The Autumn 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the Autumn 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Children’s White Box.

The four-page, full-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for the fall publishing season and an additional 33 titles organized by age group. All Next List picks are based on recommendations from booksellers at independent bookstores across the country and include a bookseller quote and full bibliographic information.

The Kids’ Indie Next List also features nine Revisit & Rediscover titles identified by children’s booksellers as enduring works that are critical for bookstores to have on their shelves at all times.

The top 10 Kids’ Indie Next List titles and the Revisit & Rediscover titles are featured on downloadable shelf-talkers on BookWeb.

The nomination deadline for the Winter Kids’ Indie Next List is October 14, 2016. The winter list will focus on titles published between November 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016. Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley. (On Edelweiss, navigate to the book page of your choice, click “Your Review” and select “Submit to Indie Next.” On NetGalley, click the green “Title Feedback” button for any title in your account.)

The Autumn 2016 Kids’ Indie Next Great Reads

The Top 10

1. A Child of Books, by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston
(Candlewick, 9780763690779, $17.99)
“This book is a quiet and powerful homage to the transformative power of children’s literature. Readers follow a young girl as she travels a sea of words to collect a boy in need of an adventure. The imaginations of both the reader and the boy bloom under the guidance of the young girl, and by journey’s end everyone becomes a Child of Books. Jeffers’ colorful illustrations draw new and familiar fans alike into the story, while Winston’s typographic scenery holds many rewards for the careful and observant reader.” —Amy Brabenec, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

2. The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, by Michelle Cuevas, Erin E. Stead (Illus.)
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803738683, $17.99)
“He has no name, no friends, and smells of seaweed and salt, but the Uncorker of Ocean Bottles has an incredibly important job. He makes certain that all messages sent in bottles are delivered to their intended recipients. He takes his job very seriously, but, deep down, he wishes that someday a message would be sent just for him. Readers will fall in love with this character and his story of determination, and, ultimately friendship. With beautiful illustrations and lovely text, this picture book is destined to become a cherished title on any bookshelf.” —Amanda Snow, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

3. Gertie’s Leap to Greatness, by Kate Beasley, Jillian Tamaki (Illus.)
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, 9780374302610, $16.99, available October)
“Gertie has a plan. She will be the best fifth-grader in the whole world and if she is, maybe her estranged mother won’t leave town. Not that Gertie cares. She has a great dad, good friends, and is awesome all on her own, but she’s still going to try. Of course, things go awry when a new girl arrives in school and stirs up trouble. Gertie is an utterly winning heroine, plucky and stubborn, and hers is a thoroughly charming, funny, and heartfelt story. I loved it.” —Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

4. They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel
(Chronicle Books, 9781452150130, $16.99)
“Don’t be fooled by the quiet modesty of the cover. Open this picture book and find a surprise with every page turned. Using a variety of artistic styles and techniques, debut author and illustrator Wenzel celebrates the uniqueness of individual perspectives and encourages his readers to see the world in their own distinct way: ‘When you see a cat, what do you see?’” —Niki Marion, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

5. The Poet’s Dog, by Patricia MacLachlan
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062292629, $14.99)
“MacLachlan has written a beautiful story that is sure to touch the hearts of children — and adults — everywhere. It reminds readers of the magic we experience when we have a dog to love, the importance of loyalty, and the joy of finding a place to call home. This book is sure to become a classic.” —Lisa Nehs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

6. The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
(Algonquin Books for Young Readers, 9781616205676, $16.95)
“As in most fairy tales, there is a town on the edge of a fearsome wood, and there is a witch. But there are two sides to every story, and while the witch may take your child, the how and the why and what comes next are where the true tale lies. An ‘enmagicked’ girl named Luna, a swamp monster who walks on all sixes (sevens if he’s using his tail), a dragon who yearns to be Simply Enormous, a Tower of Sisters studying a madwoman’s sorrow, an overly curious boy who creates beautiful things — these are just a few of the elements in this powerful, engaging story rich in wisdom, wit, and wry truths. This is beautiful storytelling that readers will drink up greedily.” —Danielle Borsch, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

