Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Flatiron Books: White Horse by Erika T. Wurth

Holiday House: Owl and Penguin (I Like to Read Comics) by Vikram Madan; Noodleheads Take it Easy by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

Blackstone Publishing: Ezra Exposed by Amy E. Feldman

Clavis: Fall Preview

Amulet Books: Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party (Marya Khan #1) by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Ani Bushry

Charlesbridge Publishing: Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom; Brand-New Bubbe by Sarah Aronson, illustrated by Ariel Landy

Shadow Mountain: To Capture His Heart (Proper Romance Victorian) by Nancy Campbell Allen

News

Parthenon Books Opens in Syracuse, N.Y.

Parthenon Books, Syracuse, N.Y., held its grand opening on Saturday. Syracuse.com reported that the store offers more than 10,000 items for sale, including titles by Central New York State authors, and cards and art prints by local artists, according to Syracuse.com. Parthenon also serves coffee, cookies and other backed goods from local companies. The opening was delayed by several months because of "national supply chain issues and the labor shortage."

The store is owned by Acropolis Realty Group owner Steve Case and developer Ryan Benz. Case said, "A big part of what we do is revitalizing downtown. A bookstore may or may not make any money. But at the end of the day, we're adding value to the building and to the neighborhood. We're very bullish on downtown. We think the momentum's gonna keep going."

Manager Selena Giampa, who once worked at Borders, said, "A bookstore is the kind of place that can really draw a community together, especially an independent bookstore. Every other city has a great main street, right? They've taken their old buildings and revitalized them.... I want to bring Main Street back to Syracuse and a bookstore is a huge part of that."

Assistant manager Charlie Murphy, who previously worked at Barnes & Noble, said, "We're book people. We always wondered, 'Why isn't there a local, independent bookstore downtown?' We're a big city. For us to bring all our knowledge together to make the supreme bookstore? It's super exciting for all of us."


University of California Press: Dictee (Second Edition, Reissue, Restored);  Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works (First Edition, Reissue) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha


Grand Re-opening for Aframerican Bookstore in Omaha

Aframerican Bookstore, Omaha, Neb., hosted a grand re-opening of its physical location last Saturday, greeting the public for the first time since the start of the pandemic. KETV reported that the bookshop, which has been around since 1990, closed when Covid-19 first hit, and "with the passing of the bookstore's owner, Marshall Taylor, the shop stayed that way--until now... with Taylor's wife, Annette, at the helm."

Taylor said it is important to continue her husband's legacy and to provide the community with information: "What we provide is knowledge, and that's the scholar," she said, pointing to a photo of her late husband. "They'll still get the knowledge, they won't get it from the scholar. So anybody who's gotten the knowledge from him, hold onto it and pass it along, because I don't have what he had. I have it, but [he's] my giant."


Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays


TikTok, B&N Partner for #BookTokChallenge

TikTok and Barnes & Noble have launched the #BookTokChallenge, a partnership aimed at driving customers to a new, dedicated #booktok hub on TikTok and to B&N's online and physical stores. From today, June 29, to August 31, readers will be encouraged to discover and read new books and authors and then share their reactions on TikTok with the hashtag #BookTokChallenge. 

B&N will roll out QR codes in-store that will take readers to the #booktok hub. The hub will be accessible in-app, and a number of well-known BookTok creators will be involved with the partnership as well.

"The #BookTok community has been such a driving medium in discovering favorite paperbacks and bringing worthy titles back to the forefront of customers' minds," said Michele Laikowski, B&N's head of social media. "Helping more readers enjoy good books is key to Barnes & Noble's purpose, and when you pair our local bookseller recommendations with #BookTok recommended reads, any reader can consider their summer plans booked."


Graphic Mundi - Psu Press: Hakim's Odyssey by Fabien Toulme and Hanna Chute


The 100th Newbery Medal, Caldecott & Legacy Banquet

The 100th Newbery Caldecott Legacy Awards banquet, held Sunday evening, June 26, 2022, in Washington D.C., was filled to capacity. The fact that this was the first such banquet to be held since June 2019, combined with the centennial celebration, contributed to high spirits and excitement all around. Librarians cheered for their favorites as a montage of 100 years of Newbery Award and Honor book covers, with audio clips from many of the creators, played on large screens flanking the dais.

