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Looking Bad Because of Vacations

Josie Leavitt -- March 10th, 2015

There is a rhythm to every day at the bookstore and much of that is determined by when the deliveries come in. These boxes, especially on Tuesday and Friday, have our distributor orders that often contain customer’s special orders. Our customers know this schedule and they notice when things are amiss.

It’s been a hard winter for predictable delivery schedules. Ingram’s Tennessee warehouse was closed for days because of ice. Baker and Taylor’s New Jersey center was socked in by snow, as was Bookazine’s. In the meantime, the weather up in Vermont was just really cold, but not stormy, so people wondered why their books weren’t coming in. People tried to be patient, but grew tired of explanations about the warehouses and their weather situations. They were seeking books to survive the brutally cold winter, so just as their need for books was at its height, we were hindered because of global warming.

The problem came when the weather seemed to be better and books still weren’t coming on the expected schedule. Why weren’t the books coming in? Our regular Fed Ex and UPS  drivers were on vacation, vacations that were well deserved and not begrudged at all. These people work extremely hard in jobs that are not easy. But when the regular man (we don’t have any female drivers) isn’t there, the timing of deliveries is off, sometimes, way off.

We are lucky enough to normally get our shipments by 12:30 (sometime as early as 10:30). This allows us to receive them quickly and call all the special order folks before they need to pick up the kids at school. Generally, we’re not as busy in the morning as we are in the hours between three and six, which allows us to haul through the receiving and focus only on that. In essence, this early unpacking of orders really does allow us to provide next day book delivery. However, when the deliveries come later in the day, it pushes everything back.

This might not sound like an issue, but in fact it’s one of the largest issues we face. When my Fed Ex deliveries show up at 5:15 we have lost the battle of being able to provide overnight delivery. There is no way we can get everything unboxed, received, sorted, shelved and more importantly, we cannot call the special order customers. We’ve talked about this as a store and decided it’s just rude to call someone at five to six, often during dinner,  and tell them their special order is here, but we’re closing in five minutes, so you have to wait until tomorrow anyway. So, books the folks expected on a certain day are now coming in a day later. You wouldn’t think this would be a big deal, but it is. And it’s utterly out of my control, which is the truly maddening part of the whole thing.

All this really serves to do is make appreciate my regular drivers all the more, which is why, come Monday, I’ll be leaping for joy to see Bart and Ray again.

 

Visiting with Old Friends

Josie Leavitt -- March 9th, 2015

The girl walked in, no, she practically skipped to the counter. Her smile was broad and her bright eyes were sparkling. At first I thought she was just having a wonderful day, but no, she was coming to pick her book. The book she’s waited two years for: the final book in the Clementine  series by Sarah Pennypacker. The funny thing is when Bridget got the last new book two years ago, she was a fourth grader. clementineShe has been waiting ever since for the latest and last installment. Now she’s a sixth grader who is older than the target audience for the series about the antics of third grader Clementine.

Here’s the thing: Bridget didn’t care. Bridget wanted to see how the series ended. She paid with her own money, and hugged the book as we got her change. Honestly, she wanted to say goodbye to her book friends, even if they were younger than her, and not something she would pick up now.

It was a bittersweet moment at the register. We could see this child struggling with growing up and not being ready to fully embrace the sixth grader she has become and wanting the comfort of the younger Clementine and the innocence of a third grader’s problems.

I love that Bridget honored her need to read this book. She wasn’t afraid of dipping back into a younger book. Her happiness at spending time with these beloved characters eclipsed anything else. And the real joy with this transaction came when we all overheard at front shout a whispered, “Yes!” as she hugged the book one last time.

 

 

Censors at the Gate?

Elizabeth Bluemle -- March 6th, 2015

see-no-evilEvery day, we’re asked about the age-appropriateness of individual books for the children who come to our store. With 25 years of experience as a teacher, school librarian, and bookseller, I have a pretty solid sense of which books will resonate most with which age ranges. But, oh, there’s a range, and oh, there are dangers.

In books for elementary school-aged kids, parents worry most about ideas and images that might disturb their young ones, cause nightmares or introduce them to issues the parents feel their children aren’t ready for. When we get to books for the tween years and beyond, parents are worried more about sexual content (and sometimes violence, but usually just sex – which is a topic for another post) that their 12-and-ups might encounter on the page.

A number of problematic issues arise when a parent asks, “Is this appropriate for my child?” The first is that we usually don’t know the parameters set by each family. Some parents don’t mind language at all, but want no mention of substance abuse or sex. Or the suggestion of sex is fine as long as it isn’t graphic. Or sex and substance are tolerable if “responsibly handled,” a phrase that itself might be interpreted variously. The variety of preferences held by adults is specific, individual, and takes some nimble, nonjudgmental questioning to suss out. Those are just the adult’s preferences.

Which leads us to the second problematic issue: the young reader has preferences and limits of his or her own, which can lead to some interesting conversations (read: arguments) at the store between parent and child. We booksellers are often pulled in by parents who want us to support their case against reading a book. Booksellers need to be trustworthy for both parents and young readers. If we recommend books parents later decide are too mature, we lose their trust. But if young readers feel we are patronizing them, or colluding in censoring their reading, we lose their trust, and that feels even worse.

We also have our own biases. Every time a 12-year-old picks up a book that we adult booksellers know to have intense scenes or themes, the quandary arises: how much do we say to the customer, and why are we saying it? As former young readers ourselves, we know how often as children we read books way beyond our “age appropriateness,” and we know that those books helped form us – as critical thinkers, as armchair adventurers, as people forming our own identities and opinions. We also know that our child selves read books we might wish we hadn’t, encountered scenes that seared images of horror or devastation or cruelty in our tender brains that perhaps we weren’t ready for. The responsibility feels big to tread this ground thoughtfully.

Add to this mix that we are retailers, who must answer to all of our customers or lose business. We are also viewed as authorities in our field, trusted advisers to readers of all ages, so we take a hit if we miss. And finally, we are fallible, forgetful human beings, who may not remember that a character halfway through a middle grade book drops the F-bomb or, 10 or 15 years after reading a YA title, recall that two campers had sex in a tent. (And is that really our responsibility?) There’s a lot going on with a simple book recommendation.

So how do we toe the line between our strong belief in the rights of readers to choose whatever they want to read for themselves, and helping parents make informed decisions about what they buy at our store? How much do we trust that kids will stop reading what’s too much for them, and skim over mature content they don’t understand?

Personally, I try for a lighthanded approach, aiming to respect both parent and child. Talking with kids about the books they’ve read and loved so far gives me a sense of where their own radar lies, their preferences, their tolerance for challenging topics, darker writing, mature themes. And listening to the ways parents voice their questions and concerns gives me a sense of where their own lines are drawn. It’s not always easy navigating those often conflicting waters, but it’s some of the most important work we do if we are to be welcoming gatekeepers rather than censors.

