Monthly Archives: March 2010

Starred Reviews So Far, 2010

Elizabeth Bluemle - March 16, 2010

Here’s this year’s first installment of the 2010 children’s books that have received starred reviews from (in alphabetical order) Booklist, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, The Horn BookKirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal.
The list below covers  Booklist through 3/15/2010, the Bulletin through 3/2010, Horn Book through March-April 2010, Kirkus through 3/15/10, PW through 3/15/10, and SLJ through March 2010. I’ll update quarterly.
EDITED TO ADD:  Okay, since you asked for it — I created a LibraryThing collection of these books, with book covers, genre and general age range. The 2010 Starred Review Library is divided into collections (1 Star, 2 Stars, etc.) and can be sorted in a variety of ways including by “tags” (e.g., MG, YA, Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, etc.).
I’m happy to see books from small presses recognized here as well as those from larger houses. In June and December, I’ll add a publisher tally to the update, as well as a count by genre if I get really ambitious.
It’s helpful to us busy booksellers, librarians, and teachers, to be able to scan a list of books have received stars. However, it would be a mistake to seek out only starred books. As usual, I want to add that hundreds, if not thousands, of wonderful books are published every year that don’t receive starred reviews but are wonderful, child-appealing, beautifully written books. Reading as many books as possible yourself, as well as a wide variety of review sources, will always uncover hidden gems that inform and delight.
This list was happily (and painstakingly) collected by an independent bookseller. If you are using it as a purchasing guide, please consider supporting your local independent bookstore, or an online indie (find a store on Thanks!
And, if you find this project valuable, please make a brief comment below. I’d like a sense of how many people are actually using this list, to know that collecting the data and making the citations consistent are worth the sort of ridiculous hours I spend doing it. I just want comments like, “Yep, use it!” not, “Thank you, goddess of lists, for using your OCD tendencies in a productive manner.” I’m fishing for users, not compliments, here. But if you like my hair today, please feel free to compliment that.  : )
COSMIC. Frank Cottrell Boyce. (HarperCollins/Walden Pond, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-183683-1
INCARCERON. Catherine Fisher. (Dial, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-8037-3396-1
MIRROR, MIRROR: A BOOK OF REVERSIBLE VERSE. Marilyn Singer. Illustrated by Josée Masse. (Dutton, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-525-47901-7
CONSPIRACY OF KINGS, A. Megan Whalen Turner. (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99) ISBN 978-0061870934.
DEATH-DEFYING PEPPER ROUX, THE. Geraldine McCaughrean. (Harper, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-183665-7
DREAMER, THE. Pam Munoz Ryan. Illustrated by Peter Sis. (Scholastic, $17.99) ISBN 978-0439269704
FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK. Melina Marchetta. (Candlewick, $18.99) ISBN: 978-0-7636-4361-4
MY GARDEN. Kevin Henkes (Harper/Greenwillow, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-06-171517-4
ONE CRAZY SUMMER. Rita Williams-Garcia. (HarperCollins/Amistad, $15.99. ISBN 978-0060760885
UBIQUITOUS: CELEBRATING NATURE’S SURVIVORS. Joyce Sidman. Illustrated by Beckie Prange. (Harcourt, $17) ISBN 978-0-618-71719-4
AMELIA EARHART: THIS BROAD OCEAN. Written and illustrated by Sarah Stewart Taylor and Ben Towle. Center for Cartoon Studies and Disney/Hyperion, $17.99) ISBN 978-1-4231-1337-9
BUNNY DAYS. Tao Nyeu. (Dial, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-8037-3330-5
EXTRAORDINARY MARK TWAIN, THE (ACCORDING TO SUSY). Barbara Kerley. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. (Scholastic Press, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-545-12508-6
HERE COMES THE GARBAGE BARGE! Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Red Nose Studio. (Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-375-85218-3
LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS, THE. Francisco X. Stork. (Scholastic/Levine, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-545-15133-7
MERCURY. Hope Larson. (Atheneum, $17.99 hc; $9.99 pb)  ISBN hc 978-1416935858; ISBN pb 978-1416935889
MYSTERIOUS HOWLING, THE (INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE, THE. BOOK 1). Wood, Maryrose. (HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray/, $15.99) ISBN 978-0-06-179105-5
NOTHING. Janne Teller. Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken. (S&S/Atheneum, $16.99) ISBN 978-1-416-98579-2
OUT OF MY MIND. Sharon M. Draper. (S&S/Atheneum, $16.99) ISBN 978-1416971702
REVOLVER. Marcus Sedgwick. (Roaring Brook, $16.99) ISBN 978-1596435926
SOME GIRLS ARE. Courtney Summers. (St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99) ISBN 978-0-312-57380-5
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON. John Green and David Levithan. (Dutton, $17.99) ISBN 978-0525421580
AFTER EVER AFTER. Jordan Sonnenblick. (Scholastic, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-439-83706-4
ALCHEMY AND MEGGY SWANN. Karen Cushman. (Clarion, $16) ISBN 978-0547231846
ALL STAR!: HONUS WAGNER AND THE MOST FAMOUS BASEBALL CARD EVER.  Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Jim Burke. (Philomel, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-399-24661-6
ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL. Ashley Bryan. (S&S/Atheneum, $16.99) ISBN 978-1-4169-8939-4
BEACH TAIL, A. Karen Lynn Williams. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. (Boyds Mills, $17.95) ISBN 978-1590787120
BIG RED LOLLIPOP. Rukhsana Khan. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. (Viking, $16.99) ISBN 978-0670062874
BORDERLINE. Allan Stratton. (HarperTeen, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-145111-9
BRIDGET’S BERET. Tom Lichtenfeld. (Holt/Christy Ottaviano, $16.99) ISBN 978-0805087758
CHESTER’S MASTERPIECE. Watt, Mélanie. (Kids Can, $18.95) ISBN 978-1554535668
DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN, THE. Josh Berk. (Knopf/Borzoi, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-375-85699-0
EFRAIN’S SECRET. Sofia Quintero. (Knopf, $16.99) ISBN 978-0375847066
FALLING IN. Frances O’Roark Dowell. (S&S/ Atheneum, $16.99) ISBN 978-1416950325
HENRY IN LOVE. Peter McCarty. (HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-114288-8
FEVER CRUMB. Philip Reeve. (Scholastic, $17.99) ISBN 978-0545207195
HAPPYFACE. Stephen Emond. (Little, Brown, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-316-04100-3
HATTIE THE BAD. Jane Devlin. Illustrated by Joe Berger. (Dial, $16.99) ISBN 978-0803734470
HEART AND THE BOTTLE, THE. Oliver Jeffers. (Philomel, $17.99) ISBN 978-0399254529
I CAN BE ANYTHING! Jerry Spinelli. Illustrated by Jimmy Liao. (Little, Brown, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-316-16226-5
