Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 27, 2022

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Tender Beasts by Liselle Sambury

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Quotation of the Day

'A Place to Be You, to Be Sad, to Gather, to Discuss, to Find Strength'

"We know right now is a scary and sad time for women, for the LGBT+ community, for trans and non-binary folks. We want you to know that Main Street Books is a place to be you, to be sad, to gather, to discuss, to find strength. We look to authors with wisdom and courage, who never gave up hope and determination. We at Main Street Books are determined to support you."

Holiday House: The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith by Tom Llewellyn; The Selkie's Daughter by Linda Crotta Brennan


After 'Security Incident,' Macmillan Closes, Will Not Process Orders

Just before our publication deadline this morning, Macmillan sent a notice to customers saying that because of "a security incident" on Saturday that involved its servers and internal system, the company has closed offices today, Monday, June 27, in order to continue its investigation and to rebuild "a secure working environment." As a result, Macmillan is currently not able to process, receive, place or ship orders. The company added that it will keep customers posted.

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

In-Person ALA Annual Conference Returns

On Thursday, June 23, the American Library Association kicked off its first in-person conference since January of 2020. ALA President Patricia "Patty" Wong opened the Washington, D.C., event and show floor with a conversation with FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

The weekend's events included more book signings, galley giveaways, sessions and meetings for librarians and a party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the John Newbery Medal. At the anniversary party, children's book historian Leonard Marcus spoke about the 100 years' worth of Newbery Medal winning books. Author Steve Sheinkin and librarian Stacey Rattner held a live, in-person, Newbery version of their YouTube game show, Author-Fan Face-Off, in which fans compete against authors to see who knows the book better: the fan or the person who wrote the book.

Children's book historian, author and critic Leonard Marcus spoke to the assembled Newbery 100 crowd about 100 years of Newbery-winning books.  

Librarian and author John Schu (far left) competed in Steve Sheinkin and Stacey Rattner's (center) Newbery Author-Fan Face-Off against Christina Soontornvat (right) about her 2021 Newbery Honor book A Wish in the Dark (Candlewick). 2018 Newbery medal-winner Erin Entrada Kelly (Hello, Universe) kept score at the far right.

Fifteen Newbery Medalists and Honorees attended the Newbery 100 event to both celebrate the anniversary and defend their knowledge of their own books.

Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, signed Poison for Breakfast (Liveright). Handler awards the annual Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, consisting off $10,000 "along with an odd, symbolic object from Snicket's private stash, and a certificate."

Little District Books Opens in D.C.

Little District Books, a 300-square-foot bookstore with a focus on LGBTQ+ authors and stories, has officially opened in Washington, D.C. The store is located in D.C.'s Barracks Row Main Street, which is home to a number of other queer-owned businesses.

"I wanted to create the bookstore I needed when I was younger," said owner Patrick Kern. He noted that many general-interest bookstores will carry a few titles by authors like T.J. Klune or V.E. Schwab, but those authors "have large catalogs of great stories most people don't know about."

He hopes to carry as many of those titles as he can, and before long he plans to expand the store by another 500 square feet, when he converts a storage area into additional selling space. Kern has already started hosting events in partnership with a nearby queer cafe and bar called As You Are, and he has more events in the planning stage.

The store is currently open five days per week, and he will launch the bookstore's online shop in July.

International Update: Indigenous-focused Book Sales in Canada; Q&A with India's Crossword Bookstores CEO 

BookNet Canada shared some of its research on Indigenous-focused BISAC subjects, how they are being used by Indigenous publishers, as well as the interest of Canadian readers in Indigenous-related topics, cautioning that "classifying titles by Indigenous contributors and about Indigenous topics can be complicated."

As of 2021, BiblioShare has records for more than 10,000 ISBNs with Indigenous-focused BISAC codes in the Canadian book market:

  • 15% of these titles have an Indigenous-focused BISAC code as a main subject.
  • 90% of these titles have an Indigenous-focused BISAC code as a supplementary category.
  • Between these two groups, 5% of titles have an Indigenous-focused BISAC code as both main subject and supplementary category.

Over the last decade, sales for titles with an Indigenous-focused BISAC code as main subject have increased 527%. For titles with an Indigenous-focused BISAC code as supplementary category, sales have gone up 604% over the last 10 years.

