Sue Fassett, manager of Dolly’s Bookstore in Park City, Utah, talks about which children’s books are moving well at her store this fall.
One of our favorite picture books right now is What Little Boys Are Made Of by Robert Neubecker. This is my go-to book when people come in trying to find a gift for a newborn boy. It’s a very sweet story and has really great illustrations. You immediately tear up when you first read it. And I may be making a plug here, but the author lives here in Park City, which doesn’t hurt. I love to handsell this book, and I sell it first for what it is, and then might say, “Oh, by the way, the author lives here.” He’s quite well known at this point, and we are doing very well with this book.
Also selling well for us is Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer. First of all, it’s Olivia. And this one is such a strong story. She’s trying to decide what she should be, and questions why everyone wants to be a princess, and shows up at school dressed for Halloween as a warthog. It’s a great story about how it’s OK to be different, and addresses gender roles and the strength of being an individual. We’ve been handselling this, especially with Halloween coming.
On the middle-grade front, one of my favorites right now is Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, about a baby who is adopted after she’s found during a hurricane. I picked this book up and read it in two days. It’s a sweet story but also has intrigue – there is a murder – and it’s a great, character-driven adventure. I’d say it resonates a bit more with girls, but the heroine’s best friend is a boy. The writing is very clever, and I’m pointing this out to middle-grade readers, who can be quite finicky unless the author is well known. I’m also handing it out to a lot of teachers, who seem to like it.
And for teens, we continue to love Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, a novel inspired by old photographs. It’s an interesting notion to write a story about found objects, and kids seem to be intrigued by it. We’ve had a great reaction to this book, and we look forward to its sequel. I think the novel needs a sequel, since it got a little messy in the end!