IF STONES COULD SPEAK: UNLOCKING THE SECRETS OF STONEHENGE. Marc Aronson. (National Geographic,  $17.95) ISBN 978-1426305993
LITTLE RED HEN AND THE PASSOVER MATZAH, THE. Leslie Kimmelman. Illustrated by Paul Meisel. (Holiday House, $16.95) ISBN 978-0-8234-1952-4
LMNO PEAS. Keith Baker. (S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99) ISBN 978-1416991410
MAMA MITI: WANGARI MAATHAI AND THE TREES OF KENYA. Donna Jo Napoli. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. (S&S/Wiseman, $16.99) ISBN 978-1-4169-3505-6
MEANWHILE: PICK ANY PATH. 3,856 STORY POSSIBILITIES. Jason Shiga. (Abrams/Amulet, $15.95) ISBN 978-0-81098-423-3
MOCKINGBIRD. Kathryn Erskine. (Philomel, $15.99) ISBN 978-0399252648
NEST FOR CELESTE, A: A STORY ABOUT ART, INSPIRATION, AND THE MEANING OF HOME. Henry Cole. (HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-170410-9
NUMBERS. Rachel Ward. (Scholastic/Chicken House, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-545-14299-1
ONCE. Morris Gleitzman. (Henry Holt, $16.99) ISBN 978-0805090260
OSTRICH BOYS. Keith Gray. (Random, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-375-85843-7
SHARING THE SEASONS: A BOOK OF POEMS. Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Illustrated by David Diaz. (S&S/McElderry, $21.99) ISBN 978-1416902102
SHARK VS. TRAIN. Chris Barton. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. (Little, Brown, $16.99) ISBN 978-0316007627
SUMMER BIRDS: THE BUTTERFLIES OF MARIA MERIAN. Margarita Engle. Illustrated by Julie Paschkis. (Holt, $16.99) ISBN 978-0805089370.
WHAT IF? Laura Vaccaro Seeger. (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $15.99) ISBN 978-1596433984WOODS RUNNER. Gary Paulsen. (Random/Wendy Lamb, $15.99)  ISBN 978-0-385-73884-2
YEAR OF GOODBYES, THE: A TRUE STORY OF FRIENDSHIP, FAMILY, AND FAREWELLS. Debbie Levy. (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99) ISBN 978-1-4231-2901-1
13 TREASURES. Michelle Harrison. (Little, Brown, $15.99) ISBN 978-0316041485
ADVENTURES OF JACK LIME, THE. James Leck. (Kids Can, $16.95) ISBN 978-1554533640
ANIMAL CRACKERS FLY THE COOP. Kevin O’Malley. (Walker, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-8027-9837-4
ASHES. Kathryn Lasky. (Viking, $16.99) ISBN 978-0670011575
BABY SHOWER. Jane Breskin Zalben. (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $16.99) ISBN 978-1596434653
BACK OF THE BUS. Aaron Reynolds. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. (Philomel, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-399-25091-0
BACK TO BED, ED! Sebastien Braun. (Peachtree, $15.95) ISBN: 978-1561455188
BAG IN THE WIND. Ted Kooser. Illustrated by Barry Root. (Candlewick, $17.99) ISBN 978-0763630010
BANDIT’S SURPRISE. Karen Rostoker-Gruber. Illustrated by Vincent Nguyen. (Marshall Cavendish, $16.99) ISBN 978-0761456230
BEFORE I FALL. Lauren Oliver. (HarperTeen, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-06-172680-4
BIRMINGHAM SUNDAY. Larry Dane Brimner. (Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $17.95) ISBN 978-1590786130
BIRTHDAY BALL, THE. Lois Lowry. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer. (Houghton, $16) ISBN 978-0547238692
BLACK ELK’S VISION: A LAKOTA STORY. S.D. Nelson. (Abrams, $19.95) ISBN 978-0810983991
BLACK MAGIC. Dinah Johnson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. (Holt/Christy Ottaviano, $15.99) ISBN 978-0805078336
BLEEDING VIOLET. Dia Reeves. (Simon Pulse, $16.99) ISBN 978-1-4169-8618-8
BLOCKHEAD: THE LIFE OF FIBONACCI. Joseph D’Agnese. Illustrated by John O’Brien, Jr. (Holt, $16.99) ISBN 9780805063059
BORN YESTERDAY: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG JOURNALIST. James Solheim. Illustrated by Simon James. (Philomel, $15.99) ISBN 978-0399251559
BOY WHO CLIMBED INTO THE MOON, THE. David Almond. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. (Candlewick, $15.99) ISBN 978-0763642174
BOYS, THE. Jeff Newman. (Simon & Schuster, $15.99) ISBN 978-1416950127
BRAND-NEW BABY BLUES. Kathi Appelt. Illustrated by Kelly Murphy. (HarperCollins, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-053233-8
CAPTAIN SMALL PIG. Martin Waddell. Illustrated by Susan Varley. (Peachtree, $15.95) ISBN 978-1561455195
CARBON DIARIES 2017. THE. Saci Lloyd. (Holiday House, $17.95) ISBN 978-0823422609
CAT THE CAT, WHO IS THAT? Mo Willems. (HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $12.99) ISBN 978-0-06-172840-2
CELESTIAL GLOBE, THE. Marie Rutkoski. (FSG, $16.99) ISBN 978-0374310271
CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG. Mo Willems. Illustrated by Jon J Muth. (Hyperion, $17.99) ISBN 978-1423103004
CITY OF SPIES. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan. Illustrated by Pascal Dizin. (Roaring Brook/First Second, $16.99) ISBN 978-1596432628
CLOUD TEA MONKEYS. Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham. Illustrated by Juan Wijngaard. (Candlewick, $15.99) ISBN 978-0763644536
DOGS. Emily Gravett. (Simon & Schuster, $15.99) ISBN 978-1416987031
DON’T SPILL THE BEANS! IanSchoenherr. (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-172457-2
DRAGONBREATH: ATTACK OF THE NINJA FROGS. Ursula Vernon. (Dial, $12.99) ISBN 978-0803733657
DRAGONS OF DARKNESS. Antonia Michaelis. Translated by Anthea Bell. (Abrams, $18.95) ISBN 978-0810940741
DRIZZLE. Kathleen Van Cleve. (Dial, $16.99) ISBN 978-0803733626
EASTER EGG, THE. Jan Brett. Putnam, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25238-9
EGRET’S DAY, AN. Jane Yolen. Photography by Jason Stemple. (Boyds Mills/Wordsong, $17.95) ISBN 978-1590786505
EIGHTH-GRADE SUPERZERO. Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich. Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-545-09676-8
ENCHANTED GLASS. Diana Wynne Jones. (Harper/Greenwillow, $16.99) ISBN 978-0061866845.
ENCYCLOPEDIA MYTHOLOGICA: GODS AND HEROES. Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda. (Candlewick, $29.99) ISBN 978-0763631710
EYE FOR COLOR, AN: THE STORY OF JOSEF ALBERS. Natasha Wing. Illustrated by Julia Breckenreid (Holt, $16.99) ISBN 978-0805080728
FARAWAY ISLAND, A. Annika Thor. Translated by Linda Schenck. (Delacorte, $16.99) ISBN 978-0385736176
FARM. Elisha Cooper. (Scholastic/Orchard, $17.99) ISBN 978-0545070751
FDR’S ALPHABET SOUP: NEW DEAL AMERICA, 1932-1939. Tonya Bolden. (Knopf, $19.99) ISBN 978-0375852145
FIREFLY LETTERS, THE: A SUFFRAGETTE’S JOURNEY TO CUBA. Margarita Engle. (Holt, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-8050-9082-6
FOREVER FRIENDS. Carin Berger. (Harper/Greenwillow, $16.99) ISBN 978-0061915284
FOX AND THE HEN, THE. Eric Battut. (Boxer Books, $16.95) ISBN 978-1907152023
FRANKIE PICKLE AND THE PINE RUN 3000. Eric Wight. (Simon & Schuster, $9.99) ISBN 978-1416964858
GARMANN’S STREET. Stian Hole. (Eerdmans, $16.99) ISBN 978-0802853578
GIRL WITH THE MERMAID HAIR, THE. Delia Ephron. (HarperTeen, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-154260-2
GREEN WITCH. Alice Hoffman. (Scholastic Press, $17.99) ISBN 978-0545141956
HALF-MINUTE HORRORS. Edited by Susan Rich (HarperCollins, $12.99) ISBN 978-0061833793
HALLELUJAH FLIGHT, THE. Phil Bildner. Illustrated by John Holyfield. (Putnam, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-399-24789-7