Jason Chin

First to deliver his acceptance speech was Jason Chin, Caldecott Medalist for Watercress (Neal Porter/Holiday House), written by Andrea Wang, who received a Newbery Honor for her text. He called the 2022 Caldecott Medal "the honor of a lifetime," particularly being able to accept it in person. He asked the audience to applaud the two winners who did not have the opportunity to celebrate in person: Michaela Goode, the 2021 Caldecott Medal-winning artist of We Are the Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; and 2020 Caldecott Medalist Kadir Nelson, for The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander (who was awarded a Newbery Honor for the text).

Chin recalled how, as a second-grader, his favorite thing was doodling and drawing dragons and knights in shining armor. His family had just moved to New Hampshire, and drawing afforded him an escape. One day, an artist visited his classroom; she had won a Caldecott Medal for drawing dragons and knights in shining armor. The book was Saint George and the Dragon, and the artist was Trina Schart Hyman. "Here was a woman who was famous for doing the thing that I loved," Chin recalled. "It was a ringing endorsement of the value of art and artists."

That day, the seeds were planted for a lifelong friendship. In high school, Chin called Hyman and asked if she'd be willing to look at his art; she said yes. He visited her every few months and joined her Monday painting group when he was home from college. "She lived in her stories," Chin said. "She knew her characters' histories, secrets and passions. In a sense, she became her characters." In college, Chin read an essay by Simon Leys that said, "Nothing should come between the painter and what he observes." Chin felt he was pointed toward a "universal truth: to breathe life into your art, become one with what you are painting."

"This idea came to the fore in Watercress," he said. "I was impressed by the layers of emotion Andrea [Wang] had packed into this spare text." Watercress centers on a child of immigrant parents who is mortified when they stop their car at a roadside ditch to pick "weeds"--until she comes to understand the reason. Wang and Chin discussed their shared heritage, and Chin's ideas of how to represent her text began to take shape visually. Chin spoke to his father who confided that he, too, had been embarrassed by the food his family ate; and Chin plumbed his own similar memories, as well as the times he felt "ashamed of being ashamed."

Chin finished the art at the end of March 2020 just after the country went into Covid-19 lockdown. While he was painting, he focused on the emotional lives of the characters, their grief and shame and loneliness. Editor Neal Porter told Chin that "the story had hope in it," but Chin was having trouble seeing it. Then children began writing to Wang, including one child in the second grade who called it "a life lessons book: be happy with what you have, be proud of who you are." Chin said that those who wish to ban books "believe there is only one American story, or at least a correct American story." He thanked the librarians who, "by protecting our First Amendment rights, [make] it possible for us to continue sharing the stories that connect us, build bridges and strengthen community."

Donna Barba Higuera

2022 Newbery Medalist Donna Barba Higuera declared, "I lied by fabrication, and I was a bold-faced liar." At the age of five, she told her family that alien ships had landed in their front lawn, her version of the tale growing with each telling. But Higuera turned the act of lying--a "sin" in the eyes of her Sunday school teacher--from a fault to a virtue in service of storytelling, in her Newbery-winning novel The Last Cuentista (Levine Querido). Her lavender-haired next-door neighbor would serve up pickled okra and stories on her porch each day, and each night Higuera's father told her a bedtime story, wild adventures and fantasies of traveling through portals like a bathtub drain or electrical outlet. And then Higuera discovered there were others like her: writers of books who "were doing what I was doing, making stuff up. Did they think they were going to hell, too? If so, would hell be so bad?"

Like Petra, the heroine of her novel, Higuera also had a grandmother who was a storyteller, but instead of Petra having spaceships land on her family's front lawn, Petra and her family were leaving Earth in a spaceship--in order to survive. "If you were leaving Earth and could take one thing along what would that be?" asked Higuera. "For me, that is story."

"The word cuentista means storyteller," Higuera explained, "But as words are often nuanced, the connotation for cuentista is that this particular storyteller might not be the most reliable of narrators." The idea of a world without story, Higuera said, "is not only terrifying, it is the thing that frightens us most." In fact, she thinks that "much of what is happening with erasure of books now is based in fear." Like Chin, Higuera thanked librarians for their courage in placing stories in the hands of children and defending them from erasure.

Grace Lin

Grace Lin, after receiving the call that she had won the 2022 Children's Literature Legacy Award, remembers being seized by a case of imposter syndrome. It touched off a story her mother had told her long ago, of moving to the U.S. and struggling financially. Their first New York City apartment was "small, dark and grimy," and no amount of scrubbing seemed to help. At night, small bugs came out, "the stuff of nightmares and horror movies," and each place they moved, the bugs followed. When they could afford a house in the country, Lin's mother hung out all of their belongings for days, "for all the world to see," to get rid of the bugs.