A Letter of Apology from the State of Maine to Lev Grossman

Kenny Brechner -- March 5th, 2015

It may surprise you to learn that the State of Maine himself has feelings. When I received a heartfelt letter from him it surprised me too.  The letter was not written for me, actually, but rather for Magician’s Trilogy author Lev Grossman, who had written an account last August of his sojourn here in Maine as an aspiring author back in 1991. His account, How Not to Write Your First Novel, related a series of events in which the bleak, empty, unremittingly harsh character of The State of Maine, which was inhabited at that time only by philistines, dank, unlit root cellars, and a handful of resentful buffalo, ultimately resulted in a bitter, soul-crushing epiphany for the young Grossman.

stateofmaine3The State of Maine was not unmoved by this account. He took it to heart and wrote a letter in response which he asked me to post in a public place. I have done so below.

Dear Lev,

First of all, let me just say one thing: I’m sorry. People change, customs and institutions change, landscapes change, States change. I have changed. The sense of deflation you experienced, the extinction of your sense of genius and loss of faith concerning the place of artistry in the firmament of human enterprise, is entirely my fault. If Goethe had been trying to write The Sorrows of Young Werther in Ellsworth in 1991, he would have shot himself rather than killing off Werther. Instead of producing a brilliant, cathartic examination of the perils of romanticism, he would have left behind an insipid, half-completed manuscript on the fruitless yearning of an out-of-state fly fisherman for the wife of his Maine guide. Your self-regard stood no chance. You did admirably. In that furnace of personal depravity which surrounded the outskirts of Ellsworth, to have limited your descent to a few stolen pickles is a remarkable achievement.

You mention that “Maine was trying to teach me something, but I was a slow learner…. I thought that what I knew most about was myself, but I could not have been more wrong. I didn’t know the Public_Library,_Ellsworth,_MEfirst thing about myself, and Maine wasn’t going to teach me. You don’t learn about yourself by being alone, you learn about yourself from other people.” Very true, but allow me to suggest that nowhere is that more true than in rural Maine towns. The issue, which can give rise to the perception of barrenness, insularity, and resultant loneliness, is that in 1991 these communities were monolithic in nature, the town was the only game in town, as it were, and though they had different components, an art scene, snowmobilers and ATVers, they were still a complex but singular whole. To not engage with them was to not breathe the air, to be lonely, to walk around a constricted hundred acres instead of enjoying some of the finest hiking trails in the world just down the road.

image_resize.phpYet, I digress. I talked of change. And I have changed. If you were in Maine today, you would have had a Hyundai, not a Subaru. But it goes even deeper than that. In 1991 small Maine towns were islands in almost every sense. Take bookstores, for example. Rural Maine bookstores were islands unto themselves. When email came to town, even they could exist in multiple communities simultaneously: the local community, the bookselling world, and the publishing community. This growth of community has made a big difference here. It has changed my heart.

You say that “Not a single word I wrote there [in Maine] was ever published. I haven’t once set foot in the state of Maine since then.” But that is not entirely true. You have by proxy. Your books are here, and believe it or not some people living in Maine are very fond of them. There are bookstores here who promote them to the nines. In fact, I venture to say that if you did physically set foot in me again you would see things differently. You have changed, of course, but so have I. We’d be meeting each other halfway.

Sincerely yours,
Statesig

 

The State of Maine

Scratch a Bookseller… Find a Star

Elizabeth Bluemle -- March 3rd, 2015

I admit, I’m a teeny bit reluctant to write this post, because we have a rising star at the Flying Pig, and once she’s discovered by Big Music, she’ll be gone faster than you can say “Norah Jones.” But, as wonderful a bookseller as she is — and she is fabulous! — she is an even better singer/songwriter, the kind of talent that makes you know in your bones you’ll get to say someday, “I knew her when.”

Bloom1

Laura Heaberlin and Cricket Blue band mate Taylor Smith. Photo credit: Kevin Bloom

Her name is Laura Heaberlin, and she’s already won awards as a singer-songwriter. She’s well known in the Vermont indie music world, part of a duo called Cricket Blue. She and male band member Taylor Smith create gorgeous harmonies, write complex and layered lyrics, and spin a haunting, addictive sound. I defy anyone to listen to “Eve and Adam” just once. (You can download their 4-song EP for free at www.cricketbluemusic.com or click on the CD cover image below. The music is really beautiful.)

The reason we’re celebrating Laura’s fab talent today in particular is that Paste Magazine, which is running a 50 State Project rounding up the best of the music scene in each state, just listed “10 Vermont Bands You Should Listen To Now.” Cricket Blue is #3 on the list! Congratulations, Laura!!

Album Front Square

bookstore laura

Laura in bookseller guise.

I will say that the Flying Pig is no stranger to creative talent. Our youngest staff member, David Kerr, is a phenomenal saxophone player who started his college career at Berklee College of Music last fall and is burning up stages all over Boston. Even in high school, he practiced six hours a day; seasoned musicians invited him to gig even before he started shaving. If you’re a die-hard jazz fan, I predict you will be hearing his name in the not-so-distant future.

Also on the star roster is our first-ever employee, Emily Raabe, an award-winning poet and now a children’s book novelist and feature writer for major media. And of course, Josie Leavitt has twice won the coveted Vermont’s Funniest Stand-Up Comic award (an annual people’s choice award sponsored by the alt weekly, Seven Days), and has a vibrant life as a standup comedian and teacher.

I think if you polled indie bookstores all over the country, you’d find a similar story. Creative people tend to be eclectic readers, drawn to books and ideas and the multitude of worlds found in the millions of pages found in bookstores. So many writers and illustrators worked in bookstores before their careers took off, and I know of filmmakers and actors, as well, who were once booksellers.

So let’s hear it: indie colleagues, what creative brilliance will you boast on your staff, past or present? Feel free to brag about your booksellers here!

Not All Change Is Good

Josie Leavitt -- March 2nd, 2015

I haven’t ranted in a bit, so the time felt right for a fresh bit of ire. Let’s talk about book covers for a minute, and publishers’ need to keep changing them. I understand sometimes the need for shifting a book’s image once the paperback comes out, but the re-doing of covers of books that have been out for years in paperback often leaves me flat or just plain scratching my head. Here’s the thing: I could no more design a book cover than I could perform surgery. It’s a complex process that requires infinite skill and artistry and I’m in awe of what book designers can do. And so often, I’m stunned by the genius in the covers. But as a bookseller who has to field question after question about why a beloved cover has changed, not being able to offer an explanation is maddening.

princessacademyTake for instance Princess Academy  by Shannon Hale, a book that I adore and sell well at my store. The old cover is on the left. I looked up the age range for this edition of the book and it says ages 9-11, which strikes me as young, since the protagonist is 14. However, the font is mature, and fitting for a fantasy about princesses and an academy, even a makeshift one. It all seems very real and somewhat serious, and the girl looks intelligent and seems like she can take care of herself. She doesn’t look like a 14-year-old, though, which was my only complaint about this cover.