HENRY AARON’S DREAM. Matt Tavares. (Candlewick, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-7636-3224-3
HEY, RABBIT! Sergio Ruzzier. (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $16.99.) ISBN 978-1-59643-502-5
HIP HOP DOG. Raschka, Chris. (HarperCollins, $16.99) ISBN 978-0061239632
HOUSE OF DOLLS. Francesca Lia Block. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. (Harper, $15.99) ISBN 978-0061130946
HOW TO CLEAN A HIPPOPOTAMUS: A LOOK AT UNUSUAL ANIMAL PARTNERSHIPS. Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. (Houghton, $16) ISBN 978-0547245157
HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL. Donna Gephart.  (Delacorte, $15.99) ISBN 978-0385737937
I AM A BACKHOE. Hines, Anna Grossnickle. (Tricycle, $12.99) ISBN 978-1582463063.
I AM GOING (ELEPHANT & PIGGIE). Mo Willems. (Hyperion, $8.99) ISBN 978-1423119906
I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER (JOHN CLEAVER). Dan Wells. (Tor, $9.99) ISBN 978-0765327826
INCREDIBLE VOYAGE OF ULYSSES. Bimba Landmann. (Getty, $19.95) ISBN 978-1606060124
IS IT NIGHT OR DAY? Fern Schumer Chapman. (FSG, $16.99) ISBN 978-0374177447
KNIFE THAT KILLED ME, THE. Anthony McGowan. (Delacorte, $16.99) ISBN 978-0385738224
LAWN TO LAWN. Dan Yaccarino. (Knopf, $17.99) ISBN 978-0375855740
LIFE AND TIMES OF SCROOGE MCDUCK, THE. VOL. 1. Don Rosa. (Boom! Kids, $24.99) ISBN 978-1608865383
LIGHTER SIDE OF LIFE AND DEATH, THE. C.K. Kelly Marton. (Random, $16.99) ISBN 978-0375845888
LINCOLN TELLS A JOKE: HOW LAUGHTER SAVED THE PRESIDENT (AND THE COUNTRY). Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer. Illustrated by Stacy Innerst. (Harcourt, $16) ISBN 978-0152066390
LOCKDOWN. Walter Dean Myers. (HarperTeen, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-121480-6
MAGIC UNDER GLASS. Jaclyn Dolamore. (Bloomsbury, $16.99) ISBN 978-1599904306
MEETING, THE. Brigitte Luciani. Illustrated by Eve Tharlet. Translated by Carol Klio Burrell. (Lerner/Graphic Universe, $6.95) ISBN 978-0761356318
MILLION SHADES OF GRAY, A. Cynthia Kadohata. (Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $16.99) ISBN 978-1-4169-1883-7
MIMI’S DADA CATIFESTO. Shelley Jackson. (Clarion, $17) ISBN 978-0547126814
MISS BROOKS LOVES BOOKS! (AND I DON’T). Barbara Bottner. Illustrated by Michael Emberley. (Knopf/Borzoi, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-375-84682-3
NIGHT FAIRY, THE. Laura Amy Schlitz. Illustrated by Angela Barrett. (Candlewick, $16.99) ISBN 978-0763636746
NORTHWARD TO THE MOON. Polly Horvath. (Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-375-86110-9
OLDER THAN THE STARS. Karen C. Fox. (Charlesbridge, $15.95) ISBN: 978-1-57091-787-5
PADDLING OF DUCKS, A: ANIMALS IN GROUPS FROM A TO Z. Marjorie Blain Parker. Illustrated by Joseph Kelly. (Kids Can, $16.95) ISBN 978-1553376828
PALACE BEAUTIFUL. Sarah DeFord Williams. (Putnam, $16.99) ISBN 978-0399252983
PARIS IN THE SPRING WITH PICASSO. Joan Yolleck. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. (Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-375-83756-2
PIGS TO THE RESCUE. John Himmelman. (Holt, $16.99) ISBN 978-0805086836
PLANET HUNTER: GEOFF MARCY AND THE SEARCH FOR OTHER EARTHS. Vicki O. Wittenstein. (Boyds Mills Press, $17.95) ISBN 978-1590785928
POD. Stephen Wallenfels. (Namelos, $18.95 hc; $9.95 pb) ISBN hc 9781608980109; pb 9781608980116
POISON EATERS AND OTHER STORIES. Holly Black. Illustrated by Theo Black. (Big Mouth House, $17.99) ISBN 978-1931520631POISONED HONEY: A STORY OF MARY MAGDALENE. Beatrice Gormley. (Knopf, $16.99) ISBN 978-0375852077
PRIME BABY. Gene Luen Yang. (First Second, $6.99) ISBN 978-1596436121
PUSH BUTTON. Aliki. (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99.) ISBN 978-0061673085.
QUIET BOOK, THE. Deborah Underwood. Illustrated by Renata Liwska. (Houghton, $12.95) ISBN 978-0547215679
RATFINK. Marcia Thornton Jones. Illustrated by C. B. Decker. (Dutton, $16.99) ISBN 978-0525420668
RESISTANCE. Carla Jablonski. Illustrated by Leland Purvis. (Roaring Brook/First Second, $16.99) ISBN 978-1596432918
RIVER, THE. Mary Jane Beaufrand. (Little, Brown, $16.99) ISBN 978-0316041683
SALT. Maurice Gee. (Orca, $18) ISBN 978-1554692095
SAY HELLO! Rachel Isadora. (Putnam, $16.99) ISBN 978-0399252303
SHAKESPEARE MAKES THE PLAY-OFFS. Ron Koertge (Candlewick, $15.99) ISBN 978-0763644352
SIGNED, ABIAH ROSE. Diane Browning. (Tricycle, $15.99) ISBN 978-1582463117
SIT-IN: HOW FOUR FRIENDS STOOD UP BY SITTING DOWN. Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. (Little, Brown, $16.99) ISBN 978-0316070164
SKY IS EVERYWHERE, THE. Jandy Nelson. (Dial, $17.99) ISBN 978-0803734951
SMALL FREE KISS IN THE DARK, A. Glenda Millard. (Holiday House, $16.95) ISBN 978-0823422647
SMILE! Leigh Hodgkinson. (HarperTeen/Balzer+Bray/, $16.99) ISBN 978-0061852695
SOLAR SYSTEM, THE. Howard K. Trammel. (Children’s Press, $6.95) ISBN 978-0531228029
SONG OF THE WHALES, THE. Uri Orlev. Translated by Hillel Halkin. (Houghton, $16) ISBN 978-0547257525
SPELLS. Aprilynne Pike. (Harper, $16.99) ISBN 978-0061668067
STAR CRUSHER, THE: MISSILE MOUSE. Jake Parker. (Graphix. $10.99) ISBN 978-0545117159
STAR IN THE FOREST. Laura Resau. (Delacorte, $14.99) ISBN 978-0385737920
STARS. Ker Than. (Children’s Press, $6.95) ISBN 978-0531228067
STUCK ON EARTH. David Klass. (FSG/Foster, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-374-39951-1
SUNDAY IS FOR GOD. Michael McGowan. Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. (Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99) ISBN 978-0375841880
SWEET HEREAFTER. Angela Johnson. (Simon & Schuster, $16.99) ISBN 978-0689873850
TAKE ME WITH YOU. Carolyn Marsden. (Candlewick, $14.99) ISBN 978-0763637392
THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN. Susan Beth Pfeffer. (Harcourt, $17) ISBN 978-0547248042
THREE RIVERS RISING: A NOVEL OF THE JOHNSTOWN FLOOD. James Richards. (Knopf, $16.99) ISBN 978-0375858857
TIME YOU LET ME IN: 25 POETS UNDER 25. Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye. (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99) ISBN 978-0-06-189637-8
TOADS AND DIAMONDS. Heather Tomlinson. (Holt, $16.99) ISBN 978-0805089684
TYRANNY. Lesley Fairfield. (Tundra, $10.95) ISBN 978-0887769030
WAITING OUT THE STORM. JoAnn Early Macken. Illustrated by Susan Gaber. (Candlewick, $15.99) ISBN 978-0763633783
WAR TO END ALL WARS, THE. Russell Freedman. (Clarion, $22) ISBN 9780547026862
WE THE CHILDREN (BENJAMIN PRATT AND THE KEEPERS OF THE SCHOOL 01). Andrew Clements. Illustrated by Adam Stower. (S&S/Atheneum, $14.99) ISBN 978-1416938866
WHEN JACK GOES OUT. Pat Schories. (Boyds Mills, $13.95) ISBN 978-1-59078-652-9
WISHING FOR TOMORROW: THE SEQUEL TO A LITTLE PRINCESS. Hilary McKay. Illustrated by Nick Maland. (S&S/McElderry, $16.99) ISBN 978-1442401693
WORD AFTER WORD AFTER WORD. Patricia MacLachlan. (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, $14.99.) ISBN 978-0060279714
YOUNG ZEUS. G. Brian Karas. (Scholastic, $17.99) ISBN 978-0-439-72806-5
ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS. Adapted and illustrated by George O’Connor. (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter/First Second, $16.99 hc, $9.99 pb) ISBN 978-1-59643-431-8 hc; ISBN 978-1-59643-625-1 pb.