With an increase in the sales of titles with Indigenous-focused BISAC codes and in titles published by Indigenous publishers, Canadians are more and more interested in titles by and about Indigenous topics than ever before, BookNet noted. According to the Canadian Book Consumer Study 2021, in the second half of 2021:

  • 6% of Canadian book buyers searched for books about Indigenous peoples
  • 5% of Canadian book buyers searched for books by Indigenous authors or illustrators.

The readership of these titles also seems to be increasing. Booknet Canada's Canadian Leisure and Reading Study 2021 reported that 19% of Canadian readers had read books by or about Black, Indigenous, or people of color--up 9% from 2020. 


Indian chain Crossword Bookstores, which operates more than 80 stores nationwide, "is back with new owners, new stores and a book-first ethos," Outlook India magazine reported in its q&a with company CEO Aakash Gupta. Among the highlights:

In what ways are you going to emphasize your focus on children's books?
The way we design our stores is the first step towards letting our customers know that kids are a big focus area. We have just launched a new store in one of India's most premium destinations--Palladium Lower Parel--where we have designed a store with focus on kids. The whole store design revolves around giving the kids their own space & experience which inspires them to read, play & have fun doing it. We intend to collaborate with small publishers as well as independent authors to curate new books and experiences for children, while retaining the classics. Within six months to a year, our vision is to present a very different Crossword; we are re-working  our e-commerce strategies to make more viable offerings to our customers. In this category, we must be the final word. 

Any other insights?
We were the single biggest franchise in the Crossword Bookstores network before we finally acquired the brand and company from Shoppers Stop in 2021. Our vast experience in bookselling has given us a strong backend and supply chain capability. We have consciously decided that we will be a books-first enterprise, which was missing when the brand was run by the previous parent company. Within just 9 months, we have set up 21 new stores. Our tally currently is 85 stores across the country. We want to be seen as experts when it comes to the book market in India and in terms of pure operations and economics we will draw on our 30 years' experience with books.


Lam Wing-kee

For Lam Wing-kee, a former Hong Kong bookstore owner "who was detained by police in China for five months for selling sensitive books about the Communist Party, coming to Taiwan was a logical step.... It offered the freedoms that many Hong Kongers were used to and saw disappearing in their hometown," the Associated Press reported in an article headlined "Hong Kongers reflect on Taiwan, an imperfect exile."

Lam's move to Taiwan in 2019, where he reopened Causeway Bay Books in Taipei, "presaged a wave of emigration from Hong Kong as the former British colony came under the tighter grip of China's central government and its long-ruling Communist Party," the AP noted.

"It's not that Hong Kong doesn't have any democracy, it doesn't even have any freedom," Lam said. "When the English were ruling Hong Kong, they didn't give us true democracy or the power to vote, but the British gave Hong Kongers a very large space to be free."

Taiwan gives the activists a chance to continue to carry out their work, "even if the direct actions of the past were no longer possible," the AP wrote. Lam said: "As a Hong Konger, I actually haven't stopped my resistance. I have always continued to do what I needed to do in Taiwan, and participated in my events. I have not given up fighting." --Robert Gray

HarperCollins's Clarion Books Launching New Imprint, Allida

HarperCollins Children's Books is launching Allida, a new imprint at Clarion Books headed by YA author Linda Sue Park and Clarion Books v-p and editorial director Anne Hoppe. Named for the Korean word that means to inform, announce, or make known, Allida will publish books for children and teens that "encourage marginalized writers and artists to explore the stories they are most passionate about and to craft narratives that defy expectations."

The first title from Allida, to be published in March 2023, is You Are Here: Connecting Flights, a middle-grade exploration of contemporary Asian American identity told through interwoven stories set in a busy Chicago airport, written by 12 East and Southeast Asian American authors, and edited by We Need Diverse Books co-founder Ellen Oh. In the book, an incident at a security checkpoint sows chaos and rumors, creating a chain of events that affects 12 young Asian Americans at the airport. The interconnected stories are written by Traci Chee, Mike Chen, Meredith Ireland, Mike Jung, Erin Entrada Kelly, Minh Lê, Grace Lin, Ellen Oh, Linda Sue Park, Randy Ribay, Christina Soontornvat and Susan Tan. The authors will collectively make a donation of $5,000 to, which HarperCollins Children's Books will match.