When I heard they were redesigning the newprincesscover, I was expecting something that looked even older. Instead, the new cover is even younger. The font is almost cartoonish and Miri looks even younger. Certainly she doesn’t look like a 14-year-old, more like a 10-year-old. And the light coming from behind the her, illuminating the seemingly hallowed halls of the Academy, somehow remind me of Harry Potter and Hogwarts. I looked up the age range on this new cover, fully expecting it to be the same as the other cover and was very surprised to see that it’s listed as actually older, for 10- to 14-year-olds. This doesn’t make sense to me; everything about this cover skews younger. I understand why things need to be updated, but sometimes I wish publishers would ask booksellers’ opinion before they change covers.

IMG_4166While the changes in Princess Academy are relatively minor, sometimes there’s a massive change in covers that I just don’t grasp. I loved the Nancy Drew books when I was a child. The iconic yellow and blue paper over board covers, with their slight sheen, always had me excited for the next mystery adventure. It never occurred to me that these covers would change, but change they did. Gone is the bright yellow and the deep blue, to be replaced with muted russets and murky blues. In the old cover, Nancy is taking a clock apart. She looks active and smart. She looks like someone who is capable and somewhat fearless.

IMG_4165The new cover shows Nancy’s face in profile with her long scarf leading down the road to the motor home. This imagery has led more than one customer to comment that it looks like her scarf is wound up in the vehicle thus possibly replicating an Isodora Duncan-like possible death. This new Nancy looks like she needs help to cross the road, let alone being able to solve a complex mystery. She’s not dressed for mystery, she looks like she’s ready to hop in a convertible and go for a spin on her way to the flapper dance hall.

In my very non-scientific poll, not one customer, young or old, has liked the new cover. Some of that is nostalgia, of course, but the reactions are pretty visceral. The new cover with its cursive title, doesn’t match the interior font, which has not changed. As one customer said, “The title font isn’t having a conversation with the rest of the book.” But the thing that’s making people nuts is the passivity of the new cover and the lack of focus.

So readers, what do you think of the cover changes? And, has any cover redesign left you bereft for the old book?

 

Vacation Reading: How to Choose the Right Books

Josie Leavitt -- February 27th, 2015

I don’t get to go away too often. Vacations, the real kind, with sun and sand, seem to be an every two year or more occurrence. Happily for me, I’m in the beach cycle this year. As I pack for my trip the hardest question isn’t what clothing to bring, it’s what books to pack. Yes, I said books. I don’t have an ereader, and while I understand the benefit of them now, as I am forced to choose what books to bring, I wouldn’t have it any another way. I love the feel of a book on vacation at the beach. I do not WallFon.com_12771want to be tied to a device, any device, while I am on a beach, so I happily will pack a few books.The particular bend a book gets when it’s been read in the sand and sun, the random stains of sunblock, the spill of a beer carelessly dropped on the cover, these all tell the story of the book, and I love that.

Books have to match my mood, or the mood I think I’ll be in when I start reading. This is true pretty much every day, but never more so than on vacation where this is a limited selection of books to choose from. So, I have spent much time going through the galley shelves at the bookstore carefully trying to match my need for escapist fun with well-written, well-plotted books that will engage me during a whole day of reading by the water. Now for the fun part, or the sad part depending on what books I have to leave behind: choosing the books that make it in my carry-on. I have chosen adult books for this trip for two reasons: they are longer so one adult book is going to last for more days than a kids’ book, and I don’t get read adult as often, so this is a real treat for me. 

When I only have room for three books, what makes the cut is so hard. The new Ann Packer, The Children’s Crusade, is already in the bag. I was a big fan of her earlier book, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, so that was easy. Now I have room for two more. The question I’m grappling with is, do I want a mystery (that’s almost always a yes for me) or something more sweeping and epic, or a short story collection that might lend itself to the wandering brain I usually have on vacation? Oh, the choices! Knowing myself as a reader is helpful, but still I need to weigh the balance of known authors versus taking a chance on an unknown and perhaps brilliant author? My second book is from Lauren Holmes, Barbara the Slut and Other People. A short story collection that looks very good, and seems to have a good mix of funny, poignant, and sexy.

The last book is more problematic. I have four books on the dining room table to choose from. One mystery, two books that promise to be “epics,” and another short story collection. I keep waffling between the mystery, A Good Killing and Kelly Link’s Get in Trouble. Here’s the real issue when a bookseller goes on vacation: do I read something that’s already out, or do I “discover” something new that’s not coming out for months? I don’t fly out until tomorrow morning, so I will delay deciding until tonight. And that leaves me one thing to pack right now: my reading glasses!

So, vacationing readers: how do you choose your books for vacation? And what do you choose?

Costume Character Advice Forum

Kenny Brechner -- February 26th, 2015

We are all aware that to better ourselves as booksellers, and as human beings, we need to try new things, to have different experiences. 20thanniversarypartyThe opportunity to follow that well-trodden wisdom presented itself to me with the offer of having a costumed character for a Children’s Book Week event. The world of costume character events is a blank portion of the map for us. True, we had done elaborate costume events for Harry Potter releases and we had all dressed as literary characters for our 20th anniversary party. Still, I’m fairly certain that everyone at the anniversary party grasped that I wasn’t really Jeeves.

The first thing to do though was to determine if any of the characters on offer made sense to us. The first one on the list that caught my eye was the Pout Pout Fish. This was intriguing because it could give me the opportunity of putting my Macmillan rep, Ellen Pyle, on  the spot. Pout-Pout-FishEllen is a huge Pout Pout Fish fan and it occurred to me that I could challenge her to back that up by wearing the costume. After closely considering that scheme I decided against it, largely because she might have said yes, something that was guaranteed to be memorable but also possibly a health risk.

Our deliberations were trending downward when one of my staff, Nicole, a college student who is very adult oriented in her literature reading, announced that The Poky Little Puppy had been a favorite book of her childhood, and that she was ready to step up and represent. That had been my top choice too. We were in.

I have a lot of questions about the whole thing, though, and I’m hoping that those of you who have costume character experience will chime in and answer. Are the costumes humane to wear? Could someone in a costume read a book to kids, or participate in a read aloud somehow? What are some of the best and worst experiences you’ve had with them? Tips, cautionary tales, avowals of personal growth and character development? Lay them on us!