Books Beat Kindles

Josie Leavitt - March 15, 2010

Yesterday, I spent seven long hours waiting at JFK Airport, trying to get back home from a quick weekend away in Florida. When faced with so many hours in an airport, I don’t read. I people watch.
I saw more Kindles than I ever have in my life: three. I was curious about these Kindle readers, so I tried to speak with each of them. Only one was interested in talking to me.
I was curious what he was reading and was very surprised to hear he was reading a Louis L’Amour novel. He actually whispered it, telling me, “I would never go to a store to buy this.” He loves his Kindle.I asked if he still went to bookstores and he said somewhat sheepishly, no. This echoes what my family in Florida said, too. I was worried about this, then I looked around the gate area.
The three Kindle readers had stopped reading and were just looking around, as if they needed a break from the screen. All the other book readers, and there must have been about thirty readers at my gate, had their heads down, happily turning pages, fairly oblivious to the chaos around them.
One other thing I didn’t see was anyone recharging their book. Not beholden to the proximity of outlets, the book readers were literally strewn about. (Before folks get mad at me, I understand the battery life of the Kindle is long, but at some point they do need to be recharged.)
Are books dead? Hardly. But it’s clear to me at least, who lives in a very bookstore-friendly state, that the e-reader is creeping into the larger book reading world. The Borders here at the airport even sells preloaded Sony e-readers.
One last quick scan of the gate revealed book readers outnumbering Kindle owners by ten to one. That’s a number I can live with, I think.