Other planned titles are two debuts: An Impossible Thing to Say, a YA novel-in-verse by playwright and rapper Arya Shahi that explores ties between identity and language as an Iranian American teenager comes of age against a backdrop of 9/11, and Secrets, a middle-grade graphic novel from Cindy Chang, in which a Taiwanese American sixth grader contends with family secrets while striving to find her voice as an artist.

Linda Sue Park won the Newbery Medal for A Single Shard, and her A Long Walk to Water has some more than three million copies. HarperCollins said that Allida's emphasis on creator-led stories mirrors Park's own journey as an author. "Over a 20-year-plus career, she has written picture books, novels, poetry, and prose, in contemporary, historical, and fantasy settings. Her protagonists often share her Korean American ethnicity, but not always, and her focus has been to write on subjects about which she cares deeply. The resulting books have consistently earned critical acclaim and commercial success, and are fiercely adored by readers."

Park commented: "I want Allida to be creator-centered, because I feel strongly that when artists are supported in making work from their deepest passions, kids get better books. Stories and voices that come from outside the dominant culture are essential for giving young readers a richer understanding of our shared and complex world. With Allida, we have the exhilarating opportunity to build on the hard-won inclusion work of past visionaries by freeing artists from any content expectations other than good writing and great stories."

Hoppe commented: "A seminal force in children's books, Linda Sue has been called everything from an icon to an institution, and working with her is a consistent honor, inspiration, and joy. An acknowledged champion of fellow authors, Linda Sue's vision extends to increasing equity and inclusion on both sides of the publishing desk, and I am excited to partner with her at Allida to work with creators and colleagues who contribute a diverse range of experiences and perspectives. Especially at this time, as exciting gains in inclusive representation are challenged by fierce backlash, dedicated efforts to nurture and promote voices that have traditionally been marginalized or pigeonholed are vital."

Ci10: Managing 'Post'-pandemic Stress, Burnout and Other Mental Health Issues

Faith Harper

At the 10th Children's Institute, Faith Harper, author of Unf*ck Your Brain (Microcosm Publishing) and "bad-ass, funny lady with a PhD" led a session for booksellers about mental health and self-care.

"I'm not here to sell my books," Harper began, "I'm here to talk about the past two and a half years that we're not even done with yet." Harper said the ABA asked her to do a session that would focus on actual measures bookstore owners and staff (as well as just about everyone) can take to improve their current emotional and mental health. "My job," Harper said, is to "give you something practical that you can utilize in your everyday life and work because punching people is wrong. Unless you're in Texas."

A PowerPoint accompanied Harper's talk and the first slide broke the matter at hand down to its most specific definition: Stress is physiological. Stress is "how our body responds to life events with the appropriate output of resources." Basically, Harper said, referring back to the work of Kelly McGonigal in The Upside of Stress, "Things are stressful to us because they matter to us."

Burnout, Harper told the crowd, isn't simply one thing. The first stage of burnout is emotional exhaustion. This is "being emotionally overextended and depleted; overloaded and in conflict with everyone around us." This is the "individual stress" dimension of burnout. The second is cynicism: "When our responses to those around us become detached, cynical or negative. It develops a buffer against the constant experience of emotional exhaustion." Harper calls this the "interpersonal dimension." The final stage is reduced personal accomplishment: "This is our sense of not being as competent or accomplished in our tasks." Harper calls this the "self-evaluation dimension."

And so, Harper asked, what is the opposite of burnout? The answer is engagement, which looks like high energy, strong involvement and a sense of efficacy. Sure, she said, resilience training can be useful in helping individuals power through the low energy, cynicism, disinterest and lack of motivation. But that, Harper said, is where we need to rip the system apart. Because requiring individuals to do everything they can to simply become resilient in the face of very real problems puts the responsibility squarely on the person who is suffering with burnout.

What groups and individuals can do, Harper said, is heal burnout in connection. According to her research, experience and teaching, there are six relational domains of prevention and healing burnout: workload sustainability, control/autonomy, recognition/rewards, community/belonging, fairness/equity, values/ideals/motivation. The six domains together add up to engagement. Here, Harper pointed out, bookstore owners have a lot of room to help their staff: they can manage workloads; connect with employees to make sure they are being heard, recognized and rewarded; and make sure their workplace feels like a community with shared--or at least politely tolerated--values.