Lin compared these bugs to her thoughts contributing to imposter syndrome. She spoke of the more persistent bugs, yet also offered an antidote to each. Interspersed with these disclosures, Lin paused to ask audience members to follow three directions on the development of a simple drawing.

To those who disparage the work of creating children's books ("When are you going to write an adult book?"), Lin countered, "We are the ones who are actively advocating what we as a society value." There are those who would not see the Asian American community as comprised of individual human beings; Lin has spent the past 24 years showing that "Asians are not 'other.' That Asians are people who have best friends and families... myths and delicacies and jokes and love," she said. And there are those who would try to obstruct the work of educators and librarians, and to them she said, "You are true essential workers--you are essential workers of the spirit."

The last three steps of the drawing Lin led the audience through revealed a firefly:  "When others will only see us as bugs, let's show them that we are fireflies. That is our legacy. When humanity is ugly and dark, it is our lights that will remind the world that humanity can also be beautiful." --Jennifer M. Brown, senior editor, Shelf Awareness


Ebony Magazine Publishing: Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments by Carell Augustus


International Update: 'Going to Work Is... an Act of Courage & Defiance' in Ukraine; Paris Bookshop Saved

Kateryna Nosko

"The war in Ukraine continues and it is difficult to plan anything for longer than a week ahead," Ukrainian publisher Kateryna Nosko wrote in a commentary for the Bookseller (translated by Mariia Tolmachova). "I do not even look at the publishing calendar, which was full of events for the whole of the year from January 2022. In general, the state of affairs in book publishing, as well as our lives, depends on the Armed Forces of Ukraine. If there is good news from the front, we feel inspired to plan further. No good news--and we stop.

"This 'on and off' mode is exhausting, and the war in Ukraine today is aimed at complete exhaustion and depletion. Any manifestation of cultural life, like opening an exhibition or bookstore in Kyiv, conducting a presentation or a stand-up in a bomb shelter, or talking about a book festival, are perceived as emotionally charged events, acts that include a sense of reinvention of a former life....

"Despite all this, the publishing community continues to work, because going to work is not just about the book business, but about a clearly defined mission that is consistently performed every day--an act of courage and defiance every time someone from the publishing team sits down at their desk.... Yes, from day to day, from one event to another, like a pendulum, we move, those for whom the art of publishing books during the war remains important."

--- 

In Paris, the feminist and LGBT+ bookshop Violette and Co. has been saved thanks to a crowdfunding campaign and hopes to reopen in September. Le Monde reported that on February 12, "the adventure had almost come to an end with the retirement of the two founders, Catherine Florian and Christine Lemoine, following 18 years of loyal service. A group of six women in their 20s, from different backgrounds but all loyal customers of the bookshop, decided otherwise. Unable to resign themselves to the closure of this place, 'which means a lot,' they launched a fundraising campaign in March. It ended on June 4 and collected more than €172,000 [about $180,000], allowing the shop to reopen."

"Summing up 18 years in a few words is difficult," the co-founders said of the ownership change. "We think it's great! They show a great appreciation and want the spirit of Violette and Co to carry on. Things will change, of course, but we have faith."

If there is one word that the former owners repeat, it is "transmission," Le Monde wrote. "More than a bookstore, Violette and Co. is a place of memories and sharing, where literary gatherings, exhibitions and creative writing workshops took place." 

Lucile Regourd, one of the new owners, added: "We want to be part of the continuity, but we want to add our own touch. To the logo, for example." And while the inventory will be put together in exactly the same way, it will also be enriched with new works, notably in literature for young readers. "The new premises--which have yet to be found--will have a café area that will create a welcoming atmosphere," Le Monde noted.

---

Bridge Books, Johannesburg, South Africa, shared a photo of the shop's front window display on Facebook, noting: "It turns out you can spell JOYFUL READING having just one of each letter of the alphabet. @comfycre47 Admittedly an anagram solver came in handy after we formed 'reading.' SLOUCHY READING was also a thought...." --Robert Gray


Janet Harris Retires from Workman Publishing

Janet Harris

After 37 years at Workman Publishing, Janet Harris has retired. She was most recently publisher of calendars, and has been succeeded by Page Edmunds.

Harris was hired by Peter Workman in 1985 as gift sales manager, expanding that side of the business by developing merchandising programs selling books, calendars and more to warehouse clubs, Walmart, K-Mart, Sears and Montgomery Ward. Eleven years later she became Workman's first director of all sales, with trade and gift channels reporting to her. In 2000, Harris took on the role of publisher at WP imprint Storey Publishing, a position she held for the next four years.