The Lemon Twins (and Dad!) Review ‘Pink Me Up’

Alison Morris - March 12, 2010

Pink Me Up
Many moons ago, Sandy Lemon, one of the local teachers I have the great pleasure of working with, introduced me to CricketSam, her husband’s blog about life as a stay-at-home dad caring for their twin girls, who in a few months will be starting (gasp!) kindergarten. I have since become a frequent reader of Stephan’s very entertaining blog and a big fan of both Stephan’s humor and his daughters’ antics. Thinking you all might become the same and realizing it’s rare that we post the perspectives of actual kids on this blog, I asked Stephan if he and the girls might want to review a book or two for ShelfTalker. They jumped at the chance and walked out of my office with a pile of F&G’s for forthcoming picture books. What follows is their review of Pink Me Up by Charise Mericle Harper (Random House, February 2010). Along the lines of “Clap if you believe in fairies,” please comment below if you would like to see the Lemon family make more such contributions!
And now, heeeeeere’s Stephan!
Stephan Lemon
My name is Stephan Lemon. I am a writer, fervent reader, and, more importantly, a stay-at-home dad to twin 4-year-old girls Cricket and Samantha. My girls and I are honored to be reviewing children’s books that will be available in the coming weeks and months. After years of reading the same books over and over and over and over again (parents, can I get an Gahhhhh!), getting some fresh advance-copy action is just about the best thing in the history of ever. Plus, Cricket and Sam are perfect for this task. Just two months shy of their 5th birthdays, they are experts at rendering judgment on a wide range of topics and have an opinion on everything.
The emasculation I experience on a near daily basis from our girls and our two cats – another set of twin girls – leaves me a broken and bitter shell of a man. Happily, my wife, Sandy, is a saint of a woman who acts as a counterweight and gives balance to my life (He shoots! He scores! Marital points!), and fortunately I have the ability to mine the forces acting upon me for comedy gold I can then put to use for my family blog, my fledgling design business and the book I’ve been threatening to write – a book with a title so wondrously cool that I cannot share it for fear that it fall into the hands of another broken and bitter shell of a man before I can publish. (Maybe someday I’ll have a measureable level of content that will rival the wondrously cool title.)
I know what you’re thinking right now. It’s either Wow, this guy’s life is REALLY exciting! or I’m actually not getting this time back, am I? But it’s not about us. It’s about the kids and the books. I’m just impressed you’ve followed me this far! Let’s keep going.
Cricket and Sam Read Pink Me Up
The first book to get the CricketSam treatment is Pink Me Up by Charise Mericle Harper. The girls were drawn to this book from the beginning, choosing it, based purely on the cover, from a lineup of 8 other new books.
The opening page of the story reads “Today is a special Mama-and-me day. Today is the day of the PINK GIRLS PINK-NIC.”
Oh boy, this is where the “Daddy Dilemma” kicks in, as I’m left reading a book, delightful as it may be, that by all appearances should be read by a mother to a daughter. But fortunately 4-year-olds don’t care about such things, and I really don’t mind either since this allows me to walk hand-in-hand with my feminine side and, truth be told, the feminine me is SO much nicer than the regular me.
Returning to the story, our pink-obsessed main bunny (who curiously goes unnamed, to the dismay of my girls) has her hopes of a wonderful day at the pink picnic dashed when her mother falls ill with – egads! – Pink Spots! (Who knew pink could be so debilitating?) This leads to a moment the girls know all too well, as our heroine falls, crying, to the floor. So familiar are my daughters with this type of scene that in fact they finished reading the final sentence on the page for me… “Today. Is. The. Worst. Day,” I began… then “EVER!” they chimed, as I ran my finger over the word.
It is at this point where Pink Me Up takes a turn for the Awesome! as we find out who will escort our pinkster to the picnic. None other than… DADDY! (Wait. What? Daddy? Really? I know, even my girls were surprised.) “It’s a PINK girl party!” our young bunny exclaims. “Boys are NOT pink!”
I ask Sam and Cricket what they think is going to happen next. They agree that Daddy is not worthy and the story will end in despair, which is TOTALLY not the right answer. When prompted again, they deduce that maybe Daddy will find pink clothes and be able to accompany his daughter to the picnic.
After the bunny successfully “pinks up” her dad with a combination of stickers, markers and tape (those pink-striped pants are SO slimming) she holds his hand on the way to the picnic because “he is not used to being pink.” To me, this line best demonstrates the psyche of the 4-year-old, as my girls are accustomed to treating me as a helpless automaton that requires constant attention for even the smallest of tasks. But hey, pink-striped pants!
Cheerily, everyone at the picnic LOVES the pink dad, leading to many other dads getting “pinkified” at future events. Our pinkster, flush with confidence, dreams of a world in which – GOOD LORD – everything is pink.
I selfishly liked this book because Daddy saves the day but appreciate that the main character overcomes adversity and is part of the solution, which is a good message for the kids.
The girls liked that the stuffed carrot is always smiling. Unbelievable.
Final assessment? Three thumbs up for Pink Me Up.