Harper gave out a few more excellent suggestions during the question/answer the q&a. One bookseller asked how to handle news burnout when customers come in and want to talk about the big news item of the day--even though it is the first time the customer is discussing the topic, the booksellers may have been forced to discuss it all day. Harper said to be "politely vague"--"Yeah, that's a lot." Period. End of sentence. Her husband, she said, "does 'blank stare don't care.' " A bookstore owner said they were excited to implement the six relational domains for their staff but asked how they could personally take Harper's ideas to help their own burnout. While it's harder for the owners and managers of the stores, Harper said there is still plenty they can do to fight their own burnout, starting with their own workload sustainability. Do they really need to go into work seven days a week? Does the events manager actually need them helping at the event? Certainly, owners may feel guilty taking steps back from day-to-day work, but through this process of creating engagement, they should, hopefully, feel confident in their staff--which will ultimately allow them to create a more comfortable and healthy work sustainability for themselves. There is also joy in working to build community, in making sure the business one owns is fair and equal, in rewarding staff for being their excellent selves. And there is absolutely nothing stopping owners from also rewarding themselves for being excellent. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness


Image of the Day: Toya Wolfe at the Bookstall

The Book Stall, Winnetka, Ill., hosted author Toya Wolfe for her debut novel, Last Summer on State Street (Morrow). Wolfe was in conversation with author Kathleen Rooney. Pictured: (l.-r.) bookseller Elizabeth Hubbard, owner Stephanie Hochschild, events coordinator Robert McDonald, Toya Wolfe and Kathleen Rooney.


Bookstore Displays: 'THIS Is How We’re Feeling at the Bookstore Today'

At Books on Main.

Many independent bookstores quickly created displays as part of the widespread protests against the U.S. Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade on Friday, including:

Whitelam Books, Reading, Mass.: "THIS is how we’re feeling at the bookstore today. People often turn to books, and our store, as a place to process grief, loss, and sometimes rage.  If you need a refuge today, we are happy to provide it."

Books on Main, Murphy, Calif.: "Nice work Brenna! Loved coming in to work and seeing this on the windows."

Wicked Good Books, Salem, Mass.: "Our front window display today."

Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass.: "Bodies on the Line. The Handmaid's Tale. The Testaments. Octavia Butler. Definite mood."

Happy 95th Birthday, Strand Book Store!

Congratulations to the Strand Book Store, New York, N.Y., which celebrated its 95th anniversary on Saturday by opening a coffee shop that features the Brooklyn Roasting Company. "Strand Day" also included "fun, goodies & giveaways" at the Strand's flagship and Upper West Side locations and discounts online.

Strand COO Laura Ravo said, "Bringing coffee to our customers has been a long-time dream for the Strand. When we made the decision to add it to our store, we sought to bring customers the most authentic coffee experience and Brooklyn Roasting Company fit that vision perfectly. Furthermore, Brooklyn Roasting Company shares many of the Strand's principles. They deliver a quality product, care about the New York and provide excellent customer service; while giving back through conscientious charitable contributions to further the arts, literature and music in our city."

Jim Munson, Brooklyn Roasting Company founder and CEO, said, "I've enjoyed drinking coffee and reading books for most of my life. It only makes sense to embrace a partnership between the coffee company I've built and my favorite New York City independent bookseller, the Strand. Both coffee and books feed the life of the mind, and the lives of so many thoughtful New Yorkers. Our sustainably-sourced coffees mirror the Strand's customer base with a wide range of rich and diverse flavor palettes, presented to customers unpretentiously."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: R.L. Stine on the Today Show

Today Show: R.L. Stine on the 30th anniversary of the publication of the first Goosebumps book.

CBS Mornings: Jenny Han, author of The Summer I Turned Pretty (S&S Books for Young Readers, $11.99, 9781665922074).

Good Morning America: Don Dahler, author of Fearless: Harriet Quimby, A Life Without Limit (Princeton Architectural Press, $29.95, 9781648960352).

Good Morning America: Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie Arnett, authors of Hattie Harmony: Worry Detective (Viking Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780593351444).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks (Doubleday, $30, 9780385548519).

TV: Snow

New details have emerged regarding the Game of Thrones sequel series in development that's centered on Jon Snow, who was played by Kit Harington. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "saga creator George R.R. Martin and Thrones stars Emilia Clarke and Gwendoline Christie all weighed in on the project," with Martin revealing the working title is Snow.