In 2004, Harris returned to Workman, where she became the first calendar publisher, and, soon thereafter, publisher of Brain Quest, another new position at the company. Among the highlights of her tenure is the partnership she created with the Chrysler brand Town & Country to mark Brain Quest's 20th anniversary. Eventually she focused on just calendars.

Page Edmunds

Harris said, "It has been a privilege to be a part of this marvelous, quirky family that Peter and Carolan Workman created, and to watch this company succeed and grow firsthand. I've been fortunate to have many varied roles that challenged my strengths and creativity, but the greatest pleasure of all has been to work alongside my passionate colleagues, as well as with the buyers who care so much about our business. I will miss the books, calendars--and especially the people--enormously."

Dan Reynolds, senior v-p and publisher of Workman Publishing, commented: "Janet has that special ability to be relentless about elevating all that she works on to a special place. She knows how to create product that is smart and joyful, and it is quite inspiring to watch her sell and communicate that to our accounts and our customers. All of us at Workman are extremely grateful for the legacy she has created and left behind."


Notes

Cool Idea of the Day: Dashwood Books Curates Hotel Library

Dashwood Books, the New York City bookstore specializing in photography and art books, has curated a library at the Mercer Hotel in SoHo. Per Cultured, the library is located in the hotel's lobby and features books selected by store owner David Strettel, who founded Dashwood Books in 2005. The books in the Mercer library are meant to "add to their existing collection so there is a broad range of reference books on the visual arts, but still include enough surprises so that even a casual browser is rewarded with inspiration." The Mercer, located three blocks from Dashwood Books, is a 74-room hotel built in 1890.


Bookseller Cat: RIP Herbert at King's Books

Posted on Instagram by King's Books, Tacoma, Wash.: "Our beloved store cat Herbert passed away unexpectedly June 21. We know so many people loved Herbert (that face! that attitude!), so thank you to everyone who was a part of his life. Join us for a celebration of life at 6 pm June 30 at the store. We'll pay tribute in photos and stories."


'Touring Three Newish Las Vegas Valley Bookstores'

Citing Neil Gaiman's classic bookshop wisdom ("It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore, it knows it's not foolin' a soul."), Las Vegas Weekly wrote that the desert city "passes that test, even though it has seen the seen the closure of several local favorites during the past few years. More favorable times might lie ahead, however, as the Valley has recently welcomed three new bookstores to serve voracious readers." To prove its point, the publication toured "three newish Las Vegas Valley bookstores."


Personnel Changes at Atria Books; Penguin Press

Maudee Genao has been promoted to associate marketing manager at Atria Books.

---

Jessie Stratton has been promoted to marketing coordinator at Penguin Press.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mat Johnson on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Mat Johnson, author of Invisible Things: A Novel (One World, $27, 9780593229255).

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon: Elizabeth Olsen, co-author of Hattie Harmony: Worry Detective (Viking Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9780593351444).

Tomorrow:
Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Ibram X. Kendi, author of Goodnight Racism (Kokila, $18.99, 9780593110515).


Movies: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Jason Schwartzman (There There, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom) is the latest star to join The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel based on the novel by Suzanne Collins. The Hollywood Reporter noted that he will play Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman, "the host of the 10th Hunger Games and ancestor to Caesar Flickerman, who would become the voice of Panem and is played by Stanley Tucci in the original Hunger Games films."

The cast also includes Tom Blyth, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andres Rivera and Rachel Zegler. Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the four Hunger Games movies--Catching Fire, Mockingjay: Part One and Mockingjay: Part Two--is helming the project, with franchise producer Nina Jacobson and her partner Brad Simpson back as producers. Lawrence is also producing. Collins, Tim Palen and Jim Miller exec produce. Michael Lesslie wrote the latest draft of the screenplay.



Books & Authors

Awards: Elizabeth Longford Historical Biography Winner

Andrew Roberts won the £5,000 (US$6,135) Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, which celebrates a work that "combines scholarship and narrative drive," for his book George III: The Life and Reign of Britain's Most Misunderstood Monarch

Chair of judges Roy Foster said, " 'Royal biography' is an often-maligned genre, but Elizabeth Longford showed how it could be done with literary flair, empathy and a magisterial grasp of the temper of the times. Andrew Roberts's George III is firmly in this tradition. He robustly grapples with the key crises of the reign, notably the American Revolution and the French wars, painstakingly tracking the monarch's close control of governmental and political decision-making. But he also makes a powerful case for George's carefully calibrated sense of royal responsibility and its limits. The portrait that emerges is unexpected, sympathetic and tragically shadowed by mental illness--one of the many subjects authoritatively reinterpreted in a book which, while grand in scale, is written with the author's characteristic brio and full of surprises. In a strong and varied field of contenders, the judges awarded the 2022 prize to Roberts's study of 'Britain's most misunderstood monarch' for its combination of archival research, historical acumen, psychological insight and unfailing readability: the keynotes of historical biography as practiced by Elizabeth Longford."