The Secret to Successful Book Fairs

Josie Leavitt - March 11, 2010

Some would say the secret to a good book fair is not to do them. Fewer and fewer independent stores are doing in-school book fairs these days because the cost/benefit ratio is dwindling to such a degree that they can be a losing proposition. Book fairs are a complex thing for an indie bookseller to do well, and here are some tips that might help out.
* Work with one person from the PTO. Having more than one point person can make things confusing and needlessly complicated. Make sure there’s one store contact person as well. Confidence builds when there is a solid relationship between school and store.
* Be clear about expectations. How much money is the school hoping to raise? What will the school do to ensure the success of the book fair? The school administration needs to ensure that all the kids and their families, not only know about the book fair, but will given adequate time during the school day to shop for books.  Nothing ruins a book fair than kids strolling amid the books with no money because their parents didn’t know what day the book fair was.
* Draw up a contract that clearly states what everyone’s responsibilities are. How will damaged books be dealt with? It is much better to have a simple document that makes clear what happens if books are stolen, missing, or damaged during the fair, than to discuss it after a box of books goes missing. Also, a contract makes the store look more professional and it lets the school know what exactly you are doing.
* Make sure the parent organization has enough volunteers to run the book fair before it begins. Nothing is more frustrating to the PTO than having an understaffed book fair. I’ve seen book fairs where the main parent volunteer not only never leaves the fair, but has checked in and set up the entire book fair and packs it up on her own.
* Be very clear up front how the school will benefit from book sales. Will they get 15% in cash or 20% in store credit?
* If your staff is able to go into the school the week preceding the book fair for booktalks, sales will rise immeasurably. In addition to booktalks, if someone can generate a flyer with the booktalked items on it that kids can take home then they’re more likely to bring money for those books.
* Don’t have a book fair that’s either too short or too long. A week-long, in-school book fair is probably too long for most schools to staff. One day is a recipe for failure. Two days with a kick-off dinner can be a really successful. Sometimes getting a local author can help jump-start a book fair and can generate a lot of excitement.
* I know it sounds ridiculous, but schedule the book fair when the kids are in school. We once had the misfortune of having a book fair scheduled during parent/teacher conferences and it was the one of the worst book fairs ever.
* If you’re trying to get into a school that has traditionally only done Scholastic Book Fairs, stress that your store is better positioned to choose books that are geared for that specific school because you know them. I’ve worked with schools who didn’t want to give up the Scholastic Fair, so I suggested having two fairs: one using us and one Scholastic. If both book fairs are marketed well, they can both be money makers for the school.
I’ve had great book fairs, and not-so-great book fairs. One thing we’ve started to focus on is doing book fairs for schools close enough to the store so that those families can be become new customers. A book fair is a great way for folks to get to know your store and what you can offer the community, which can a long lasting ripple effect of good will.

Competing with Online Pre-Orders

Josie Leavitt - March 10, 2010

We all know that this summer’s big book will be the third and final book in the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay. The release date is five months away and already the price wars have begun for pre-orders at the online retailers.  All the big web stores are offering the book for pre-sale at discounts ranging from 44% to a whopping 53%, bringing the book to well below what any bookstore can purchase it for.
This aggressive discounting brings up many emotions in me. Chief among them is despair. It’s hard to see the biggest book of the year, and one I cannot wait to read myself, being so deeply discounted seemingly everywhere I turn.  The second emotion is anger. Anger that once again indies are potentially going to get scooped by companies using the book that can make our year, as their loss leader, and in doing so is devaluing the work itself.
The good thing about anger is it spurs action. I am so irritated by all the places I’m competing with that I’m just going to dig and fight for my little corner of the summer’s hot book.  Can I sell the book at 53% off? No. Can I sell it for 44% off? No, again. But I can offer my customers an easy way to order the book locally and save. For a book like Mockingjay that had special orders for it ever since the week after Catching Fire came out, I am offering a staggered pre-order discount for my customers.
Here’s what I’m going to do for fans of the series. If you pre-order and pre-pay for Mockingjay anytime between now and April 30th you will save 35%, buy it between May 1st and May 31st you can save 30%, after that the discount goes down to 20% until the release date.  We’ve never had a staggered discount schedule for a hot book, but never have we had such aggressive competition from so many places.
Bold signage at each register will alert people to this plan and hopefully, they will decide on the spot to pre-order their book with us. The more they pre-order, the better my cash flow is, and the better able I’ll be to know exactly how many Mockingjays to order, because all the outlets for this book are making me really think about the size of my order. And having some pre-orders in the system will be a real guide for me and help me order smartly.
One thing that we have going for us, that few of the web stores do, is that our party won’t be virtual. It will be live and loads of fun, and if you bought your book from us, there might be something extra special in it for you.

Extraordinary Book and Paper Arts

Elizabeth Bluemle - March 9, 2010

This post isn’t about beautiful books, but about books that have been transformed into other art forms. When some artists look at books, they see possibilities even beyond the worlds invented by the books’ authors. From pop-up creations that come to life to cut-out witticisms (rolling paper waves and a ship “sailing” out of a copy of Treasure Island), these paper innovations make my jaw drop. How about yours?
Even the projects that require books to be destroyed (sacrilege! murder!) result in such incredible works of art that I can suppress the horror and simply marvel. And it’s already an old joke, but it must be made: try doing *this* with an e-reader.
After the paper-arts videos, you’ll see another extremely impressive book-related kind of art: artist Althea Crome talking about the miniature sweaters she knitted for the Coraline movie. (Thanks to YA novelist Chris Tebbetts for the link!)
Do you have any favorite book-arts images or links to share? (The comments field doesn’t allow full links, but I think you can enter anything that comes after http://www.)