7. Penguin Problems, by Jory John, Lane Smith (Illus.)
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 9780553513370, $17.99)
“Some problems are serious, some are silly, and some, well, some are just penguin problems. When the water is too salty, when the sea is too dark, when you are a bird that cannot fly, and when everyone you know looks exactly the same, well, those are penguin problems. This fun picture book is sure to make even the grumpiest young reader giggle!” —Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

8. How This Book Was Made, by Mac Barnett, Adam Rex (Illus.)
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781423152200, $17.99)
“Ever wonder what the book you are reading went through to get into your hands? Did you realize that the author and illustrator had to face tigers, angry mobs, pirates, and worse? This is a wonderful book for reading aloud to curious young ones, and for older students and adults who have a keen sense of humor, it is guaranteed to make them laugh out loud. Most important is the message that ‘a book still isn’t a book, not really, until it has a reader.’ That’s you!” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

9. Kids of Appetite, by David Arnold
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780451470782, $18.99)
“Sixteen-year-old Vic Benucci suffers from a condition called Moebius syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes facial paralysis, which means he cannot blink, smile, or frown. Bullied by his classmates and often assumed to be stupid by adults, Vic is actually witty and intelligent, a lover of art and opera. What Vic’s face cannot show but what he needs to say is that he still grieves for his father who died two years ago. When his mother takes up with a new boyfriend, Vic runs away on a quest to scatter his father’s ashes. Along the way, Vic bumps into a ragtag group of homeless kids and young adults called the Kids of Appetite who take him in, feed and shelter him, and treat him with kindness just because he asks for help. This is a book about accepting loss, finding family, finding love, and discovering that we are all chapters in each other’s stories.” —Jill Zimmerman, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

10. A Torch Against the Night, by Sabaa Tahir
(Razorbill, 9781101998878, $19.95)
A Torch Against the Night immediately picks up with Laia and Elias’ escape at the end of An Ember in the Ashes. Determined to break Laia’s brother out of prison, Laia and Elias begin a breakneck journey across Serra, closely followed by Elias’ former best friend, Helene, who has orders to kill them. Detailing the perspectives of Elias, Laia, and Helene, Tahir does an incredible job weaving all three stories together. A Torch Against the Night is exhilarating, thrilling, and heartbreaking, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns.” —Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS

For Ages 4 – 8

Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (Illus.)
(Abrams Books for Young Readers, 9781419721373, $17.95)
“Ada is a charmingly single-minded scientist! One day, her rigorous quest for the full facts behind whatever ‘That Smell’ is gets her into a little trouble. Luckily, her family rallies to support her in her scientific inquiries! The art is top-notch charming and the characters in Ada’s family feel full-fledged. The rhyming text encourages the spirit of curiosity and introduces concepts of scientific rigor, while the portrayal of an African American girl as the young scientist helps all children learn to accept diversity in STEM interests.” —Gretchen Treu, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI

Du Iz Tak?, by Carson Ellis
(Candlewick, 9780763665302, $16.99, available October)
“In Du Iz Tak?, readers dive into the miniature world of bugs, where big things are happening. In a story told entirely in an imaginative insect language, readers will quickly find themselves understanding and speaking ‘Bug.’ Ellis’ vibrant illustrations are full of tiny details and readers will come back again and again to explore this striking, inventive story. Su!” —Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MI

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love, by Michelle Edwards, G. Brian Karas (Illus.)
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780553497106, $17.99, available October)
“Sophia has known Mrs. Goldman all her life and Mrs. Goldman has always kept Sophia’s head warm with her knitted hats. Providing hats for everyone is Mrs. Goldman’s ‘mitzvah.’ Thus, Sophia is naturally astonished to learn that Mrs. Goldman doesn’t have a hat herself. Who is going to knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman to keep her ‘keppie’ warm? Putting to use the knitting lessons Mrs. Goldman has given her, Sophia decides it’s her ‘mitzvah’ to give Mrs. Goldman her very own hat. With determination and love, Sophia sets out to surprise Mrs. Goldman with the most special hat in the world! A heartwarming picture book full of delightful illustrations.” —Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Hotel Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484743621, $17.99, available October)
“Poor, beleaguered Bruce. The grumpy bear found himself the adoptive parent of four goslings in Mother Bruce. Now, on returning home after their winter migration, Bruce and his flock discover that three enterprising mice have turned his house into a hotel. Encountering a moose, a skunk, a porcupine, and various other woodland creatures try Bruce’s patience, but the busload of elephants is the last straw and he finally explodes with anger, throwing everyone out into the rain. Higgins’ illustrations are wonderful and show just what chaos Bruce’s house has become. Of course, there’s a twist at the end. What do we have to look forward to in Bruce’s next adventure, I wonder?” —Ellen Richmond, Children’s Book Cellar, Waterville, ME