The Stars So Far (Through February 2015)

Elizabeth Bluemle -- February 24th, 2015

Hello, ShelfTalker readers! It’s time for a new year of starred reviews. The Stars So Far is a project in which I foolishly decide to gather all of the year’s starred reviews for children’s and YA books from BooklistThe Bulletin of the Center for Children’s BooksHorn BookKirkusPublishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. (In the next update, I’ll add 5Q5P titles from VOYA – Voice of Youth Advocates. I didn’t do VOYA last year, and I missed their input, so I’m adding them back in. Hooray!).

Please note: starred reviews are counted only when they have been officially printed by the review magazines, so if your book has an upcoming star, never fear; it will be included in a future update.

This is a detail-laden process, and as careful as I try to be, there will be bobbles here and there. If you want the cleanest, most comprehensive version of this list, check back here several days after the original post, when I’ll have been able to make any fixes. Publishers, please alert me to any oversights at ebluemle AT publishersweekly.com, including the review sources and dates for the starred reviews. Thanks!

Receiving a starred review is a wonderful honor for a book and its creators. We hope this list will be a handy resource for readers and buyers of all stripes — and that it won’t cause readers to overlook fabulous books that haven’t happened to receive a star. Sometimes, those are children’s very favorite books. So — read widely, read often, and stop binge-watching M*A*S*H. (That last was a note to myself.) Oh, and please consider ordering your books from indie bookstores!

FIVE STARS

Challenger Deep. Neal Shusterman, illus. by Brendan Shusterman. HarperTeen, $17.99 ISBN 9780061134111

Earmuffs for Everyone! How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs. Meghan McCarthy. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99. ISBN 9781481406376

Supertruck. Stephen Savage. Roaring Brook/Porter, $12.99. ISBN 9781596438217

Tightrope Walkers, The. David Almond. Candlewick, $17.99 ISBN 9780763673109

X. Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763669676

 FOUR STARS

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary. Gail Jarrow. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, $16.95 ISBN 9781620915974

Roller Girl. Victoria Jamieson. Dial, $12.99 pb ISBN 9780803740167

Wolfie the Bunny. Ame Dyckman, illus. by Zachariah OHora. Little, Brown, $17 ISBN 9780316226141

THREE STARS

Alex Crow, The. Andrew Smith. Dutton, $18.99 ISBN 9780525426530

All the Bright Places. Jennifer Niven. Knopf, $17.99 ISBN 9780385755887

Bunker Diary, The. Kevin Brooks. Carolrhoda, $17.99 ISBN 9781467754200

Case for Loving, The: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. Selina Alko, illus. by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Scholastic/Levine, $16.99. ISBN 9780545478533

Counting Crows. Kathi Appelt, illus. by Rob Dunlavey. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 ISBN 9781442423275

Dead I Know, The. Scot Gardner. HMH, $17.99 ISBN 9780544232747

Death of the Hat, The: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects. Paul B. Janeczko, illus. by Chris Raschka. Candlewick, $17.99 ISBN 9780763669638

Echo. Pam Muñoz Ryan. Scholastic Press, $19.99 ISBN 9780439874021

FDR and the American Crisis. Albert Marrin. Knopf, $24.99 ISBN 9780385753593

Fine Dessert, A: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat. Emily Jenkins, illus. by Sophie Blackall. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $20.99 ISBN 9780375868320

Ghosts of Heaven, The. Marcus Sedgwick. Roaring Brook, $17.99 ISBN 9781626721258

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America. Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Jamey Christoph. Albert Whitman, $16.99 ISBN 9780807530177

Grasshopper and the Ant, The. Jerry Pinkney. Little, Brown, $18 ISBN 9780316400817

Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go. Laura Rose Wagner. Abrams/Amulet, $17.95 ISBN 9781419712043

Last Stop on Market Street. Matt de la Peña, illus. by Christian Robinson. Putnam, $16.99 ISBN 9780399257742

Listen, Slowly. Thanhhà Lai. Harper, $16.99 ISBN 9780062229182

Little Red Riding Hood. The Brothers Grimm. Minedition, $29.99 ISBN 9789888240791

Maine Coon’s Haiku, The. Michael J. Rosen, illus. by Lee White. Candlewick, $17.99 ISBN 9780763664923

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France. Mara Rockliff, illus. by Iacopo Bruno. Candlewick, $17.99 ISBN 9780763663513

Mosquitoland. David Arnold. Viking, $17.99 ISBN 9780451470775

P. Zonka Lays an Egg. Julie Paschkis. Peachtree, $16.95 ISBN 9781561458196

Raindrops Roll. April Pulley Sayre. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 ISBN 9781481420648

Razorhurst. Justine Larbalestier. Soho Teen, $18.99 ISBN 9781616955441

Shadow Scale. Rachel Hartman. Random, $18.99 ISBN 9780375866579

Sidewalk Flowers. JonArno Lawson, illus. by Sydney Smith. House of Anansi/Groundwood, $16.95 ISBN 9781554984312

Stella by Starlight. Sharon M. Draper. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 ISBN 9781442494978

Truth Commission, The. Susan Juby. Viking, $18.99 ISBN 9780451468772

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley. Lynda Blackmon Lowery, illus. by PJ Loughran. Dial, $19.99 ISBN 9780803741232

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted a Million Trees. Franck Praevot, illus. by Aurelia Fronty. Charlesbridge, $17.95 ISBN 9781580896269

War That Saved My Life, The. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Dial, $16.99 ISBN 9780803740815

TWO STARS

28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World. Charles R. Smith, Jr., illus. by Shane W. Evans. Roaring Brook, $18.99 ISBN 9781596438200

Ambush of Tigers, An: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns. Betsy R. Rosenthal, illus. by Jago. Millbrook, $19.99 ISBN 9781467714648

Audacity. Melanie Crowder. Philomel, $17.99 ISBN 9780399168994

Bear Ate Your Sandwich, The. Julia Sarcone-Roach. Knopf, $16.99 ISBN 9780375858604

Beastkeeper. Cat Hellisen. Henry Holt, $16.99 ISBN 9780805099805

Bird & Diz. Gary Golio, illus. by Ed Young. Candlewick, $19.99 9780763666606

Blackbird Fly. Erin Entrada Kelly. Greenwillow, $16.99 ISBN 9780062238610

Bone Gap. Laura Ruby. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 ISBN 9780062317605

Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, The: Young Readers Edition. William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, illus. by Anna Hymas. Dial, $16.99 9780803735118

By Mouse and Frog. Deborah Freedman. Viking, $16.99 ISBN 9780670784905

Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony, Inspired by Historical Facts. Nikki Grimes, illus. by Michele Wood. Scholastic/Orchard, $18.99 ISBN 9780439793384

Cuckoo Song. Frances Hardinge. Abrams/Amulet, $17.95 ISBN 9781419714801

Deep Sea. Annika Thor, trans. from the Swedish by Linda Schenck. Delacorte, $17.99 ISBN 9780385743853

Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews. Kathleen Benson, illus. by Benny Andrews. Clarion, $16.99 ISBN 9780544104877

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music. Margarita Engle. HMH, $16.99 ISBN 9780544102293

Eden West. Pete Hautman. Candlewick, $17.99 ISBN 9780763674182

Elvis: The Story of the Rock and Roll King. Bonnie Christensen. Holt/Ottaviano, $17.99 ISBN 9780805094473

Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred). Josh Schneider. Clarion, $16.99 ISBN 9780544339248

Finding Serendipity. Angelica Banks. Holt, $16.99 ISBN 9781627791540

Finding Spring. Carin Berger. Greenwillow, $17.99 ISBN 9780062250193

First Snow. Peter McCarty. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 ISBN 9780062189967

Fish in a Tree. Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 ISBN 9780399162596

Founding Fathers, The! Those Horse-Ridin’, Fiddle-Playin’, Book-Readin’, Gun-Totin’ Gentlemen Who Started America. Jonah Winter, illus. by Barry Blitt. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 ISBN 9781442442740

Game of Love and Death, The. Martha Brockenbrough. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 ISBN 9780545668347

Gingerbread for Liberty! How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution. Mara Rockliff, illus. by Vincent X. Kirsch. HMH, $16.99 ISBN 9780544130012

Gone Crazy in Alabama. Rita Williams-Garcia. HarperCollins/Amistad, $16.99 ISBN 9780062215871

Great War, The: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War. David Almond, John Boyne, Tracy Chevalier et al., illus. by Jim Kay. Candlewick, $19.99 ISBN 9780763675547

Half a Man. Michael Morpurgo. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763677473

Half Wild. Sally Green. Viking, $18.99 ISBN 9780670017133

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story. David Levithan. Dutton, $17.99 ISBN 9780525428848

Home. Carson Ellis. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763665296

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise. Sean Taylor, illus. by Jean Jullien. Candlewick, $15.99 ISBN 9780763675783

Imaginary, The. A.F. Harrold, illus. by Emily Gravett. Bloomsbury, $16.99 ISBN 9780802738110

Infandous. Elana K. Arnold. Carolrhoda/Lab, $18.99 ISBN 9781467738491

It’s Only Stanley. Jon Agee. Dial, $17.99 ISBN 9780803739079

Lucky Strike. Bobbie Pyron. Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 ISBN 9780545592178

March: Book 2. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illus. by Nate Powell. Top Shelf, $19.95 ISBN 9781603094009

Meet the Dullards. Sara Pennypacker, illus. by Daniel Salmieri. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 ISBN 9780062198563

Moonpenny Island. Tricia Springstubb, illus. by Gilbert Ford. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 ISBN 9780062112934

Murder Is Bad Manners (A Wells & Wong Mystery). Robin Stevens. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 ISBN 9781481422123

My Bike. Byron Barton. Greenwillow, $16.99 ISBN 9780062336996

My Pen. Christopher Myers. DisneyHyperion, $16.99 ISBN 9781423103714

Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. Collected by Elizabeth Hammill. Candlewick, $21.99 ISBN 9780763677299

Penderwicks in Spring, The. Jeanne Birdsall. Knopf, $16.99 ISBN 9780375870774

Poem in Your Pocket, A. Margaret McNamara, illus. by G. Brian Karas. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 ISBN 9780307979476

Popcorn Astronauts, The: And Other Biteable Rhymes. Deborah Ruddell, illus. by Joan Rankin. S&S/McElderry, $17.99 ISBN 9781442465558

Potato King, The. Christoph Niemann. Owlkids, $17.95 ISBN 9781771471398

Question of Miracles, The. Elana K. Arnold. HMH, $16.99 ISBN 9780544334649

Red Butterfly. A.L. Sonnichsen, illus. by Amy June Bates. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 ISBN 9781481411097

Sand Swimmers: The Secret Life of Australia’s Desert Wilderness. Narelle Oliver. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763667610

Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama. Hester Bass, illus. by E.B. Lewis. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763669195

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Becky Albertalli. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 ISBN 9780062348678

Smek for President! Adam Rex. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 ISBN 9781484709511

Smick! Doreen Cronin, illus. by Juana Medina. Viking, $16.99 ISBN 9780670785780

Such a Little Mouse. Alice Schertle, illus. by Stephanie Yue. Scholastic/Orchard, $16.99 ISBN 9780545649292

Sweep Up the Sun. Helen Frost, photos by Rick Lieder. Candlewick, $15.99 ISBN 9780763669041

Thickety, The: The Whispering Trees. J.A. White, illus. by Andrea Offermann. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 ISBN 9780062257291

Trap, The. Steven Arnston. HMH, $16.99 ISBN 9780547824086

Trombone Shorty. Troy Andrews, illus. by Bryan Collier. Abrams, $17.99 ISBN 9781419714658

Under a Painted Sky. Stacey Lee. Putnam, $16.99 ISBN 9780399168031

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer. Kelly Jones, illus. by Katie Kath. Knopf, $16.99 ISBN 9780385755528

Use Your Words, Sophie! Rosemary Wells. Viking, $16.99 ISBN 9780670016631

Walls Around Us, The. Nova Ren Suma. Algonquin, $17.95 ISBN 9781616203726

We All Looked Up. Tommy Wallach. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 ISBN 9781481418775

When Otis Courted Mama. Kathi Appelt, illus. by Jill McElmurry. HMH, $16.99 ISBN 9780152166885

Whisper, The (The Riverman Trilogy: Book 2). Aaron Starmer. FSG, $16.99 ISBN 9780374363116

Wonderful Year, A. Nick Bruel. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 ISBN 9781596436114

Yard Sale. Eve Bunting. Candlewick, $15.99 ISBN 9780763665425

ONE STAR

Abe Lincoln: His Wit and Wisdom from A-Z. Alan Schroeder. Holiday House, $17.95 ISBN 9780823424207

All the Rage. Courtney Summers. St. Martin’s Griffin, $18.99 ISBN 9781250021915

Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, The. Chris Barton, illus. by Don Tate. Eerdmans, $17 ISBN 9780802853790

Ares: Bringer of War (Olympians #7). George O’Connor. First Second, $16.99 hc, $9.99 pb ISBN hc 9781626720145 ISBN pb 9781626720138

Ask Me. Bernard Waber, illus. by Suzy Lee. HMH, $16.99 ISBN 9780547733944

Baby Swap, The. Jan Ormerod, illus. by Andrew Joyner. S&S/Little Simon, $16.99 ISBN 9781481419147

Bayou Magic. Jewell Parker Carhodes. Little, Brown, $17 ISBN 9780316224840

Bear and Duck. Katy Hudson. HarperCollins, $17.99 ISBN 9780062320513

Beast Keeper. Lucy Coats, illus. by Brett Bean. Grosset & Dunlap, $5.99 pb ISBN 9780448461939

Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It. Loree Griffin Burns. HMH, $18.99 ISBN 9780547792675

Ben Draws Trouble. Matt Davies. Roaring Brook, $17.99 ISBN: 9781596437951

Black Dove, White Raven. Elizabeth Wein. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 ISBN 9781423183105

Blown Away. Rob Biddulph. HarperCollins, $17.99 ISBN 9780062367242

Book of Storms, The. Ruth Hatfield, illus. by Greg Call. Henry Holt, $16.99 ISBN 9780805099980

Boy & the Book, The. David Michael Slater, illus. by Bob Kolar. Charlesbridge, $16.95 ISBN 9781580895620

Boy in the Black Suit, The. Jason Reynolds. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 ISBN 9781442459502

Boy Who Lost Fairyland, The. Catherynne M. Valente, illus. by Ana Juan. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 ISBN 9781250023490

Boys Don’t Knit. T.S. Easton. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 ISBN 9781250053312

Breaking Sky. Cor McCarthy. Sourcebooks Fire, $16.99 ISBN 9781492601418

Burning Nation (Divided We Fall, Book 2). Trent Reedy. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 ISBN 9780545548731

Bus Ride, The. Marianne Dubuc. Kids Can, $15.95 ISBN 9781771382090

Button Hill. Michael Bradford. Orca, $9.95 ISBN 9781459807556

Capital Days: Michael Shiner’s Journal and the Growth of Our Nation’s Capital. Tonya Bolden. Abrams, $21.95 ISBN 9781419707339

Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, The (A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery). Robin Newman, illus. by Deborah Zemke. Creston, $15.95 ISBN 9781939547170

Castle Hangnail. Ursula Vernon. Dial, $16.99 ISBN 9780803741294

Cat & Bunny. Mary Lundquist. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 ISBN 9780062287809

Catch You Later, Traitor. Avi. Algonquin, $16.95 ISBN 9781616203597

Chicken Followed Me Home, A!: Questions and Answers About a Familiar Fowl. Robin Page. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 ISBN 9781481410281

Chosen Prince, The. Diane Stanley. Harper, $16.99 ISBN 9780062248978

Cold Legacy, A. Megan Shepherd. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 ISBN 9780062128089

Cottage in the Woods, The. Katherine Coville. Knopf, $16.9. ISBN 9780385755733

Crown Affair, The: From the Files of a HardBoiled Detective. Jeanie Franz Ransom, illus. by Stephen Axelsen. Charlesbridge, $16.95 ISBN 9781580895521

Darkest Part of the Forest, The. Holly Black. Little, Brown, $18 ISBN 9780316213073

Dear Mr. Washington. Lynn Cullen, illus. by Nancy Carpenter. Dial, $16.99 ISBN 9780803730380

Detective Gordon: The First Case. Ulf Nilsson. Gecko Press, $16.99 ISBN 9781927271490

Distance Between Lost and Found, The. Kathryn Holmes. HarperTeen, $17.99 ISBN 9780062317261

Door in the Moon, The (Obsidian Mirror). Catherine Fisher. Dial, $17.99 ISBN 9780803739710

Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans, A. Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, illus. by Mary GrandPré. Crown, $15.99 ISBN 9780385392280

Ember in the Ashes, An. Sabaa Tahir. Razorbill, $19.95 ISBN 9781595148032

Every Last Promise. Kristin Halbrook. HarperTeen, $9.99 pb ISBN 9780062121288

Fetch. Jorey Hurley. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 ISBN 9781442489691

Finding the Worm. Mark Goldblatt. Random House, $16.99 ISBN 9780385391085

First There Was Forever. Juliana Romano. Dial, $17.99 ISBN 9780803741683

Firstborn. Tor Seidler. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 ISBN 9781481410175

Flutter & Hum: Animal Poems/Aleteo y Zumbido: Poemas de Animales. Julie Paschkis. Holt, $17.99 ISBN 9781627791038

Fort. Cynthia DeFelice. FSG, $16.99 ISBN 9780374324278

Girl at Midnight, The. Melissa Grey. Delacorte, $17.99 ISBN 9780385744652

Great Good Summer, The. Liz Garton Scanlon. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 ISBN 9781481411479

Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel (Tyme #1). Megan Morrison. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 ISBN 9780545638265

Growing Up Pedro. Matt Tavares. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763668242

Hellhole. Gina Damico. HMH, $17.99 ISBN 9780544307100

High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs. Lisa Kahn Schnell, illus. by Alan Marks. Charlesbridge, $16.95 ISBN 9781580896047

Hippos Are Huge! Jonathan London, illus. by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763665920

Honest Truth, The. Dan Gemeinhart. Scholastic Press, $16.99 ISBN 9780545665735

I Am the Wolf… and Here I Come! Bénédicte Guettier, trans. from the French by Penelope Todd. Gecko Press, $14.95 ISBN 9781877579424

I Don’t Want to Be a Frog. Dev Petty, illus. by Mike Boldt. Doubleday, $16.99 ISBN 9780385378666

I Was Here. Gayle Forman. Viking, $18.99 ISBN 9780451471475

I’ll Meet You There. Heather Demetrios. Holt, $17.99 ISBN 9780805097955

If You Find This. Matthew Baker. Little, Brown, $17 ISBN 9780316240086

In. Nikki McClure. Abrams Appleseed, $16.95 ISBN 9781419714863

In a Village by the Sea. Muon Van, illus. by April Chu. Creston, $16.95 ISBN 9781939547156

Kidney Hypothetical, The: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days. Lisa Yee. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 ISBN 9780545230940

Last Leaves Falling, The. Sarah Benwell. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 ISBN 9781481430654

Last Time We Say Goodbye, The. Cynthia Hand. HarperTeen, $17.99 ISBN 9780062318473

League of Beastly Dreadfuls, The. Holly Grant. Random House, $16.99 ISBN 9780385370073

Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Football. Howard Bryant. Philomel, $16.99 ISBN 9780399169045

Liars, Inc. Paula Stokes. HarperTeen, $17.99 ISBN 9780062323286

Lies I Told. Michelle Zink. HarperTeen, $17.99 ISBN 9780062327123

Like a River: A Civil War Novel. Kathy Cannon Wiechman. Calkins Creek, $17.95 ISBN 9781629792095

Little Mouse Santi, The. David Eugene Ray. Bienville Ray LLC, $15 ISBN 9780692252253

Little Red Henry. Linda Urban, illus. by Madeline Valentine. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763661762

Look! Jeff Mack. Philomel, $16.99 ISBN 9780399162053

Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure. Nadja Spiegelman. Illus. by Sergio Garcia Sanchez. Candlewick/Toon, $16.95 ISBN 9781935179818

Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl & Random Boy, The. Marie Jaskulka. Sky Pony Press, $16.99 ISBN 9781632204264