Events Out of the Store

Josie Leavitt - March 8, 2010

Bookstores don’t have events only at the store. Events now come in all shapes and sizes and in all venues. This spring and summer we’re having a variety of events off-site. I’ll mention them here and then do a follow-up report in the summer.
The first event is at a local library in South Burlington, which is hosting the wonderful Julia Alvarez in April. Julia asked for us to sell books at the event. I love that Julia asked for an independent store for sales help, especially when there’s a Barnes and Noble 500 feet from the the library. She gets it. And she knows that we’ll donate a portion of the day’s sales to the library. We get signed books (we always bring more than we think we’ll sell) and the library gets a great event and hopeful makes some serious money. Additionally, while I sell books I get to listen to Julia speak, which is always magical and inspiring.
Our second library event is purely altruistic: We’re just helping the Williston library get an illustrator, in this case it’s Harry Bliss for their big Reading Day Celebration in April. This is not a book sales event, but it IS certainly our pleasure to see if we can help a local library reach out to someone they might not know. This type of event goes under the “building a community” heading.  It’s a phone call or email for us and it’s a pleasure to help a local library have a great day.The third event is a ticketed dinner at our favorite restaurant, Bistro Sauce in Shelburne. We’ve been wanting to do something with them since we moved our store to Shelburne, and finally we’ve found the time to plan. In the middle of April we’ll have a “best of the new” preview event for as many book groups that want to attend. We’ll booktalk some of the hot new paperbacks and hardcovers coming out during the late spring and summer. Our goal here is to get readers excited about new books. Each attendee will be given a coupon they can use to purchase any of the books we mentioned at a discount. We want this to be a fun event that they’ll talk about and hopefully, we’ll become the go-to store for all book group members, not just the few who already shop here. We’d like to create buzz for both the restaurant and the bookstore.
Lastly, several towns away, in Panton, there’s the Basin Harbor Club, a vacation/resort set on a lake. They want to create a speaker’s night featuring local authors and some daytime kids’ events. They have a built-in audience of vacationers who just want to relax and have their entertainment come to them. We will help arrange evenings of teaching stand-up comedy, picture book writing seminars, and several events with Vermont authors. We’ll also work with their kitchen staff to do a “favorite cookbook” dinner.
The beauty of this arrangement is they will sell the books for us at the event if we’re unable to, and they’ll keep the signed books for sale in the gift shop for the duration of the summer; it’s like having a tiny satellite store. So, with this one venue we will have six to eight events that are not a drain on my staff. We’ll make the resort more enticing to potential guests by having some truly stellar events, and we’ll all make some money.
One thing I’ve noticed already for collaborative events is everyone from all parts needs to be organized and excited about working together. Promotion needs to be done aggressively and well by both parties. Signage stating “books provided by….” need to be visible on the sales table and in any programs. Bookstores need to be equally thoughtful about promoting their partners with brochures available at the register.
I’m hopeful, maybe too much so, that these events will generate a fair amount of extra income for the store. Here’s hoping.If you or your vacation spot or local bookstore does anything fun, I’d love to hear about it.

Remembering Tom Taverna, My Snowplow in Shining Armor

Alison Morris - March 5, 2010

Writing is a strange and often humbling business. You hang your own personal thoughts, opinions, ideas, and observations in a place where the world can see them, and sometimes the world responds the way you think it will, and sometimes it does not. What you can’t guess or predict, though, is what a future world will think, or how future readers might be impacted by something you’ve said. Especially not when they’re responding to a thing you didn’t really KNOW you were writing about in the first place.
When PW first approached me about starting this blog, I knew I was being offered a remarkable opportunity — one that might open all sorts of doors for me, both professionally and personally. For the past three years I’ve been pleased to find that it’s allowed me the opportunity to open doors for OTHER people too. I suppose I never really realized, though, that it might help some people close doors that have been open for them, and that that too might be a good thing.
In March of 2007 I was a brand new blogger — still plenty wet behind the ears. On the 22nd day of that month, I wrote my fifth post for this blog, and I wrote it about something not immediately related to books, per se, and not really all that important. Or so I thought. Gareth was out of town, we got hit by a snowstorm, I was out shoveling, and a stranger with a snowplow plowed the end of our driveway for me without my asking. That was all. This singular and unexpected act of kindness, though, was enough to send me to my keyboard and prompt me to blog about it. Wanting to thank him or return his favor in some fashion, I tried briefly to locate and contact the man whose name (Tom Taverna) was stenciled on the door of his snowplow, but I wasn’t successful.
Then, almost three years later, Tom Taverna’s friends and family found me.
On Thursday, January 28, 2010, I received the following message on Facebook, from a complete stranger:

“I read your article that was sent to me by a friend on ‘The kindness of strangers’ which was published in Publishers Weekly. I just wanted to thank you for the kind story on Tom Taverna. He was a friend of mine and a wonderful person. Life just became too overbearing for Tom with the decline in work and his financial issues with his divorce and how he missed his 3 young daughters so dearly. He came from a large family and saw 3 of his siblings pass also. Tom killed himself last week and tonight is his wake. I will be leaving shortly to attend but I wanted to just say thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God bless you always.”

(You can read the death notice for Thomas P. Taverna here.)
I was heartsick to get this message. Heartsick, and humbled too. I promptly went back and looked at my “The Kindness of Strangers” post, where I found that several people had added recent comments — all of them Tom’s friends and family, with whom I now had more than one thing in common.
A year ago I wrote here about my own experience with losing one of my closest friends to suicide. In the days immediately following my friend’s death I dug through all my scrapbooks, photo albums, and journals, trying to find and hold onto every possible reminder of him. Like Tom Taverna’s friends, I trolled the web looking for any possible mention of the person I was missing so desperately. I wanted to be reminded of every little thing he’d ever said, even if it wasn’t to me. I wanted to clutch every remaining piece of his life — every tangible or intangible scrap — in the absence of the real thing. As a result, even random pieces of paper or haphazard mentions of his name felt like a comfort to me. And actual letters from my friend or articles about him — things that said something about his character, said something about the lives he’d touched, or enabled me to picture him more fully again? Those were better than just gifts — those were an actual comfort. It now seems that my post about Tom Taverna has become one of those too.
Words have lives. It is easy to forget this fact. But what appears on the page (or screen) has a life that extends beyond the reach of both the writer and the present time. Who knows what you are capturing when you put your pen to paper or press your fingers to the keyboard? Who knows what lives you are about to touch, change, or capture?
My heart goes out to Tom Taverna’s friends and family. I didn’t know Tom but his singular act of kindness made a permanent impression on me, and I am now so very glad that I took the time and opportunity to write about it.
In some strange cosmic way it appears that maybe I *did* repay Tom for his favor after all.

