Reporting steady sales this winter, Eryca Sender, bookseller at Children’s Book World in West Los Angeles, weighs in on a handful of especially strong sellers.
I know I’m just adding to the choir saying this, but we’ve sold an insane amount of The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. We’ve sold the book to kids of a variety of ages, both girls and boys, and I like the fact that it is gender neutral. It sold especially well when we had it on our new books shelf in the front of the store, and sales dropped off a bit when we moved it from that shelf, but it is still going quite strong.
Another picture book that’s pretty fantastic is Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller. It’s a very imaginative story about a girl who goes to the farmers’ market with her parents and they buy a squash, theoretically to eat for dinner. But Sophie decides it’s the perfect shape and size for a doll; she names her Bernice and brings her everywhere. But of course, since it’s a squash, it starts to rot, and she asks the farmer how to take care of it and he tells her to plant it. She does, and when the next spring comes it sprouts into a new squash plant. The book is illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, and the art is really beautiful. It’s a very quirky book, and we’re enjoying selling it. Anyone we show it to who likes it really loves it!
We’re also doing very well with Dream Friends by You Byun. It’s a beautifully illustrated, really colorful picture book about Melody, a girl who has vivid dreams in which she has a friend who’s kind of a cat/fox hybrid animal. We actually contacted the author and asked her what kind of animal it is, and she said, “Whatever you want it to be.” Melody doesn’t really have any friends, and when she brings her dream friend to school with her, another girl approaches Melody and asks what game she’s playing, and they become best friends. It’s a sweet and imaginative book that we like handselling.
Another favorite picture book is Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Matt Phelan. It’s a cute story about a panda in the zoo who wants to have a panda party, but he realizes he’s the only panda in the zoo, so he first invites the other bears and keeps extending the invitation until he’s invited the entire zoo. This is another book that’s gender neutral. It came out in the fall and is still on our new books shelf, and keeps selling well.
In middle grade, a solid seller for us is R.J. Palacio’s Wonder. It obviously has been around for a while, but we’ve been doing well with it continuously, and recently a lot of people have been asking for it. A lot of kids older than the protagonist are buying it, which isn’t always the case, but this is such an interesting book.
And in YA, we really enjoy selling Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Even before it received a Printz Honor last month, this one sold very well for us. It is so well written and so different from lot of YA romances, and really stands out from the others.