Clarke noted in an interview with the BBC that Harington is deeply involved with the project: "He has told me about it... It's been created by Kit as far as I can understand, so he's in it from the ground up. So what you will be watching, hopefully, if it happens, is certified by Kit Harington."

Noting that there are four live-action GOT successor shows in development at HBO, Martin wrote on his blog: "Snow has been in development almost as long as the other three, but for whatever reason it was never announced and it never leaked... until now. But, yes, it is true.... There's not much more I can tell you, not until HBO gives me a green light.

"It seems as though Emilia Clarke has already mentioned that Snow was Kit's idea in a recent interview. So that part is out. Yes, it was Kit Harington who brought the idea to us. I cannot tell you the names of the writers/showrunners, since that has not been cleared for release yet... but Kit brought them in too, his own team, and they are terrific.

"Various rumors are floating around about my involvement, or lack of same. I am involved, just as I am with The Hedge Knight and The Sea Snake and Ten Thousand Ships, and all the animated shows. Kit's team have visited me here in Santa Fe and worked with me and my own team of brilliant, talented writer/consultants to hammer out the show.... Please note: nothing has been green lit yet, and there is no guarantee when or if it will be... on any of these shows. The likelihood of all four series getting on the air… well, I'd love it, but that's not the way it works, usually."

Answering the perennial question, Martin added: "Yes, Winds of Winter. No, have not forgotten. I was back with Tyrion this past week."

Books & Authors

Awards: Firecracker Winners

The winners of the 2022 Firecracker Awards, sponsored by the Community of Literary Magazines & Presses and honoring "the best independently published books of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry and the best literary magazines in the categories of debut and general excellence," are:

Fiction: Pleasantview by Celeste Mohammed (Ig Publishing)
Creative Nonfiction: Plastic: An Autobiography by Allison Cobb (Nightboat Books)
Poetry: book of the other: small in comparison by Truong Tran (Kaya Press)
Magazines/Best Debut: Sistories
Magazines/General Excellence: Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora

Book Review

Review: Haven

Haven by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown, $28 hardcover, 272p., 9780316413930, August 23, 2022)

In Emma Donoghue's deliciously claustrophobic 12th novel, Haven, three seventh-century monks set sail for an island off the coast of Ireland. Their project of founding a new monastery will be beset by scarcity, personality clashes and everyday disasters.

Artt has a dream, "an instruction to withdraw from the world. To set out on pilgrimage with two companions… and found a monastic retreat." He chooses 19-year-old Trian and Cormac, an older man. This shabby trinity leaves the monastery in a small boat packed with meager supplies. A fraught journey delivers them to the Great Skellig, a craggy island where their days are marked by privation and repetitious tasks. A dropped bag of flour or an infected leg wound could mean the difference between life and death. Although the rituals of daily prayer and weekly Communion, and the recounting of legends, feed the soul, the body is another matter: "Hunger is a constant argument."

The Great Skellig, previously unvisited by humankind, seems like a kingdom of seabirds. The novel is saturated with the sight and sound of thousands of birds. Covid-19 prevented Donoghue from visiting the island in person (which she reveals to be Skellig Michael in an author's note), but her research into similar religious quests and deep knowledge of the region's flora and fauna fuel vivid scenes. The encounters with great auks are particularly striking. Artt kills one of the flightless birds as a sacrifice, and various species provide food, quill pens, ink and cooking oil.

Donoghue (The Wonder; Frog Music) excels at creating isolated atmospheres and examining the dynamic of small casts of characters--as in Room or The Pull of the Stars. Here, the island is a microcosm where conflicts flare. Artt is a harsh, single-minded leader. Cormac is practical, planting a garden and digging a cistern. Trian is a free spirit, given to fashioning instruments or doodling in the margins of the Psalter they're copying. Artt, despising difference, quashes Trian's creativity. There is a fundamental difference of opinion about resources, with Artt declaring all of nature as being for human benefit and Trian replying, "We shouldn't take more than we need, though, surely Father?" Knowledge of the great auk's future extinction reinforces a subtle environmentalist message.

Haven may be just one letter away from heaven, but this island community looks less like either and more like a prison as time goes on. A powerful study of religious obsession and confinement, this is one for readers of Matrix and To Paradise. --Rebecca Foster, freelance reviewer, proofreader and blogger at Bookish Beck

Shelf Talker: Emma Donoghue's 12th novel is an intense character study of three seventh-century monks who found a monastery on a remote Irish island.

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