Kids' Indie Next display. Why? For one thing, the books are awesome. For another, we have three recommendations among the bunch.
The Kids' Indie Next List functions slightly differently from the adult one, mostly in that it has more books on each list, but comes out four times a year. The adult list doesn't separate books out by category, partly because there would be a whole mess of general fiction and trickles of backlist and genre fiction, but the kids' list does try to at least divide the books up by reading level, with slightly less divisions than we have, working with picture book/board book, middle grade, and teen. For those books that are recommended for 6-10 or 10-14, straddling two categories, I think there is a coin toss. Oh, and instead of one top pick, there are ten and these are across all categories.
The number one pick this go round is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (Candlewick), by Leslye Walton. Melissa Fox from Watermark books and Cafe writes “Ava Lavender knew she wasn’t going to have an ordinary life. She would have loved to be a normal 1950s teenager but her heritage — of love, loss, and magic — and her speckled wings prevented that. Walton’s eloquent tale of a girl trying to fit in and a family trying to understand their fate has the feel of classics such as Like Water for Chocolate and Chocolat. This is a book that’s timeless, beautiful, and perfect for lovers of magical realism.”
Hannah and I came across The Noisy Paintbox when we were looking for regional authors who might be interested in visited area schools. When we approached the rep and got an extra copy of the book, Jannis took it home and became a big fan. Ms. Rosenstock visited a school this week and everyone had a great time, and I hope she'll return to Milwaukee for a public event at the art museum, during their big Kandinsky exhibit this summer.
Here's Boswellian Jannis Mindel's rec for The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art (Knopf BFYR), by Barb Rosenstock, with illustrations Mary GrandPré. “Wasily Kandinsky is considered one of the first abstract painters of the 20th century. Before he achieved fame as a painter, Kandinsky was a boy who loved to paint the colors he heard in his head. Although he loved to paint, he followed a career into law, but the sounds of the colors never left. Kandinsky left the law and followed his dream as a painter and eventually joined the Bauhaus and formed the Blue Rider group of painters. Rosenstock’s language and GrandPré’s illustrations bring Kandinsky’s story to life with gorgeous sweeps of words and colors.”
We had several recs for Sheila Turnage's follow up for Three Times Lucky, but it's justice that Hannah got the shout out when the day was done. After all, she really took our love for that book to a higher level,recommending that book not just to adults, but also kids. Heck, my mother read it! Those very strong sales led to a tour stop for Ms. Turnage on her recent swing through the country.
Here's Boswellian Hannah Johnson-Breimeier's official recommendation of The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing (Kathy Dawson Books), by Sheila Turnage. “In this sequel to Newbery Honor Book Three Times Lucky, rising sixth-graders Mo LeBeau and her best friend, Dale, are back in action with a new mystery to solve for the Desperado Detective Agency. When the old, decrepit inn in Tupelo Landing goes up for sale and Miss Lana accidentally buys it in an auction, the unread fine print indicates a ghost is in residence. As Mo and Dale set out to find out just who this ghost is, they captivate readers once again in a new adventure.”
We of course write in play of recommendations for books that turn out not to be events, though it's always nice to get behind an event book, as we have to do a good job hand-selling it to bring folks into the store for the event. One nice thing about picture books is you don't have to go home and read it, whether for a night (intermediate), two (teen novel), three (perhaps a mystery or short stories) or ten (epic fantasy) or twenty (densely layered literary novel where Daniel can't keep track of the characters and stops reading when something awful happens. That's why several reps often surrender their sample bag to booksellers for the day; you never know what new love will come from that.
That's how Boswellian Jen Steele came to Have You Seen my Dragon? (Candlewick), which is written and illustrated by Steve Light. She wrote "This picture book has it all. A boy and his dragon! Beautiful splashes of color among black-and-white pages! Hidden pictures! Different items to count on each page! Follow along and help find the lost dragon in this tale that is great fun for everyone!” Candlewick has been hot on this book--it was the cover of their spring catalog (yes, some publishers still have physical catalogs) and their was also a much-ogled tote bag. I should note that Jen was not the only Boswellian to write a rec for this one.
There are plenty more recommendations for great kids' books on the Indie Next list, including one for John Corey Whaley's Noggin (Atheneum), who will be visiting Boswell along with Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds on April 30 for our Gentleman's Tour Pizza Party. Here's the recommendation from Rosemary Pugliese at Quail Ridge Books and Gifts in Raleigh. “Travis has lost his girlfriend, his best friend, and five years of his life. That’s what returning from the dead can do to you. Thanks to science, the decapitated head of a teen near death has been attached to a ‘healthy’ cadaver. Travis is back and determined to restore his life as it was, to the beyond-belief joy of his parents, the horror of many, and the same miserable high school teacher! A heads up: Travis tackles weighty issues with a lot more humor than you might expect.”
More on Noggin soon, as I read it too. But for now, check out more of the Indie Next Kids' Books, either on the Indie Bound website, or at Boswell on our table display.