As signs of spring emerge in Ashland, Ore., Jane Almquist, who for three years has co-owned Tree House Books with her husband, Dirk Price, talks about some of the books that are selling well for them this season.
It seems that all the books I’m excited about selling this spring are girl-centric. My favorite new picture book is Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Carol Anne Moore Created Libraries for Children by Jan Pinborough, with illustrations by Debby Atwell. It’s about the first children’s librarian in this country, and it’s a really positive story. She had great, progressive ideas and was a wonderful advocate for children and reading. This is a fun book, especially for our store. We work closely with our public libraries and have great relationships with them, and this book is a wonderful tribute to librarians. We have it on display and have been handselling it, and it’s doing very well.
My other favorite picture book is Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, which was a Caldecott Honor Book this year. That of course helps sales, but it’s one of those books that I find engages older kids, too. I showed it to my nieces and nephews, who are between three and nine years old, when they visited the store, and it caught the attention of all of them. It’s a fabulous book, with a look-and-find element that I think interests slightly older readers than the normal picture book audience.
Among my favorite read-alouds are Grace Lin’s Starry River of the Sky and When the Mountain Meets the Moon. They are two of our top sellers. Now, when people ask for something else in that vein, a book they can read aloud to mixed-age children, I suggest The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint. It’s a new chapter book about a girl who goes on a quest and learns so much about life. The story has metaphysical aspects and magic. I just reordered it, since we’d run out of stock. It has beautiful illustrations by Charles Vess, with art on every other page. Illustrated chapter books like this are my favorite read-alouds to recommend for kids on the verge of reading themselves.
Another book I am handselling well is The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas, about a girl who goes in search of her missing father, a bard, using a map that belonged to him. Along the way, she collects tales, since she wants to be a storyteller like him. The novel has a ghost, a banshee, and some scary elements, but nothing too scary, and the writing is of very high caliber. When I’ve shown it to people, some have said, “I’ll take two.”
We have a small store, and I generally don’t do face-out displays, but these books I do have face-out. And I often buy just one copy of books, but I try to have five or six copies of these books in the store at all times. That’s how much I like them!