Lost Track of Time, The. Paige Britt, illus. by Lee White. Scholastic Press, $17.99 ISBN 9780545538121

Luck Uglies, The: ForkTongue Charmers. Paul Durham. Harper, $16.99 ISBN 9780062271532

Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy. Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, illus. by Brooke Allen & Shannon Watters. Boom! Studios, $14.99 ISBN 9781608866878

Lunch Witch, The. Deb Lucke. Papercutz, $14.99 pb ISBN 9781629911625

Magonia. Maria Dahvana Headley. Harper, $17.99 ISBN 9780062320520

Mahalia Jackson. Nina Nolan, illus. by John Holyfield. HarperCollins/Amistad, $17.99 ISBN 9780060879440

Mama Seeton’s Whistle. Jerry Spinelli, illus. by LeUyen Pham. Little, Brown, $17 ISBN 9780316122177

Marilyn’s Monster. Michelle Knudsen, illus. by Matt Phelan. Candlewick, $15.99 ISBN 9780763660116

Mark of the Thief. Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic Press, $17.99 ISBN 9780545561549

Masterminds. Gordon Korman. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 ISBN 9780062299963

Max’s Math. Kate Banks, illus. by Boris Kulikov. FSG/Foster, $17.99 ISBN 9780374348755

Messengers, The. Edward Hogan. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763671129

Monkey Wars. Richard Kurti. Delacorte, $17.99 ISBN 9780385744416

Monty’s Magnificent Mane. Gemma O’Neill. Candlewick/Templar, $15.99 ISBN 9780763675936

Moon Bear. Gill Lewis, illus. by Alessandro Gottardo. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 ISBN 9781481400947

Ms. Rapscott’s Girls. Elise Primavera. Dial, $16.99 ISBN 9780803738225

My Heart and Other Black Holes. Jasmine Warga. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 ISBN 9780062324672

My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth. Ann Turner, illus. by James Ransome. HarperCollins, $17.99 ISBN 9780060758981

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay. Cari Best, illus. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. FSG, $17.99 ISBN 9780374388195

New Shoes. Susan Lynn Meyer, illus. by Eric Velasquez. Holiday House, $16.95 ISBN 9780823425280

New Small Person, The. Lauren Child. Candlewick, $17.99 ISBN 9780763678104

Octopuses!: Strange and Wonderful. Laurence Pringle, illus. by Mary Henderson. Boyds Mills, $16.95 ISBN 9781590789285

One Family. George Shannon, illus. by Blanca Gomez. FSG, $17.99 ISBN 9780374300036

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Caesey and the Recycling Women of the Gambia. Miranda Paul, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon. Millbrook, $19.99 ISBN 9781467716086

Orangutanka: A Story in Poems. Margarita Engle, illus. by Renée Kurilla. Holt, $17.99 ISBN 9780805098396

Orphan Army, The (Nightsiders #1). Jonathan Maberry. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 ISBN 9781481415750

Paper Things. Jennifer Richard Jacobson. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763663230

Peep and Ducky Rainy Day. David Martin, illus. by David Walker. Candlewick, $14.99 ISBN 9780763668846

Polaris. Mindee Arnett. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 ISBN 9780062235626

Prairie Fire. E.K. Johnston. Carolrhoda, $18.99 ISBN 9781467739092

Prickly Jenny. Sibylle Delacroix, trans. from the French by Karen Li. Owlkids, $16.95 ISBN 9781771471299

Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters. Shannon Hale. Bloomsbury, $17.99 ISBN 9781619634855

Princess Pistachio. Marie-Louise Gay. Pajama Press, $10.95 ISBN 9781927485699

Queen’s Shadow, The: A Story About How Animals See. Cybèlé Young. Kids Can, $16.95 ISBN 9781894786607

Read Between the Lines. Jo Knowles. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763663872

Ready Rabbit Gets Ready! Brenna Maloney, photos by Chuck Kennedy. Viking, $16.99 ISBN 9780670015498

Red: A Crayon’s Story. Michael Hall. Greenwillow, $17.99 ISBN 9780062252074

Remembering Inez: The Last Campaign of Inez Milholland, Suffrage Martyr. Robert P.J. Cooney, Jr. American Graphic,. $14.95 ISBN 9780977009527

Return to Augie Hobble. Lane Smith. Roaring Brook, $16.99 ISBN 9781626720541

Rhymoceros. Janik Coat. Abrams Appleseed, $15.95 ISBN 9781419715143

Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters. M.J. Beaufrand. Abrams/Amulet, $16.95 ISBN 9781419714955

Rodeo Red. Maripat Perkins, illus. by Molly Idle. Peachtree, $16.95 ISBN 9781561458165

Saint Anything. Sarah Dessen. Viking, $19.99 ISBN 9780451474704

Salt & Stone. Victoria Scott. Scholastic, $17.99 ISBN 9780545537483

See You Next Year. Andrew Larson, illus. by Todd Stewart. Owlkids, $16.95 ISBN 9781926973999

Shadow Cabinet, The (Shades of London #3). Maureen Johnson. Putnam, $17.99 ISBN 9780399256622

Shadow of the War Machine (Secret Order #3). Kristin Bailey. Simon Pulse, $17.99 ISBN 9781442468054

Should You Be a River: A Poem About Love. Ed Young. Little, Brown, $18 ISBN 9780316230896

Sin Eater’s Daughter, The. Melinda Salisbury. Scholastic Press, $17.99 ISBN 9780545810623

Six. M.M. Vaughan. S&S/McElderry, $16.99 ISBN 9781481420693

Small Elephant’s Bathtime. Tatyana Feeney. Knopf, $16.99 ISBN 9780553497212

Sona and the Wedding Game. Kashmira Sheth, illus. by Yoshiko Jaeggi. Peachtree, $16.95 ISBN 9781561457359

Soulprint. Megan Miranda. Bloomsbury, $17.99 ISBN 9780802737748

Special Delivery. Philip C. Stead. illus. by Matthew Cordell. Roaring Brook/Porter, $17.99 ISBN 9781596439313

Spots in a Box. Helen Ward. Candlewick/Templar, $16.99 ISBN 9780763675974

Start of Me and You, The. Emery Lord. Bloomsbury, $17.99 ISBN 9781619633599

Stick and Stone. Beth Ferry, illus. by Tom Lichtenfeld. HMH, $16.99 ISBN 9780544032569

Stolen Moon, The (Lost Planet #2). Rachel Searles. Feiwel and Friends, $15.99 ISBN 9781250038807

Story Thieves. James Riley. S&S/Aladdin, $16.99 ISBN 9781481409193

Strange Wilderness, This: The Life and Art of John James Audubon. Nancy Plain. University of Nebraska Press, $19.95 ISBN 9780803248847

