At McNally Jackson in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, summer reading sales are keeping Cristin Stickles, children’s and YA books buyer, hopping. Here’s what she had to say about what’s moving quickly in her store.
I was expecting price resistance on Xavier Deneux’s two new TouchThinkLearn titles, Numbers and Shapes, considering that at $14.99 they are more than double the cost of most of the other board books I carry, but there hasn’t been any at all. The craftsmanship is evident as soon as you’re within 10 feet of the face-out, and Chronicle’s pub schedule has been delivering new titles with perfect timing – without hyper-frequency – to avoid oversaturation. These are my personal go-tos for baby shower gifts.
In picture books, we’re doing well with I Carry Your Heart with Me, an adaptation of e.e. cummings’s poem, with illustrations by Mati Rose McDonough. This is such a great idea for a picture book that I can’t believe it hasn’t already been done a million times over. We’re getting a lot of parents, godparents, and grandparents buying it for children, and nearly as many buying it to give to another adult. The art is sweet and unique without being saccharine or too “out there,” so it falls into a perfect spot on the commercial/highbrow matrix.
Every time I turn around, we’ve sold another four copies of Christopher Franceschelli’s Alphablock, illustrated by Peskimo. It’s almost getting hard to keep it in stock. The trim and the format make it appealing to both the board-book and the picture-book crowds; it somehow avoids both being too babyish for the older kids and too intimidating for the younger ones.
The Magic Shop by Kate Egan is my new favorite chapter book series. The first book, The Vanishing Coin, has both boy and girl appeal, and the magic hook is unique. This is one of the top sellers off of our Kids’ Summer Reading display. In middle grade, I’m happy that Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers is now out in paperback. This was one of my hardcover favorites and I think it’s going to have a long, Penderwicks-esque life in paper. The packaging is perfect, and the read lives up to it.
Within two days, I sold out of my initial set of The One, the third book in Kiera Cass’s The Selection trilogy. That’s unusual for a YA hardcover and extremely rare for a YA hardcover that’s third in a series. This series checks so many boxes – it’s both intellectual and fun, and a fast read that you wind up thinking about for a long time. I’m so happy to see that people are coming to it.
And with The Maze Runner by James Dashner and If I Stay by Gayle Forman, there was a clear and substantial uptick in sales the moment the movie trailers started running. We don’t carry movie tie-in editions, so I’m happy to see people connecting the movie buzz to the original trade paper covers. I think the If I Stay trailer is particularly effective when it comes to making people who have already experienced the book want to reread it, so that should be fun to watch over the next few months.