Reading with... Claudia Castro Luna

photo: Tim Aguero

Claudia Castro Luna is an Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate fellow and served as Washington State Poet Laureate and Seattle's inaugural Civic Poet. She is the author of One River, A Thousand Voices, the Pushcart-nominated Killing Marías (also shortlisted for the Washington State 2018 Book Award in poetry) and the chapbook This City (Floating Bridge Press). Her nonfiction is included in There's a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters from a Crisis, edited by Tracy K. Smith and John Freeman (Vintage, 2021). Born in El Salvador, she writes and teaches in English and Spanish and lives in Seattle on unceded Duwamish lands. Her latest collection is Cipota Under the Moon: Poems (Tia Chucha Press, May 20, 2022), a series of poems forming an ode to the Salvadoran immigrant experience in the United States.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Cipota Under the Moon is about the resilience of childhood in the face of war. The book meets hardship and violence with a radical "Yes!" to life.

On your nightstand now:

The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright, edited by Anne Wright. I'm interested of late in the various ways in which authors have corresponded with each other either through letters or by creating works in response to each other's writing such as A Different Distance, the recent poetry collaboration between Marilyn Hacker and Karthika Naïr.

Red Paint by Sasha LaPointe. I live in Seattle on unceded Duwamish lands, and Sasha LaPointe is a local poet and writer. This memoir positions the author's life in relationship to the lives of her female ancestors and to the land to which they belong.

An Apartment in Uranus: Chronicles of the Crossing by Paul B. Preciado. These are short personal vignettes and searing essays on gender normativity and body politics. Preciado writes incisively about their transition, making each page glitter with their fierce intelligence.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Anything by Jules Verne: Around the World in Eighty Days; Journey to the Center of the Earth; Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Growing up in a small town in a small tropical country, everything about Verne's stories fascinated me, from the scientific and mechanical innovations he concocted to the idea that there were places out there utterly different from my immediate reality. Verne's books blew open all the doors and windows of my young imagination.

Your top five authors:

I find these lists always so difficult:

Lucille Clifton, Zora Neale Hurston, Gabriel García Márquez, Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, and the Japanese poet Rengetsu.

Book you've faked reading:

Stendhal's The Red and the Black. I was a French major in college. I read Balzac, Flaubert, Zola, Racine in the original with great interest, but Stendhal, ooh la la! I just could not find my way into this book. This was eons ago, no CliffsNotes that I remember. I navigated class carefully with the little I'd managed to read.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Invisible Cities. I love every book by Italo Calvino that I've read, but I return to this book again and again. I gift it and teach it every year. I love it for its genre-defying nature, for the dream-like quality of the narratives, for its exploration of the limits of language, and for how it gifts us with new ways to think about urban spaces.

Book you've bought for the cover:

All books from the publisher Tara Books. Based in India, Tara specializes in locally printed, handmade books that center narratives and folk tales from communities across India. The books are illustrated by traditional artists and artisans who live in the area where the stories come from. The Night Life of Trees is perhaps my favorite. It is a stunning book. Each page features a gorgeously rendered silk-screened image of a tree, and everything about it--from the richly detailed drawings to the paper quality and ink hues--is a sensual feast.

Book you hid from your parents:

Aztec by Gary Jennings. I was a junior in high school, two years after arriving in the United States from El Salvador. The town's library was not far from our apartment building, and I visited it often. One day, sitting next to a rotating display of paperbacks, the cover of a volume with a Mesoamerican pyramid caught my eye, not least because one of my uncles in El Salvador lived close to the ruins of a Mayan pyramid. The book was my first encounter with historical fiction and its descriptions of life before the conquest, of human sacrifice and sexual encounters held me captive. I feared my parents would disapprove and kept the book hidden until I reached the last page and returned it to the library.

Book that changed your life:

I'd say there are two books that changed my life: a collection of stories by Zora Neale Hurston compiled under the title Spunk, and Anaïs Nin's Little Birds. Thematically and stylistically these books are miles apart, but they ignited my desire to write. I love the heroines in these books and even more, the daring authors who penned them.