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, by Debbie Levy, Elizabeth Baddeley (Illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481465595, $17.99)
“I hope you concur that I Dissent is a most excellent picture book biography of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A perfect blend of text and illustrations, this thorough, but never overwhelming biography is informative, inspiring, and, at times, humorous. A fantastic look at an important public figure and role model.” —Kathleen Carey, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Panda Pants, by Jacqueline Davies, Sydney Hanson (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553535761, $17.99)
“Perhaps a most persistent panda can persuade his panda parent that a pair of pants — with pockets — would be a positively perfect piece of apparel. ‘No,’ says the parent repeatedly, ‘Pandas don’t wear pants.’ Young Panda provides more and more proof to perpetuate his plan. Papa Panda remains firm: ‘No pants!’ Which panda will prevail? Davies’ wry tale is delightful, and Hanson’s expressive illustrations are charming — a productive pairing! This is a great book!” —Christopher Rose, The Spirit of ’76 Bookstore, Marblehead, MA

Return, by Aaron Becker
(Candlewick, 9780763677305, $15.99)
“The last book of Becker’s trilogy ends on a perfect note. Unlike many fantasy stories, it will take the efforts of both children and their parents to solve the problems of a fantastical kingdom. Beautiful, dynamic illustrations sparkle on every page in this glorious book that celebrates the power of drawing and invention.” —Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

The Storybook Knight, by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 9781492638148, $16.99)
“Fans of The Snatchabook will not be disappointed with this new picture book by the same author and illustrator team. The focus is again on the power of story as Leo, a gentle knight who much prefers reading to swordplay, is sent on a mission to conquer a fearsome dragon. On the way, he encounters other mythical monsters and is able to vanquish every threat by sharing his beloved books. The rhythmic, rhyming text lends itself easily to being shared aloud and the fun illustrations add even more charm to the story.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Teacup, by Rebecca Young, Matt Ottley (Illus.)
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780735227774, $17.99, available October)
Teacup is a lyrical tale of a refugee’s journey, evoking the loneliness, anxiety, and sadness of leaving everything you know behind to begin anew. Ottley’s textured, breathtaking illustrations are both incredibly realistic and beautifully dreamlike, adding gentleness and whimsy to this subtly told story. Young’s minimal text allows the reader’s imagination to expand and the drama unfolds at a perfect pace. Teacup is a book to linger over, appreciating the beauty to be found in the persistence and strength it takes to make a new life in an unfamiliar place.” —Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

This Is Our Baby, Born Today, by Varsha Bajaj, Eliza Wheeler (Illus.)
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780399166846, $16.99)
“Looking for a gift for a new baby? Look no further! This joyful celebration of a new baby’s arrival reminds us of the community that supports each child. Bajaj and Wheeler have created a classic picture book for all to share.” —Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

The Water Princess, by Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds (Illus.)
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780399172588, $17.99)
“The team of Verde and Reynolds have channeled their distinctively beautiful styles to depict life in an African village, the inhabitants’ long journey to water, and the story of one powerful girl. The lush colors and gorgeous landscapes belie the hardship at the center of this true story, based on the life of supermodel Georgie Badiel: The extreme lengths people often have to go to just to get drinking water. This is an excellent book to introduce a difficult subject to a young audience in an empathetic way.” —Sarah Holt, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

We Found a Hat, by Jon Klassen
(Candlewick, 9780763656003, $17.99, available October)
“Could this be the best Klassen yet? In three ‘chapters’ that take place over a single day, two desert turtles happen upon a 10-gallon hat. Two turtles. One hat. What to do? The turtles muse on this problem through morning, noon, and night. Klassen’s desert palette is sublime — each page seems suffused with desert light — and the story culminates in a perfectly dreamy ending.” —Elizabeth Sher, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