Super Fly: The World’s Smallest Superhero! Todd H. Doodler. Bloomsbury, $14.99 ISBN 9781619633797

Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other), The. Geoff Rodkey. Little, Brown, $13.99 ISBN 9780316297790

Terrorist: Gavrilo Princip, the Assassin Who Ignited World War I. Henrik Rehr. Lerner/Graphic Universe, $11.99 pb ISBN 9781467772846

There Will Be Lies. Nick Lake. Bloomsbury, $17.99 ISBN 9781619634404

This Side of Home. Renee Watson. Bloomsbury, $17.99 ISBN 9781599906683

Tiger Boy. Mitali Perkins, illus. by Jamie Hogan. Charlesbridge, $14.95 ISBN 9781580896603

Tragic Age, The. Stephen Metcalfe. St. Martin’s Griffin, $18.99 ISBN 9781250054418

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. Greg Pizzoli. Viking, $17.99 ISBN 9780670016525

Troto and the Trucks. Uri Shulevitz. FSG, $16.99 ISBN 9780374300807

Turtle and Me. Robie H. Harris, illus. by Tor Freeman. Little Bee, $16.99 ISBN 9781499800463

Undertow. Michael Buckley. HMH, $18.99 ISBN 9780544348257

Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, The. Teresa Toten. Delacorte, $17.99 ISBN 9780553507867

Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army. Georg Rauch, trans. from the German by Phyllis Rauch. FSG, $17.99 ISBN 9780374301422

Vanishing Girls. Lauren Oliver. Harper, $18.99 ISBN 9780062224101

Vivian Apple at the End of the World. Katie Coyle. HMH, $17.99 ISBN 9780544340114

Way Home Looks Now, The. Wendy Wan-Long Shang. Scholastic Press, $16.99 ISBN 9780545609562

Whale Trails, Before and Now. Lesa Cline-Ransome, illus. by G. Brian Karas. Henry Holt, $17.99 ISBN 9780805096422

Where Are My Books? Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 ISBN 9781442467415

Where is Pim? Lena Landström. Gecko Press, $16.99 ISBN 9781927271735

Wherever You Go. Pat Zietlow Miller, illus. by Eliza Wheeler. Little, Brown, $17 ISBN 9780316400022

Whisperer, The. Fiona McIntosh. Knopf, $16.99 9780553498271

Wild About Shapes. Jérémie Fischer. Nobrow/Flying Eye, $16.99 ISBN 9781909263383

Wild Boy and the Black Terror. Rob Lloyd Jones. Candlewick, $16.99 ISBN 9780763662530

Wild Ideas: Let Nature Inspire Your Thinking. Elin Kelsey. Owlkids, $18.95 ISBN 9781771470629

Winner’s Crime, The (Winner’s Trilogy #2). Marie Rutkoski. FSG, $17.99 ISBN 9780374384708

Wish Girl. Nikki Loftin. Razorbill, $16.99 ISBN 9781595146861

Work of Art, A. Melody Maysonet. Merit Press, $17.99 ISBN 9781440582547

Worst in Show. William Bee, illus. by Kate Hindley. Candlewick, $15.99 ISBN 9780763673185

Wrong Side of Right, The. Jean Marie Thorne. Dial, $17.99 ISBN 9780803740570

Yo Miss: A Graphic Look at High School. Lisa Wilde. Microcosm, $12.95 ISBN 9781621069874

You Can Do It, Bert! Ole Könnecke, trans. from the German by Catherine Chidgey. Gecko Press, $16.95 ISBN 9781927271032

You’re in Trouble (Jasper John Dooley). Caroline Adderson, illus. by Ben Clanton. Kids Can, $15.95 ISBN 9781554538089

 

Nerve-Wracking Things

Josie Leavitt -- February 23rd, 2015

I am so fortunate to have the staff that I do. I enjoy working with everyone and can honestly say that work is a pleasure. I get a lot done during the day.  But I’m also not naive enough to think that it’s tea and crumpets all the time. I know that I sometimes drive my staff crazy. Sometimes I make them down right nervous. I made a list of just a few of the things I do:

- I have the best intentions, really I do, of actually going to the post office with that package. I’m not certain when the post office phobia started and I know I should really deal with it. But I do eventually mail these things. The problem is I’m too efficient because before I go to the post office, I’ll run some other errands. I’ll make a deposit at the bank, pick up a late lunch (and by late I mean 4 p.m.) and then completely forget about the package in the front seat because I’ll I can think about is my hot, yummy-smelling chicken sandwich. Did I mention I got everyone a bag of those homemade chips and a massive brownie to share?

- I can lose things. My desk tends towards to a chaos that only I understand. Recently, Laura has been working very hard to clean up consignment books. Our paper trail is somewhat lacking, especially for books we’ve had a long time because it’s only been in the last two years that we’ve really been keeping excellent records. Laura entrusted me with the stack of consignment forms whose authors needed payment. She handed me the stack with a  very clear post-it breaking down who I owed what to. I took that stack home. I think she actually blanched when I did that, but said nothing. I came to find out that she and PJ talked about how it might have been a bad idea to not make copies of these forms first. Triumphantly, two days later, I returned the stack to its new resting place: the paid consignment folder.

- “Hey, want to be Cat in the Hat?” I shudder to think how many times I’ve asked that to unsuspecting staffers. I try to make it sound fun, but also know that staffers will be hotter than you can imagine, dressed as Curious George, Cat in the Hat, and Winnie the Pooh, etc. during their shift. I actually said to a co-worker on Friday, “Yes, there are air holes. They’re in the nose. You’ll be fine.” I would wear the costume, and did once, but generally, with our absurdly low ceilings I am too tall. Everyone else at the bookstore is under 5’4”, so they get asked more frequently. We actually insist that folks take frequent breaks so over-heating is not an issue.

- Apparently, my habit of leaving post-its for myself all around the back of the store is anxiety-producing. I guess that makes sense. Sometimes these little notes are up for weeks and then I get mad when someone takes them down. I never date these tiny action items so no one has a clue when I wrote it, when it needs to get to done, etc. I write these notes so I don’t forget to do something, but it’s been pointed out that if they just stay up like some new modern art, no one knows their status, and I’ve now ceased to actually see them, it’s sort of a pointless system.

-In the vein of post-its, I tend toward random stacks of books in areas where random stacks don’t belong. This again, is my action item area. But without telling anyone why they’re there, they are just a stack of books that is irritating and in the way. Often these are books that came to us damaged, and I’ve already called about them and am in the process of deciding where to donate them.

I want to be the kind of boss who is truly supportive of her staff, and it’s clear to me that my own behavior belies that impulse. So, today marks the first day that I will remove old post-its, clean up my messes, and realize that my organizational style might need some tweaking. And I’m certain once this behavior gets cleaned up, I’ll find some way to make the staff nervous anew.