Strong Spines Redux: Essentials for Standing Out on the Shelf

Elizabeth Bluemle - March 4, 2010

No, you’re not seeing double. New photos of spines have been uploaded in this version of the ghost post from Monday. Since the blog tool changeover at PW caused this post not to be listed in the Children’s Bookshelf or PW Daily, we’re trying again. I took the opportunity to fix some formatting issues and put in much better images of the 2010 ARC spines. So — here goes.
So many booksellers and librarians weighed in on book spines in my recent post, What You Wish They Knew: A Conversation Between Authors, Publishing Folks, and Booksellers, that I realized this was a subject that deserved its own post.
While spines seem less important than front covers, they are in fact often a reader’s first visual impression of a book. (There just isn’t room for most books to be displayed face-out in bookstores and libraries.) Book designers can do a lot to help their books get noticed on a crowded shelf.  From years of staring at spines while shelving books and helping customers find them, booksellers and librarians will probably agree on a few general truisms about spines. (Take these with a grain of salt, of course; sometimes the exceptions to these rules can be striking. But usually, um, not.)
Clear, easy-to-find series numbers are a must on spines. (This was the most often-requested item in the “What You Wish They Knew” post.) As one bookseller commented in that prior post: “Of course, sometimes what was intended to be a stand-alone may later end up becoming a series, but at the very least make it very clear which book came first, second, etc. when the sequel(s) pub.” Booksellers and librarians can’t express heartily enough how often readers get frustrated in their search for these numbers.
High contrast between text and background color = high readability. I know everyone learns this on day one of design school, but sometimes it may get lost in the pursuit of beauty. Which is a choice, but not necessarily a great one for book sales. High contrast and fine art can co-exist, too, of course.
Large fonts really, really stand out, and make a book so much easier to find, it’s absurd.
Keep the author, title, and series elements high on the spine — this one’s for the librarians. All library books need room for spine labels on the bottom 1-2 inches; too often, the label covers up the series number or part of the title.
High contrast between text and background color = high readability. I know everyone learns this on day one of design school, but sometimes it may get lost in the pursuit of beauty. Which is a choice, but not necessarily a great one for book sales. High contrast and fine art can co-exist, too, of course.
Large fonts really, really stand out, and make a book so much easier to find, it’s absurd.
Keep the author, title, and series elements high on the spine — this one’s for the librarians. All library books need room for spine labels on the bottom 1-2 inches; too often, the label covers up the series number or part of the title.

Blume Spine

Consider making the spine color match the front cover. When librarians and booksellers and customers search for books, color is the first thing the eye scans for.

    If a book has a bright yellow cover, we rarely remember that it has a black spine. There are exceptions to this; for example, this edition of Superfudge by Judy Blume (pictured at right) has a bright green cover and a bright orange spine, but the title is so high-contrast, and its font so large and readable, that there’s no danger of losing this title on the shelf.

On ARCs, put the release date clearly on the spine. (Preferably horizontally; ideally though not necessarily along thetop.) This is hugely helpful not only to booksellers, but to book reviewers. Children’s book publishers have become much better than adult trade publishers about doing this, but the few holdouts would really help their books by joining in. One reviewer commenting on the earlier post admitted that she actually has “resorted to tossing out ARCs with no detectable pub date because they muck up my system too much.”
Do some field testing of your own. Visit libraries and bookstores and stare at spines. Offer to help a browsing customer in a book search, and observe what you focus on while you look. Slip a mock-up of your cover in among the books on the shelf where it would actually be found. Not every spine will be at eye level; see what your spine looks like up a shelf, down two shelves, and see how that affects its readability. Forgive me if this is an obvious tip, but it’s sort of like reading your own writing aloud: by experiencing your work in a different context, you can catch things you otherwise might miss.
Watch out for fancy fonts. Titles in script, for example, are rarely readable on a spine.
Images on a spine — pictures or graphic flourishes — can be a great draw for a reader’s eye. However, if the picture is small enough that readers need to squint to see it, it’s probably more effective to spend that spine space on a larger font size for the text.
Use spine colors to help customers differentiate between different volumes of a series. As Joanne Fritz commented in the prior post: “If you print three volumes in a row of a series and use the same color cover, it’s nearly impossible for us to shelve or for customers to distinguish. As an example, check out the spines of Vols 9, 10 and 11 of Guardians of Ga’hoole by Kathryn Lasky. Sorry to single out Scholastic here, because I’m sure all the major publishers are guilty of this. Make each volume a different color than the one before or the one after.”
Metallic inks: These can be tricky. For example, while Beautiful Creatures photographs brightly, its low-contrast color combo (a subtle metallic orchid against black) can almost disappear in normal lighting. Another issue with metallic inks, librarian Maggie mentioned in the prior post, is that “recently we’ve been getting some children’s books with just the spine of the book in a ‘cloth’ material with the title imprinted in metallic ink. That is very unappealing and definitely will not last. Would love to know the reasoning behind that.” Metallic inks engraved on spines can wear off, which isn’t a problem in a bookstore, but can seriously diminish a book’s library appeal.
Which font orientation on the spine is best? We’ve seen great examples of all different styles: traditional left-to-right style, horizontal style, even single-letter drop-style. (This is my term for it; what do designers call it?? In searching for the answer to that question, I came across a fabulous blog by a youth services librarian with a graphic design background: JacketWhys: Children’s and YA Book Covers, which didn’t provide an answer to that question but  featured books with terrific cover and spine designs, and mentioned a font orientation I hadn’t even thought about: diagonal! (It was on an adult title, Michael Dobbs’ One Minute to Midnight. Scroll down his post for a photo.).
Everything’s relative. No two bookshelves will have exactly the same combination of titles next to one another. While you design your books individually, they ‘live’ on shelves collectively, and so some spines that work well in a lineup of one publishing house’s YA shelf might look completely different on a shelf filled with a bunch of books from other houses. The secret lies in creating a strong spine that can withstand a variety of contexts.
I took some photos of a few shelves of 2010 ARCs. Some are taken very close up, some from a few feet away (the distance a bookstore browser is likely to be). Take a look at what pops out at you, what is invisible, what is clear and what is cluttered. Notice how light affects visibility; I included two photos (last two pictured) of the Beautiful Creatures spine, the first with a flash, the second without, so you can see the difference in readability in different lights.  Notice the different font treatments and design elements; some of the most beautiful spines are the hardest to read, and some of the most utilitarian, the easiest. Some books with narrow spines have more readable titles than those on wide spines.
There are so many creative, artistic designs. Book designers, you rock.  Happy browsing, everyone.
Booksellers, librarians, readers, and book designers — what are your spinal thoughts and observations? Array 5Array 2Array 3

3D Diagonal

Spine Problems

Color Myl

Array 3 or 4
Nice Variety
Looking UpLast try
BC with flashBeautiful Creatures

Move Over, MTV – These Readers Rock!

Josie Leavitt - March 3, 2010

Alison Morris alerted me to this book reading video from Ocoee Middle School in Ocoee, Florida. The Black Eyed Peas would be proud. I just love these kids, all happy and reading. It’s wonderful that the school is giving the kids time to create these fun videos about reading. Enjoy.