At Reading Frenzy BookShop in Zimmerman, Minn., owner Sheri Olson talks about her success with a quartet of titles across several genres.
Whenever a customer comes into the store looking for a baby shower gift, a new baby gift, or something for their toddler, I pull out the Indestructible series from Workman. Created by Amy Pixton, a mother of triplets, and her mother-in-law, Kaaren Pixton, these are wordless, colorful books that are literally indestructible—we’ve tested them out! They are chew-proof, tear-proof, and washable, so that babies can really handle them. And they’re priced at $4.95, so it’s not like you’re handing a baby a $16 book they might destroy. These are great for parents and grandparents who love books themselves and want to get books into a little child’s hands early on.
A picture book that we’ve been selling a lot of is Girls Can! Make It Happen by Rick Kupchella, a Minnesota author who is also a newscaster, so he’s pretty famous in our state. The book, which is published by Tristan Publishing, is based on the stories of Sandra Day O’Connor, Sally Ride, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and encourages girls to do or be anything they want. It’s an inspiring book for girls, and I really like the vibrant illustrations by Marilyn Brown. We handsell this to parents and grandparents, or to people looking for a baby gift. A lot of parents have told me they are enjoying reading it to their daughters.
Another picture book we are doing very well with is Carter Goodrich’s Say Hello to Zorro, from Simon & Schuster. It’s an adorable book about a dog who is happy living alone in a house until a new dog comes to stay. We read this quite often at story times—and we even gave it to a local vet for the waiting room. The dogs eventually work out their differences, which is a good lesson for kids.
We’ve sold a ton of the books in Ryan Jacobson’s series, Choose Your Own Path: Can You Survive? The series is published by Adventure Publications, here in Minnesota. Three books were added to the series this fall: Jack London’s Call of the Wild, adapted by Jacobson; and Storm at the Summit of Mount Everest and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which he adapted with Deb Mercier. These are choose-your-own-adventures based on major adventure stories, and I describe them as being like video games in writing. They are super popular with both boys and girls. I recommend them to kids who find it hard to find something they like reading—and to their parents as well.
And a YA book that we’ve handsold a lot of is Reclaiming Ter Chadain: The Protector of Ter Chadain, Book One by C.S. Yelle, the first in a series from Argus. It’s a fantasy that definitely crosses over to adult. The protagonists are twins—a brother and sister who discover that she is actually a queen and he is her protector, but the throne has been taken away from them and they must reclaim it when they turn 16 or it will be lost forever. There are lots of twists and turns, and readers don’t know who they can trust. I tell people that this reads more like a movie—the author writes screenplays and that carries over to his fiction. I sell this to a lot of teenage girls, since the heroine is so strong. And it has a cliffhanger ending.