For Ages 9 – 12

Ashes, by Laurie Halse Anderson
(Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781416961468, $16.99, available October)
“The wait is over! Anderson’s highly anticipated conclusion to The Seeds of America Trilogy is here, and it exceeds all expectations. Anderson’s exhaustive research and brilliant writing make Ashes a must-read for readers of all ages. Isabel, Cruzon, and Ruth are back, and their story of perseverance and hope during the Revolutionary War could not have come at a better time. Thank you, Laurie!” —Bill Reilly, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

The Best Man, by Richard Peck
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803738393, $16.99)
“This is a timely coming-of-age tale filled with appealing characters, especially Archer, the narrator. Bookended by two weddings, The Best Man follows Archer from first grade through sixth. Readers encounter quirky classmates, quirkier teachers, and some sobering incidents with bullies, along with friendships and much goodness among the characters. Mostly, this is a book about family and the ways in which family makes us who we are. The Best Man is a triumph for Peck and a generous and important gift to readers.” —Christopher Rose, The Spirit of ’76 Bookstore, Marblehead, MA

Furthermore, by Tahereh Mafi
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9781101994764, $17.99)
“Welcome to Ferenwood, where the flowers are edible, colors are magic, and magic is currency. It is the home of Alice, who, in a world of beauty and magic, struggles with poverty, a missing father, and the fact that she alone in the entire village has almost no color. As her future seems empty, Alice grabs the chance for adventure and joins her nemesis, Oliver, in a bid to rescue her father from the dangerous land of Furthermore, finding far more adventure than she bargained for. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!” —Kelly Morton, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier
(Graphix, 9780545540629, trade paperback, $10.99)
“When Catrina and her family move to a seaside town in Northern California to accommodate her sister’s cystic fibrosis, she is not happy. Bahia de la Luna is cold, foggy, far away from her friends, and, worst of all, reportedly home to a whole lot of ghosts. Cat’s sister, Maya, is thrilled by their new town’s spooky residents, but Cat wants nothing to do with them until she realizes that she must put aside her fear for both her sister’s sake and her own. Graphic novel queen Telgemeier is back, and she has crafted a beautiful, entertaining, and hopeful story about the power of family, friendship, and community — with an extra dash of ghostly magic for good measure.” —Rebecca Speas, One More Page, Arlington, VA

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, by Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (Illus.)
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9780525426165, $17.99)
“The year is 1242. The scene is a travelers’ inn. The storytellers alternate between a nun, a monastery librarian, a butcher, the innkeeper, a jongleur, a chronicler, a friar, and a troubadour who relate the adventures of three children: Jeanne, a peasant girl who can see into the future; William, a young monk who has incredible strength; and Jacob, a young Jewish boy who can heal wounds. Along with Gwenforte, their greyhound, they race though France, escaping from cruel knights, forest demons, a wicked monk, a farting dragon, and more. This is a rip-snorting fantasy filled with exquisite language, nail-biting excitement, and laugh-out-loud humor. Highly recommended!” —Jean Fennacy, Petunia’s Place, Fresno, CA

Lucy, by Randy Cecil
(Candlewick, 9780763668082, $19.99)
“This new book from Cecil has all the charm and energy of an early black-and-white movie. Organized into four acts, the main actors are Lucy, a little street dog; Eleanor, the girl who feeds her scraps each morning; and Eleanor’s father, Sam, who must overcome his stage fright to succeed as a juggler on the vaudeville stage. Precise repetition of actions and reactions give the story clear beats, and readers will enjoy finding tiny changes in Cecil’s camera-lens illustrations. An excellent choice for fans of dogs, juggling, and dreams coming true.” —Cecilia Cackley, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Moo: A Novel, by Sharon Creech
(HarperCollins, 9780062415240, $16.99)
“Creech brings readers another wonderful story of growing up and learning about the wonders of the world. When siblings Reena and Luke move to rural Maine, they are completely caught off guard when they find the natural world at their fingertips. Soon they are enlisted by their parents to help an elderly neighbor with her farm chores. Although they are at first wary of the grouchy Mrs. Falala and her equally antagonistic cow, Zora, soon Luke is teaching Mrs. Falala to draw and Reena is preparing Zora for the state fair. With Creech’s characteristic mix of joy and sadness, this tale is perfect for readers of all ages.” —Sarah Denslow, Barston’s Child’s Play, Washington, DC

