Susie Wilmer, co-owner of Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, Colo., talked up a few titles that she’s eagerly handselling as the holiday season gets underway.
My very favorite book this season is Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi, who is a very original writer from Colorado. He wrote this book for his nine-year-old son, who declared that he didn’t like to read – but definitely likes baseball. The book is written on a lot of levels. It tackles issues like immigration and chemicals in the food supply chain, yet it’s great fun. We got it in just before Halloween and we included it in our Halloween display, and right away it started walking out the door. Not only does it have zombies, but it’s got a bright orange cover, which grabs kids’ attention. This is a good choice for reluctant readers, especially boys.
Another new favorite of mine is Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. It’s very much like John Green’s books in that adults are going to eat it up, too. It is not at all an imitation book, but it did leave me feeling a lot like I felt when I finished The Fault in Our Stars. The novel is about a very brilliant girl, who likely has Asperger’s, who goes through a tragedy and ends up creating a miracle. It’s perfectly wonderful to read. I’m handselling it to girls 13 or older, and I’m also going to be recommending it to adult book clubs. We’re talking it up in the store and I think it’s going to move fast once it gets going.
A picture book that came out in the summer that we’re still having a lot of fun with is Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. I love the drawings, and the story is very funny – the message is that dragons love tacos, but they can’t eat hot sauce. I read it at story time this week and the kids loved it. One mother said to me at the end of story time, “I guess we’re having tacos for lunch!”
And a new picture book that I’m selling a lot to teachers is Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg, which was inspired by the Sandy Hook tragedy. Every adult I’ve seen read it ends up in tears. Even though most kids won’t make the connection to the tragedy, it’s a great book to read to them about the changing seasons, and about the fact that they’ll never be forgotten. Teachers have also been picking up the reading guide that comes with it. I think this book is going to be around for a long time. I hope our community never needs it specifically, but I know that a tragedy like Sandy Hook is something all communities have to be aware of.