BookKids: What We’re Lovin’ – Early Readers Edition

Eugenia’s most anticipated titles for spring and summer, which you can pre-order through your local independent bookstore! 

One of the biggest perks of working at a bookstore is being able to get our grubby hands on books months before their release. Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs) are scattered all over our offices, the break room, the Information desk, being shared among booksellers, hyped, reviewed, and sometimes– we’re passionate, y’all!– fought over.

One of my earliest memories at BookPeople takes place at a Kids team meeting. No one really knew me very well– some didn’t even know who I was, because I mostly worked our school events program and rarely came by the store– but they got to know me that fateful day, when our Penguin rep pulled out the new Sarah Dessen and I jumped for it. I mean, jumped for it.

Note this photo of me and Staci as proof of our love for Sarah Dessen and each other

I was not shy about it. And guess what? I wasn’t the only one. Our Inventory Manager, Staci, reached for the ARC as well, and we had a little tug-of-war for the copy until our rep reassured us she had another in her car. Whew. Don’t worry, our love grew from there and we are both thrilled to be hosting Sarah this summer (mark your calendars for June 4th!).

The reason I wanted to talk about ARCs is because we usually tend to promote books that are already on our shelves, but the truth of the matter is, most of the time we are reading books that our customers don’t yet have access to. And, as I have learned over the last couple of years, a lot of people don’t realize that they can pre-order books through their local independent bookstore. So I am here to tell you: YES. WE CAN PRE-ORDER THAT FOR YOU! We even run pre-order campaigns offering signed, personalized books by local authors– current campaigns include Christina Soontornvat and Lindsay Leslie! So for this month’s “What We’re Lovin'” I’m giving you a sneak peek at some of the books coming out in the next few months that I am jumping for and urge you to check out. Like, I’d fight people (Staci!) for these. You ready?!9780525553410_35d0bFirst up is My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña. This book is everything! A glorious, colorful celebration of everyday life in Daisy Ramona’s bustling city, from the local tortillería to Joy’s Market and the gorgeous murals covering the old buildings, to Abuelito and Abuelita’s yellow house, where the food always tastes better. Quintero’s writing is so detailed and purposeful, and Peña’s illustrations are full of life– he beautifully captures the sounds and smells forming in Daisy Ramona’s memories of home. This book made me crave nopales and my mother’s albóndigas, which I can say with confidence give Abuelita’s some competition! This picture book comes out in May and you can pre-order your copy here.

I am indeed a picture book lover and this one in particular is such a joy to read! Look! 9780399558184_7d97fWrote a Book! (And You Can Too!) was shared by our buyer in another Kids meeting– those are always fun!– and we all huddled around it, turning the pages, pointing at little details, and laughing. This book is brilliant, hilarious, and wonderfully creative– a perfect tool to inspire young writers at home or for writing workshops. Look! I Wrote a Book! releases in July and you can pre-order your copy here.

I adore heartfelt middle grade novels, and out of all the ARCs I’ve read so far this year, I know Other Words for Home will be at the top of my Best of 2019 list! Sounds dramatic, but please, let me tell you about this book! I stayed up past my bedtime reading Jasmine Warga’s words, taking note of countless passages that absolutely STUNNED me. Jude’s voice still echoes in my head, her story so intimate and scary and heartfelt and sad and triumphant and, and– everything. 9780062747808_cec2cThis book is everything. Through Jude’s journey from Syria to the United States, we get to experience as readers the complexities of being an immigrant, feeling like an outsider. Jude arrives in an unfamiliar city, starts at a new school, takes ESL classes and makes friends, witnessing first hand this country’s strengths as well as its flaws– all while missing home and everything, everyone, she had to leave behind. As an immigrant myself, I related to some aspects of the transition, but it was a completely different immigrant experience from my own, which is a major reason I love reading immigrant stories and fresh, new voices. I hope you take my word for it and pre-order this book (coming in May) because it will make you cry and smile at the same time. Don’t you just love when that happens?!

Finally, a quick shout-out to the last Young Adult ARC I read and loved: Kings, Queens & In-Betweens 9781534430655_b59ebby Tanya Boteju. I loved joining Nima on her journey to get over her straight girlfriend and discover her most adventurous, confident, sexy drag king self. Reading this book was a delightful experience, full of heart and humor, with such a real sense of community that will envelop you and make you want to stay in Tanya Boteju’s world forever. Kings, Queens & In-Betweens releases in May and it just SCREAMS summer vacation read. You can pre-order it here.

So, remember– next time you’re in your local bookstore, ask them to pre-order a book you’re anticipating. Is there an author whose work you enjoyed recently? Ask your bookseller if that author has any new books coming out. I’m sure they’ll be happy to look it up (if they don’t already know/have an ARC stashed at home) and share the good news! Or, if you’re partial to the couch like me, be sure to check out your indie’s website to pre-order online!

What books are YOU looking forward to?

-Eugenia, Kids Events & Marketing Coordinator

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