Tag Archives: children’s books

Now in Paperback: 2010’s best

You know who you are. You won’t pay hardcover prices and are willing to wait until “next year” for the paperback. If so, then I’m your huckleberry.

Justin Cronin’s The Passage was, in my estimation, one of the best books of 2010. Destined to be the first in a sprawling trilogy, The Passage envisions a near-future where military scientists lose control of a genetic experiment, putting the future of humanity at stake.

OK. It sounds like a B-movie, but in Cronin’s capable hands, the book approaches the level of masterpiece, providing readers with an engrossing tale whose characters you can’t help but care about.

The big news is that I have a limited supply of autographed copies of a book I (and Andy) recommended highly last year, but now in a more affordable paperback edition.

Come by and I’ll tell you more. Our children’s hardcover picture book sale continues (see Thursday’s post), too, so now is a great time to buy for all the kids in your life – sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, or even your local school.

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Children’s Book Sale: We’ve Never Done This Before

Buy 5 books at 50% off! Or 4 at 40% off. Or 3 at 30% less than the list price.

I’ve pulled and stacked all our hardcover children’s picture books right at the front door and priced them to your advantage. Help us with our inventory clearance now as we rearrange the children’s section for the first time in a couple of years.

This is the perfect opportunity to build a child’s library or stock a day-care center or church nursery. And the more you buy, the more you save.

These aren’t “scrubs.” These are our front-line books. Every hardcover picture book is 10% off, but if you buy 2, you can double your discount. Buy 3 and take off even more, up to a top discount of 50% off list.

Yes, that upper discount is below our cost, but it’s worth it for us to pass these prices on to you. We want to order for Christmas shopping season, but unless we move some of these, we won’t be able to reimagine the kids’ section in time for the seasonal rush.

Sure – we’ll be reordering some of these books as soon as you buy them.

So, here are the rules:

In-stock books only – no special orders
No layaways – buy ’em now or lose ’em
Limited to children’s hardcover picture books – no paperbacks included in this sale
Discount limited to 50%, but there is no limit on how many you can buy.
HC picture books typically sell for around $17, but some, like Seuss books, go for $8

So, if you have little ones in your life, now is the time to buy. And during your visit, if you see something else you like, make an offer. I’m feeling generous this week.

Sale starts at 10 a.m. Thursday, August 4, and runs until I say it’s over. I give you fair warning – I have a church group coming at 10, so the sale could be over before the week ends.


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Children’s Picture Book of the Week : The Ring Bear

This week’s book pick is The Ring Bear by N.L. Sharp, a picture book for children that I’ve always considered one of my favorites and one that I love to point people to. The Nebraska Center for the Book honored it as one of the best books for children.

The Ring Bear

As a bookseller with a healthy children’s section, I know a lot of boys who are in the same position as Robert, the hero of our tale.

Robert loved bears. Real bears and stuffed bears and bears in books. Black bears and brown bears and polar bears. He even loved to eat bears. Graham cracker bears and cinnamon bears and chocolate bears. So he wasn’t surprised when his mom said he was going to be the ring bear in his Aunt Jane’s wedding.

When Robert’s told that he’ll be wearing a suit – “a black suit with a tail, a white shirt, and a red bow tie,” he’s pretty sure he has this whole wedding thing down. He’ll look like a panda bear!

The boy proceeds to rehearse, on his own, by growling at animals, eating “berries” and drinking “honey” so as to be the very best bear he could be for the ceremony.

When finally Robert learns the truth that there are no bears in weddings, a foot-stomping fit ensues. But when Aunt Jane impresses on him just how important he is to the ceremony, Robert relents, becoming what everyone said was the best ring bearer ever.

I just love the way little kids edge into the rational world. At a certain age, they pay very close attention to every word coming from an adult’s mouth, but their comprehension can be muddled by the residue of magical thinking we treasure in all our kids. I remember my niece almost cried when her grandmother told how a friend of my father’s had “got his goat.” Though Allison had never seen or heard of her grandfather’s goat, she circulated on the edge of the adult conversation with a sad look on her face. Finally, she asked, “Did he give it back?” My puzzled mother said “Give what back, honey?,” to which Allison replied “His goat!”

This would be a wonderful book if you need to prepare your child for a wedding or any kind of formal ceremony. And it’s certain that your child will never, ever be fooled about the concept of being a ring bearer.

The Ring Bear
by N.L. Sharp, illustrated by Michael T. Hassler, Jr.
Dageforde/Prairieland Press (HC) $17.99


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Children’s Book of the Week: The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater … That Grandma Knit

The CBotW feature is proving to be very popular, providing great gift ideas for parents, uncles, and other adults looking to help build a child’s library. This week we feature The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater … That Grandma Knit, a Blossom Street Kids picture book by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney, illustrated by Vincent Nguyen.

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater ... That Grandma Knit

Macomber is the author of more than 150 romance and contemporary women’s novels, including the Blossom Street series, from which this spinoff children’s book comes. From her office above a bookstore in Port Orchard, Washington, she has committed to creating at least 3 new books each year, so it’s amazing that she found the time to fit this in. Mary Lou Carney is a Hoosier from Gary, Ind. and is a senior editor at Guideposts magazine and the author of about a dozen children’s books.

