From snowy Great Barrington, Mass., in the Berkshire Mountains, bookseller Lauren Losaw talked about what she’s been recommending to customers for fireside reading.

The first book I have to mention is Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (Penguin/Paulsen), which is told in verse and is so beautifully done. It really touches the hearts of so many readers, from girls nine or 10 years old all the way up to teenagers and even adults. It is such a true-to-life and wonderfully told story about what it’s like to be an African-American girl growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, and the family that supports her. We have been doing very well handselling this novel.

Last year Lydia Davis reworked Alfred Ollivant’s Bob, Son of Battle: The Last Gray Dog of Kenmuir (New York Review Children’s Collection), and this is a staff pick of mine. It’s a story about a sheepdog in northern England, and was first published in 1898. Davis did a wonderful job keeping the pacing of the story and keeping the original words where they need to be, but made the text more understandable to today’s readers. I ask customers, “Does your child love animals?” and if they say yes, I recommend this book – for both boys and girls. It has the original black-and-white prints by Marguerite Kirmse, and they really are lovely.

In picture books, a favorite is Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Grey (Knopf). It’s a great story for four-to-six-year-olds, about a little mouse who investigates mysteries in his neighborhood. It shows kids that it’s important to keep your eyes open. As the mouse observes and picks up on clues, kids can find them in the pictures, too. I tell parents that this is a great picture book about observation.

Another great picture book is Please Bring Balloons by Lindsay Ward (Dial). A girl finds a note tucked into a carousel polar bear, instructing her to bring balloons. She does, and the story becomes dreamlike as the balloons carry her and the polar bear off toward the North Star. It’s a perfect adventure story, with some activity but not too much – so it works very well as a bedtime story.

A book that we’ve loved handselling for quite a while is Black Dog by Levi Pinfold (Candlewick/Templar), which is a wonderful story about overcoming fear. A family wakes up one morning to find a very large dog outside their house. They are all frightened, except for the littlest child, Small, who has the courage to confront and tame the dog, and convince him to shrink so he can go where she goes. It’s a fun book and the art is gorgeous, and is especially good for this time of year, since it is set in a snowy winter. All around, it is beautifully done.

And another picture book that is several years old that we enjoy handselling is Rabbityness by Jo Empson (Child’s Play), about a rabbit who teaches everyone to make music and create art – and then disappears and doesn’t come back. Often parents come in asking for books that address death. And though this book doesn’t specifically set out to do that, I think this is actually one of the very best books that parents can use to talk about death with young children. The illustrations’ color and movement are very well done, and we’ve sold quite a number of copies.