Favorite line from a book:

Audre Lorde from her essay "Poetry Is Not a Luxury":

"Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action."

Writing is how I find myself, how I make sense of myself in the world, and how I contribute to the life we all share. This quote, in fact this entire essay, is an endless source of inspiration.

Five books you'll never part with:

Ernesto Cardenal's brilliant anthology Poesía Nicaragüense (Nicaraguan Poetry) signed to me. Ernesto Cardenal was Minister of Culture under the Sandinista government when he surveyed the country and collected poems from all corners of Nicaragua. He managed a fine balance selecting poems from established writers and from others whose verse is pure rawness and beauty. These are poems of place, of celebration, of independence and hope.

Las Venas Abiertas de Latinoamérica (The Open Veins of Latin America) by Eduardo Galeano. My edition is extra special because it belonged to my father and has his markings throughout and his signature on the cover page. This book opened my eyes to the brutality of the Spanish conquest in the Americas. Galeano's beautiful prose paired with his gifts as a researcher makes me angry, fills me with sorrow and inspires me every time I visit its pages.

Death of a Naturalist, the sublime first book of poems by Seamus Heaney. I lived in Ireland in my early 20s, and this book places me there, walking down country lanes and burning peat on late fall evenings in Dublin.

Making Face, Making Soul, edited by Gloria Anzaldúa. I find myself on every page of this book. It has been part of my library for over 35 years. It is battered and dog-eared, and I love it for this reason all the more.

I own several editions, in Spanish and in English, of the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Mayans, and I would not part with a single one.

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

Willa Cather's Death Comes to the Archbishop.

I have read this book more than once, but it has been a few years since my last reread. Maybe this summer. It is the tempo of the book I love. The way the arid American Southwest offers itself on the page under Cather's careful hand.


Book Review

Children's Review: Goblin Market

Goblin Market by Diane Zahler (Holiday House, $17.99 hardcover, 256p., ages 10-14, 9780823450817, August 16, 2022)

Goblin Market is a delightfully imaginative story about the unbreakable bond between two sisters, one who unknowingly falls in love with a goblin, and the other who is driven to save her.

Sisters Lizzie and Minka are extremely close despite being very different: vivacious and outgoing Minka enjoys going into town to sell the family's bread and vegetables; quiet and introspective Lizzie, for whom "each sound [is] a color," prefers to stay near home. One day, when Minka comes home from the market, Lizzie immediately notices that her words are "a little brighter than usual." Apparently Minka met "the handsomest boy," who gave her a "gorgeous" piece of fruit. The next week Minka gives a lock of hair to the boy, Emil, in exchange for more fruit, then develops a fever. By evening, her hair turns gray and falls out. Delirious, Minka begs Lizzie for more fruit.

Lizzie reluctantly agrees to go to town on the next market day. She hopes to find Emil and bring Minka the fruit she desperately craves. But when Lizzie finds Emil, she's disturbed to realize that, unlike everyone else, his words have "no color at all." Soon after, Minka falls into a comatose state. Lizzie goes back to town accompanied by steadfast, cheerful neighbor Jakob. They confront Emil, who tells them he has promised Minka "her heart's desire." But Jakob can't see Minka's suitor, and Lizzie notices flickers of "something quite different standing in his place." Lizzie and Jakob realize that Emil is a zdusze, a forest goblin out of a children's story, and when Minka disappears, the children plunge into the dark Wood to save her. Ultimately, it's only when Lizzie figures out what she has, and the zdusze does not, that she can save her sister. 

Diane Zahler (Baker's Magic) spins a terrifically timeless upper-middle-grade story of sisterly love, goblin magic and overstepped boundaries, inspired by Christina Rossetti's poem "Goblin Market." Her lush language describes a fully realized fairy tale world, wherein Lizzie and Minka's cozy cottage at the edge of the Wood sets off the creepy, menacing realm of the goblins hidden within. Though Minka is the love interest--the author wisely points out and then expunges the blame associated with her victimization--this is Lizzie's story from start to finish. Her indomitable spirit and unusual abilities allow her to shine. Share this book with anyone who loves their stories located in far off lands potentially inhabited by monsters. --Lynn Becker, reviewer, blogger, and children's book author

Shelf Talker: Goblin Market is a splendid, folklore-inspired story of sisterly affection in which one sister falls in love with a goblin and the other must save her.


Powered by: Xtenit