Bookstore owner A.J. Fikry is a bitter curmudgeon, but, as we soon learn, his sour attitude masks deep sadness and loneliness about the death of his wife. The mysterious arrival of a baby girl in A.J.’s shop with a note asking him to care for her brings about events that open his heart to love, hope, and life. Brick’s empathetic narration captures A.J. perfectly in all his cantankerous and tender moods, and particularly when he rhapsodizes over books, in which he finds not only comfort and enjoyment, but a lens through which to interpret life. Brick voices A.J. in a way that sounds entirely natural—for example, when A.J. is trying to work something out, Brick speaks slowly, as though searching for the right words to express his thoughts, and then sounds startled and triumphant as A.J. has a realization. His warm, compassionate, thoughtful reading will draw listeners in throughout this gentle, sweetly satisfying tale. An Algonquin hardcover.