Vincent Nguyen makes his living as a conceptual artist for motion pictures and he brings that camera’s-eye view to the illustrations in this heart-warming story from HarperCollins of the love between a grandson and his Grandma.

Bonus material is included from long-time knitter Macomber in the form of a knitting tutorial for kids and a full design template (but not a pattern, per se) by Susan DeRosa of Amazing Threads for experienced knitters who might want to replicate the sweater in this story.

8-year-old Cameron can’t wait to open his present from Grandma. She always gives the best presents. But when his birthday finally rolls around, he is more than disappointed at the homemade sweater his Grandma gives him. Before Grandma’s next visit, Cameron tries everything he can to either destroy the sweater or relegate it to the dustbin, but to no avail.

Still unappreciative of the sweater that he was forced to wear, by listening to his grandmother tell the story of how she selected the colors (the green stripe reminded her of Cameron’s showing his soccer prowess on the green of the playing field; the orange stripe of how much Cameron loves to eat oranges), Cameron comes to understand just how special the “truly terribly horrible” sweater is. In the end he knows that Grandma, indeed, gives the best presents.

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater … That Grandma Knit
by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney, illustrated by Victor Nguyen
HarperCollins (HC) $16.99


Don’t forget that on Saturday, Jan. 22, from 2 to 4 p.m. we will be hosting Lori Leroy for the Southern Indiana book launch of The Inadequate Conception: From Barry White to Blastocytes: What Your Mom Never Told You About Getting Pregnant. If you or a friend or family member have ever faced issues of infertility, you’ll definitely want to meet Lori and hear her upbeat take on how to survive the heartaches of trying to have a baby.


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Children’s picture book of the week: That Book Woman

It’s Saturday, and that means it’s time to take a look at another book for children or young adults. This week we shine the light on Kentucky native Heather Henson and her picture book, That Book Woman.

It’s honestly a coincidence, but Henson’s illustrator on this great little book is David Small. Yes, the same David Small who illustrated last week’s selection, Once Upon a Banana.

That Book Woman

WPA's Pack Horse Library program of the 1930s

Henson grew up in one of my favorite towns – Danville, Ky. – amid the creative energy of the Pioneer Playhouse, which was founded by her father, Col. Eben C. Henson.

As a child, Henson always thought she would become an actor, but by the time she finished college in New York, she knew that the written word was her true calling. After serving time in Manhattan, Henson returned to central Kentucky, where she lives today with her husband, Tim Ungs, son Daniel, and twins Lila and Theo.

That Book Woman came to be after Henson stumbled across a picture album containing photographs of a Pack Horse Librarian from the ’30s. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration determined to bring books to the mountains of Appalachia by any means possible. In eastern Kentucky and other locales, mobile librarians (mostly women), packed books into the mountains by horse.

Once Henson researched the story, she knew it had to be told to children, and this book resulted. 15 awards later (16 if you count NewAlbanyBooks’ book of the week), the book is edging its way into the territory of classic children’s literature.

The story is familiar. Cal, a stubborn mountain boy, is eloquently dismissive of the lady on the horse who brings books to his sister, Lark. But Cal is soon so impressed by the stamina and determination of this pack horse librarian that his attitude softens.

When that book woman perseveres through a snowstorm, that’s enough to convince him that this “reading” thing might be worth exploring, Cal asks Lark to teach him to read, bringing the story full circle and demonstrating the importance of the Depression-era program, which left a legacy of lifetime readers.

Here’s just a brief snippet of the text, which gently utilizes the mountain vernacular:

Now me, I do not care one hoot for what that Book Woman has carried ’round, and it would not bother me at all if she forgot the way back to our door. But here she’ll come right through the rain and fog and cold.

That horse of hers sure must be brave, I reckon.

If you’d like to learn more about the WPA’s Pack Horse Librarian program, follow this link. And to learn more about Heather Henson’s picture books, middle grades readers, and young adult books, click here.

I can’t say enough about how impressive is David Small’s work. To discover more about his career as an illustrator, see his Website here.

by Heather Henson, David Small, illustrator
Simon & Schuster
For pre-school and early readers
$16.99 HC

An aside: Ann and I have decided to organize a bus trip to the Pioneer Playhouse in Danville, Ky., referenced above. In late July and early August, this storied outdoor theater will be putting on the play Don’t Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell, by V. Cate and Duke Ernsberger. Here’s a description of that play (scroll down).

We think it would cost about $60 a person, including dinner at 7:30 and the play at 8:30. Each traveler will receive a paperback copy of the Margaret Mitchell novel. I’d guess we could only pull together one bus load, so space will be limited to 44 participants . If you are interested in joining us, call me at the store – (812) 944-5116 or e-mail destinationsbooksellers (at) gmail.com. This is all very preliminary, but I thought we’d go on a Tuesday night, leaving New Albany at 4:30 and returning about midnight. We’ll either show the movie Gone With the Wind down and back or have guest authors to enlighten you during the trip. And, we’ll try to have Heather Henson join us for dinner to talk to us about That Book Woman and her other books.


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