One Half From the East, by Nadia Hashimi
(HarperCollins, 9780062421906, $16.99)
“Acclaimed author Hashimi has turned her attention to children’s literature and her first book in her new genre is a beautiful one. Exploring the tradition of ‘bacha posh’ — dressing your daughter as a boy — the life of Obayda, who becomes Obayd, unfolds, as does the friendship between two special children. Hashimi’s tale does a masterful job of showing readers the richness of Afghanistan, while also exploring the difficult life for women there. It is a sensitive, thoughtful, inspiring story.” —Laurie Mullarky, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Rebel Genius, by Michael Dante DiMartino
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626723368, $16.99, available October)
“Under the reign of Nezerra, all artists have been sundered from their genius spirits and left to waste away. Giacomo, an orphan who desperately wants to be an artist, finds himself with the dangerous blessing of a genius spirit and must flee for his life. This magical adventure ties together art and powerful magic with the rich storytelling we would expect from DiMartino, the co-creator of the award-winning Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender.” —Laura Delaney, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, by Megan Shepherd
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9781101939758, $16.99, available October)
“One of Shepherd’s gifts as a writer is the ability to transport readers to a very specific time and place and immerse them in its physical and social realities. This is done beautifully in The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, set in a children’s hospital in rural England during WWII. Whether the winged horses little Emmaline sees in the mirrors at Briar Hill are real or just her imagination, the hope and solace they provide are very real. A moving and magical story not to be missed.” —Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Asheville, NC

The Secret Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart, Diana Sudyka (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316389556, $18.99)
“Reuben is one of those kids who fades into the background, sliding by unnoticed. That’s fine until the day Reuben finds an antique watch that makes him invisible. Suddenly, he is on the radar of the biggest, baddest mob boss in town. Reuben then sets out to solve the mystery of where the watch came from and why it is wanted so badly. Full of adventure, humor, mystery, and, most importantly, heart, this is a book that readers of all ages will love.” —Melissa Fox, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White, by Melissa Sweet
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544319592, $18.99, available October)
“I have been a fan of E.B. White for as long as I can remember, and Sweet has created a biography worthy of the much-beloved writer. She includes White’s family photos and souvenirs, excerpts from his writing, and her own illustrations to form a well-rounded picture of White’s life and the stories behind his classic books. While designed for children, this lovely biography will have just as much appeal to White’s adult admirers. Highly recommended!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

For Teens

The Forgetting, by Sharon Cameron
(Scholastic Press, 9780545945219, $18.99)
“Every 12 years, all of the people in Canaan lose their memories and must recreate them from journals that are tied to them with string. Nadia is the only one who remembers and the only one who knows that the books everyone relies on are not really the truth. Filled with complex ideas and fascinating questions about how memories create who we are, The Forgetting is a story to treasure.” —Laura Delaney, Rediscovered Books, Boise, ID

Ghostly Echoes: A Jackaby Novel, by William Ritter
(Algonquin Books for Young Readers, 9781616205799, $17.95)
“Once again, Jackaby and Abby are on the case. This time they are looking into the murder of their resident ghost, Jenny. What seems like an uninteresting case to Jackaby quickly turns into something more sinister. There is a plot afoot that is ensnaring the mayor and the leading scientists of the day. Bodies are turning up and the magical creatures that appear are getting more terrifying. This is a great addition to the Jackaby series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, IN

Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780385755924, $17.99, available October)
“This is a wonderful, honest story about a girl who knows herself too well and a boy who doesn’t know himself at all. Libby has spent years inside her own house, too fat to fit through the door. She’s still fat, but at least she’s healthy again, and she’s ready for all the terrible things people will say when she’s back in school. Due to a neurological condition, Jack can’t recognize faces, but he is good at hiding it and nobody knows. That is, until his friends stage an awful prank forcing Jack and Libby together and, as a result, they finally start to let their secrets out. Beautifully written, strong, vibrant, and life-affirming!” —Alison Nolen, Linden Tree Books, Los Altos, CA

