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Spring Favorites for Readers of All Ages

January 25, 2011

One thing that I have always enjoyed about being a sales rep is getting the opportunity to do “Rep Picks” presentations to bookstore staff. This is a great way for us to single out some of our favorite new books of the upcoming season and to give staff members quick synopses and sales handles that they can use to promote the books to customers. By sharing a little of the passion and excitement we have about these titles, we hope booksellers will move these books to the top of their reading piles, or will pass the picture book F & G’s (unfinished samples) around the store floor.

I am traveling through Arizona this week, and since I spent last weekend pulling together my Rep Picks presentation for the venerable Changing Hands Bookstore, I have spring books on the brain and wanted to share a few choice titles with all of you. These are all available now, or will be in the next few weeks.

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na

 If you aren’t familiar with Il Sung Na, you are missing one of the most exciting picture book artists I have seen in years. His gorgeous, lush watercolor art and spare text has made this book and his first two, A Book of Sleep and The Thingamabob, new classics. This book celebrates seasons and is a great way to introduce hibernation, migration and other concepts to young children. Each spread could be framed and used as art. This is an exquisite book.

Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Lee Wildish

This tiny gem of a book would make a wonderful Valentine present for your friends and loved ones. While children will appreciate the funny introduction to poetry, adults will love the clever and romantic puns. Singer’s couplets and Wildish’s hilarious illustrations show love and romance in the animal kingdom. One of my favorite pages features a dolphin courting his mate with these words, “Come leap with me and be my wife./ You’re the porpoise of my life.”


I’m Not by Pam Smallcomb, illustrated by Robert Weinstock

The beauty of this picturebook lies in its simple message to young children that they are all special in their own way (in direct opposition to the Tiger Mother parenting method!) Two friends have very different strengths and weaknesses, but they are reassured that they balance each other perfectly. The characters are sweetly loyal and the art is reminiscent of James Marshall’s George and Martha books.


When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? Probably nothing; five starred reviews from literary journals and reviews from such noted publications as The New York Times, who called it “Smart and mesmerizing,” as well as a Newbery Award give you an idea of how special and intriguing it is. So all I will say is, now that it is in paperback, please run out and buy this for every young book lover you know!


Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

I debated including this in my post since I know so many of my co-bloggers also want the opportunity to rave about this devastating novel in verse, but then I decided that the more exposure for this book, the better. Several months ago, we featured a post written by Marcus’s editor, Shana Corey, on why she was compelled to work on the book, and we are hoping to welcome the author herself soon to discuss it further. This is a brief, compelling look at the fallout that date rape has on a girl, her best friend (the victim), and her family, but it is more than just an “issue book.” I couldn’t put it down and I know it will really resonate with teen girls, their parents and teachers.


Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

This debut author takes the commonplace young adult tropes of first love, prep schools, wealthy kids with mysterious backgrounds, and coming-of-age family conflict and gives the reader something fresh and thoughtful. I loved the depth of main character Ari’s relationships with her friends, her boyfriend, her mother and her sister. This is a quiet, lovely book that is perfect for sophisticated teens or adults who love literary fiction.


The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

This was one of my favorite books I read last year, adult or teen, and I included it in my guest post for Books on the Nightstand of “crossover” titles. It was terribly overlooked by readers, but not by critics, with several starred reviews and a National Book Award nomination. It is a sobering, incredibly realistic depiction of a teenage alcoholic, and therefore not the easiest read, but well worth it for Tharp’s illustration of the complicated, charming Sutter Keely. Sutter’s selfish, breezy life is interrupted by a budding relationship with a wholesome girl named Aimee, and I loved that Tharp stayed true to Sutter’s character through to the end.


The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

This young adult novel is new in paperback and is a great choice for teens (or adults) who like a hint of paranormal romance with their Southern Gothic thriller. The author’s books all blend quirkiness, humor and mystery, but this has the most commercial appeal of any she has published to date.

It was so hard to narrow down my choices for this post- there are so many wonderful new books that were recently published. Have you read any of these? If you have, did you love them as much as I did? (I hope so!) Please comment and share your thoughts on these or any other new children’s books you have fallen in love with!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 9:08 am

    I haven’t read any of them, but have wanted to read When You Reach Me ever since it won the Newbery Medal.

  2. Deanna permalink
    January 25, 2011 1:16 pm

    So many of these are my faves too! I need to go back and read Other Words for Love. I was glancing through it the other day and it looked very engaging.

  3. Jennifer Daskal permalink
    January 25, 2011 2:35 pm

    I haven’t read any of them, but I am excited to read them all! Thanks for all the suggestions!

  4. Christina permalink
    January 26, 2011 7:09 pm

    Dylan and Carlo both love The Book of Sleep! Unfortunately, I have yet to find a book that will interest Alex that doesn’t have buttons or flaps. I love Na’s illustrations, but I found the text of the sleep book to be very very similar to most of the text in Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi.


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