Jenesse Evertson, co-owner of BBGB Tales for Kids in Richmond, Va. (who explained that BBGB “can stand for Bring Back Great Books or anything you want it to be”), shed light on what is selling well at her store, which features a collection of titles that rotates seasonally.
One of our bestsellers right now is an oldie but goodie, Let’s Be Enemies by Janice May Udry, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. We are located in a university town where a lot of book collectors live, and many of our customers read the Brain Pickings website, which recommends good books. When it recently mentioned Let’s Be Enemies, the book immediately started selling for us. It’s a tiny picture book about the nature of true friendship, has a $6.95 price point and a classic feel – and we like that it isn’t as sweet as many friendship books published today.
A new picture book we really love handselling is My Humongous Hamster by Lorna Freytag. It has photos of a pet hamster with a huge appetite who grows and grows, while everything around him remains little. The notion of something that is supposed to be little turning out to be big seems to appeal to everyone. It’s a book that is good for both boys and girls, and we’ve had a number of parents and grandparents buy it to read aloud in classrooms.
Other new books that we are doing well with are Elise Gravel’s The Fly and The Worm, the first books in the Disgusting Creatures series. We’re showing them to everyone who comes into the store, regardless of age, and inevitably they can’t stop laughing out loud. I don’t know any other books that make disgusting creatures adorable! We’re really thrilled with this series.
A new middle-grade mystery that is starting to sell well is Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. It has a strong Harriet the Spy vibe to it, with a little bit of The Westing Game too, since there is a puzzle in it. It’s a book that has no big agenda, but it has a classic feel to it. I haven’t seen anything quite like this in a while, and I know it’s a novel that girls 9 and up will love.
And a YA author we really love is Andrew Smith, whose voice is incredibly authentic. His Winger sold well for us, and we’re really enjoying selling his new novel, Grasshopper Jungle. It’s a highly original coming-of-age book that uses the unexpected arrival on earth of giant praying mantises as a catalyst for exploring the teenage male experience. It’s a fascinating premise, and we tell customers that it’s a bit over the top, but is so compelling that they won’t be able to put it down. It’s one of those all-in-one-go books.