Our Chemical Hearts, by Krystal Sutherland
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780399546563, $17.99, available October)
“Fans of John Green will gobble up this top-notch writing from a new writer to watch. Yes, it’s another ‘doomed love’ story, but Sutherland has several underlying themes that undercut the clichés usually found in teen romances, most notably ‘you’re not in love with who I am, you’re in love with your fantasy of who I am.’ I have a very short list of YA authors that I drop everything to read, and Krystal Sutherland is now on that list.” —MaryJo Schimelpfenig, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Phantom Limbs, by Paula Garner
(Candlewick, 9780763682057, $16.99)
“Otis took up swimming three years ago to save himself from the grief that was drowning him. Now he’s training for the state championships as his coach, 18-year-old Dara, pushes an Olympic dream for him, a dream she gave up for herself when she lost her arm. Otis’ summer looks to be full of chlorine and sunburn until he gets an e-mail from Meg, the girl he hasn’t spoken to in three years — the girl who helped him tread water after tragedy and then left town. Tragedy cuts deep, and every character in this book has scars — some terribly visible and others under the surface — but they are all beautiful. Paper Towns fans take note, this will be your new favorite book.” —Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Reader, by Traci Chee
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780399176777, $19.99, available October)
“If I lived in a world where reading was rare, books were literally magic and, like Sefia and Archer, my life was in danger because of the one book I possessed, I’d better be holding The Reader. Chee’s debut, celebrating literacy and storytelling and featuring unlikely friendship and slow-burning romance, is a breathtaking adventure you’ll treasure — especially if you have to fight off pirates and assassins!” —Alyssa Raymond, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

The Singing Bones, by Shaun Tan
(Arthur A. Levine Books, 9780545946124, $24.99, available October)
“This is, in essence, a museum catalog for an exhibition you dreamed of one night, and Tan plucked those images from your dreams and made them real. Not literal artistic interpretations of Grimm’s fairy tales, but artistic representations of the feelings those tales evoke, Tan’s sculptures are at once whimsical and unsettling, surreal and grounded. With an introduction by Neil Gaiman and a forward from Jack Zipes, this book belongs on the shelf of every lover of fairy tales, especially readers who appreciate the darker side of those tales.” —Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books, McMinnville, OR

Three Dark Crowns, by Kendare Blake
(HarperTeen, 9780062385437, $17.99)
“This is a stunning and twisted tale of triplet sisters who have been pitted against each other since birth, as there can only be one Queen, determined by a competition where the losers must die by their sister’s hand. Told from three alternating points of view, Blake gives readers an ominous and riveting tale that is dangerously dark, addictive, and alluring and will leave you holding your breath until the very end. I absolutely loved it!” —Tanecia Cannon, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Wrecked: A Novel, by Maria Padian
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616206246, $17.95)
“Conundrum: The name of the campus house where Haley’s freshman roommate claims to have been raped, and the exact position Haley is put in when she finds herself drawn into the campus investigation. At the same time, Haley is growing closer to Richard, a housemate of the accused and a boy who annoys her, excites her, makes her furious, and makes her laugh. Haley and Richard find themselves on opposite sides of somebody else’s war, struggling and scrambling to discern just who is telling the truth about what really happened. Timely, poignant, and thought-provoking, Wrecked should be required reading for every high-school senior.” —Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Revisit & Rediscover

