Dervla Murphy for her fearless wanderings; Chaim Potok for his deep, quiet entry into new worlds; Kazuo Ishiguro for his lyrical style; and Anne Frank, because she had so much more to say.

Book I've faked reading:

The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. We studied it for ages in the seventh grade. I still don't know what it's about. I recently took it out of the library and tried again, but I still couldn't read it. Sorry, Mr. Steinbeck. I'm sure it's a great book, but it died the death of a boring classroom.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Other Stories. She has an amazing way of seeing the evil lurking under polite society. I also love her novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It's so deliciously creepy, and who hasn't at least sometimes felt that the outside world was out to get them?

Book you've bought for the cover:

Death Is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa. The cover has a camper van without wheels. This novel is about a journey of some Syrian refugees. There are so many people on the move these days, chased from their homes by war and injustice. We need to know the impact of the bad decisions we allow our governments and corporations to get away with.

Book you hid from your parents:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Another kid wandering around Manhattan by himself, with what my parents would have considered a bad attitude.

Book that changed your life:

Knock on Any Door by Willard Motley. I found it among my grandmother's things when we cleaned her house out after she died. I was eight. It's the story of a boy in Chicago who started out as an altar boy and then dies in the electric chair. It's a scathing indictment of the brutality of the juvenile justice system. It opened my eyes to what stories could be about. When I get to the next life, I'll ask my grandmother what she thought of it. She came to Canada from England all on her own when she was young to be a house maid. 

Favorite line from a book:

It's from The Book of Lights by Chaim Potok:
"What is of importance is not that there may be nothing. We have always acknowledged that as a possibility. What is important is that if indeed there is nothing, then we should be prepared to make something out of the only thing left to us--ourselves."

I love this line because it says that no matter what we lose, we still have things inside us that we can draw on and give.

Five books you'll never part with:

My Name Is Asher Lev and The Book of Lights by Chaim Potok. Mr. Potok draws us into a world where big questions are struggled with in a way that reminds us we are not alone in the asking.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, for the remarkable way he created his main character.

The Plague by Albert Camus. We choose who we are, especially in times of strife.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I've read it so many times, it feels like coming home.

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

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff--what a celebration of books, of writers, of letter writing and of unquenchable curiosity!


Book Review

Children's Review: The Lost Ryū

The Lost Ryū by Emi Watanabe Cohen (Levine Querido, $17.99 hardcover, 208p., ages 8-12, 9781646141326, June 7, 2022)

A 10-year-old boy leads a new friend and both of their dragon companions on a peregrination to save his ailing grandfather in Emi Watanabe Cohen's quiet and healing post-war fantastical debut, The Lost Ryū.

Kohei has an "impossible memory": his Ojiisan with tears in his eyes, gazing up at a soaring beast. But the Ojiisan with whom Kohei and his mother live is an angry, emotionally bereft drunk whose organs are failing. And the giant ryū, "beautiful and brutal" dragons, have not been seen "since bombs fell over Hiroshima and Nagasaki almost twenty years ago." The modern ryū, with which Kohei is familiar, are loyal but palm-sized companions, like his own sarcastic Yuharu. Kohei is convinced that seeing a big dragon would "remind [Ojiisan] how to feel" and make him happy again. And maybe, if Ojiisan were not so surly, Mama would be less secretive and removed and Kohei would not feel like he is always walking on eggshells. With Yuharu, new neighbor Isolde and her contemplative Western dragon, Cheshire, the boy travels across Japan to find the mythical birthplace of ryū, Ryūgū-jō. There, the possibility of a dragon baby offers both children hope for a new beginning. It is only once Kohei spends time on the ocean floor entertaining Ryuuji-sama, a ryū-like god, that he realizes how his family's silence affects him: "stories hated staying untold."

Cohen blends genres effortlessly, and the book's quick plot and concision bely the complexity of its emotional expedition. Isolde, who is half-Japanese and half-Jewish, is newly arrived from America and offers fresh eyes on the scarred, post-war landscape of Japan as well as a cultural antithesis to the stalwart stoicism of Kohei's family. Metaphors between the larger banished dragons and the powers of Imperial Japan will likely elude many middle-graders, but Cohen is careful to show readers Kohei's largely introspective emotional processing, which softens the intensity of both Kohei's parental loss and generational trauma. Japanese is incorporated throughout the text, and an author's note addresses the choice of diacritic marks for transliterations.

Cohen's novel is a thought-provoking, magical middle-grade journey that explores sacrifices, faith in allies and the resilient hopefulness of a child. --Kit Ballenger, youth librarian, Help Your Shelf

Shelf Talker: A boy, his new friend and their dragons travel across Japan in search of a giant dragon they believe may heal his grandfather in this hopeful and stirring middle-grade debut.


The Bestsellers

Libro.fm Bestsellers in April

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstores during April:

Fiction
1. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich (HarperAudio)
2. Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan (HarperAudio)
3. How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (HarperAudio)
4. The Overstory by Richard Powers (Recorded Books)
5. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (HarperAudio)
7. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (Recorded Books)
8. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (HarperAudio)
10. The Mothers by Brit Bennett (Penguin Random House Audio)

Nonfiction
1. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Tantor Media)
2. Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Hello, Molly! by Molly Shannon and Sean Wilsey (HarperAudio)
6. Bittersweet by Susan Cain (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Atomic Habits by James Clear (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Taste by Stanley Tucci (Simon & Schuster Audio)
9. These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (HarperAudio)
10. How to Be Perfect by Michael Schur (Simon & Schuster Audio)


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