Picture Books

17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore, by Jenny Offill, Nancy Carpenter (Illus.)
(Dragonfly Books, 9780375866012, $7.99, originally published in 2006)
“Readers may fall in love with this irrepressible heroine, despite — or perhaps because of — her refusal to bow to the usual way things are done. Whether she is washing her hands in the dog dish or experimenting on her long-suffering younger brother, there is sure to be mayhem left in her wake. Carpenter’s illustrations ensure that readers realize she is more of an outside-the-box thinker than a troublemaker, although young readers may be tempted to launch their cauliflower across the table via tablespoon catapult after discovering this rapscallion.” —Robert McDonald, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing, by Judi Barrett, Ron Barrett (Illus.)
(Atheneum, 9780689708077, $7.99, originally published in 1970)
“Why should animals NOT wear pants, dresses, and ties? Because it could be disastrous, embarrassing, and absolutely ridiculous. Why should you DEFINITELY share this book with young readers? Because it is a fun read-aloud, a great book for new readers, and full of silly illustrations that will keep everyone laughing.” —Holly Weinkauf, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, by Audrey Wood and Don Wood
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780152054359, $7.99, originally published in 1985)
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub is one of those perfect picture books that is both a treat for the eye and fun to read aloud. King Bidgood enjoys his bath so much that he won’t get out! Join him in the tub as the sun rises, for lunch midday, and for fishing and dancing as the sun goes down. Both the singsong text and the ‘I Spy’ type illustrations will delight as you read, read, read with King Bidgood in his bath.” —Liesl Freudenstein, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

Middle Grade

Becoming Naomi León, by Pam Muñoz Ryan
(Scholastic Paperbacks, 9780439269971, $6.99, originally published in 2004)
“Naomi and her younger brother live contentedly with their great grandmother in a trailer park in California. Seven peaceful years are disrupted when their mother appears and Naomi begins to deal with uncomfortable issues. Though Naomi finds solace in her soapcarving, for which she has a special talent, it is the trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, to search for her father that brings real answers. This beautifully written novel about family, identity, and loyalty is infused with a special warmth and authenticity based on Ryan’s own heritage.” —Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

The Conch Bearer, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
(Aladdin, 9780689872426, $7.99, originally published in 2003)
“Anand’s middle-class life is just a memory. He now lives in a dilapidated shack in a dangerous Indian neighborhood, working for a cruel tea seller to help support his family. Anand’s dreams of adventure seem impossible until a mysterious gentleman asks him to return a magical conch to its rightful home in a distant, secret valley. In this beautifully crafted coming-of-age tale, Anand is challenged to accept the best and the worst in himself, to recognize the consequences of his choices, and to make a decision that could change everything.” —Kris Vreeland, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

The Witch Family, by Eleanor Estes, Edward Ardizzone (Illus.)
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780152026103, $7.99, originally published in 1960)
“Two best friends, Amy and Clarissa, love to draw. They create a world where a moderately wicked witch has been banished to the top of a glass hill. The girls and witch communicate via a giant bumblebee, Malachi, who spells out messages between them. A request for companionship leads to a little witch girl and witch baby becoming part of the lively hilltop family. This magical tale, with its gentle suspense, sassy humor, and charming art by Ardizzone, has enchanted generations of young readers.” —Elizabeth Bluemle, The Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, VT

Young Adult

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
(Disney-Hyperion, 9780786838196, $9.99, originally published in 2009)
“This is one of my all-time favorite books! Funny, subversive, and smart, it is about a girl who infiltrates the boys-only private school club she is excluded from, which neither her boyfriend nor her father will tell her about because she’s a girl. Frankie is gutsy, stays true to herself, and uses her wits to become an amazing kick-butt heroine for any girl asking, ‘What do you mean I can’t do that?’” —René Kirkpatrick, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm, by Nancy Farmer
(Scholastic Paperbacks, 9780545356619, $7.99, originally published in 2004)
“The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm are detectives in the year 2194, who have been exposed to nuclear waste, giving them unique and special powers. They have been called in to find three children who escaped from a powerful Zimbabwe family and then disappeared. Farmer mixes ancient African mythology with dystopian elements to create a science fiction/fantasy adventure full of weight. A Newbery Honor book, this is an excellent choice for a young adult reader!” —Kirsten Hess, Let’s Play Books, Emmaus, PA

Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
(Greenwillow, 9780064410342, $7.99, originally published in 1986)
“Being the first-born of three daughters and therefore unlucky, Sophie has resigned herself to the solitary life of a hat-maker in her family’s shop. But when the evil Witch of the Waste curses her, Sophie must venture off by herself to break the spell — an especially dangerous prospect with the Wizard Howl, who is said to eat the hearts of young women as he wanders around the countryside in his walking castle. Fun and magical, Howl’s Moving Castle will have readers cheering for everyone from scarecrows to fire demons.” —Emily Somberg, Pegasus Books, Berkeley, CA