21 December 2014

Favorite books to handsell

Everyone is making their booklists for the end of the year so I thought I'd type up a booklist of my own!  Since I work at a bookstore (my 3rd bookstore) I thought I'd write up a list of the books I tend to pick when customers need help figuring out what to buy for their loved ones.  This also means that I'm not picking 2014 published books.

Top picks in Board Books/Picture Books:

1. ANY books by Virginia Lee Burton: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, The Little House, Katy and the Big Snow, Choo Choo, and Maybelle the Cable Car.  Funny enough almost all of these come in both Board and Picture so I sell them quite frequently.  The illustrations are amazing, there is an ACTUAL story instead of only a word per page or repeating phrases.  These are great because kids can grow with the stories.  Plus you can point out things in the pictures and ask questions of little ones which holds their attention. (published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

2. Little Elliot and the Big City by Mike Curato.  Okay first of all I love that several of the illustrations are based on actual historical photos of NYC, that Mike found in the archives.  The story is sweet, literally Elliot visits a cupcake shop TWICE and there are 2 more books on the way about Little Elliot.  The next one is Little Elliot Big Family.  Plus, Mike used to live in Seattle so he's sort of a local! (published by Henry Holt & Co., an imprint of Macmillan)

3.  The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak.  If you are a parent or loved one who is willing to totally embarrass yourself this is an amazing book.  There really are no pictures...the words throughout this book is in different colors, sizes and fonts.  You are a monkey.  No really you are.  It's a hilarious book that I would highly recommend for families and teachers!  (published by Dial Press, an imprint of Random House)

3. Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. The duck sees children riding bikes and wants to try it himself.  As soon as the kids are in the house the duck climbs on a bike and starts biking around all the different farm animals who call out to him.  Eventually ALL the animals join him for a bike ride.  I seriously can't say enough about the illustrations by David.   (published by Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic)

4. Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw (there is a whole series).  These are fun rhyming books about sheep in all sorts of silly situations.  I find myself cracking up at the crazy antics the sheep get into.  I love reading these to my nephews.   (published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

5. Llama Llama (any in this series) and Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too! by Anna Dewdney.  I admit I adore these books since I started buying them for my nephews.  The illustrations are actual paintings Nina does on square canvas.  The rhyming and fun little details in the pictures are one of the reasons these books are an easy recommendation.  (published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin)

Top Picks in Beginning Reader/Early Chapter Books:

1. Amelia Bedelia (any books about her) by Peggy Parish.  These early reader books are silly.  Adults and kids love them even if as an adult you wonder why Mr. and Mrs. Rogers don't quite catch on to how they should speak to her about what they really want.  There is also a new series about Amelia as a child (Young Amelia Bedelia) by Peggy's nephew Herman.  (Published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins)

2. Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton series by Elisabetta Dami (a.k.a. Thea and Geronimo Stilton).  These are great books for 1st and 2nd graders.  The illustrations are awesome and there are times that the words are in different colors and fonts.  I recommend these due to the length of the series and off-shoots and the ability to keep kids attention.  (published by Scholastic)

3. Ivy & Bean series by Annie Barrows.  Bean is a little ragtag girl who does her best to bother her older sister with whom she does not get along with.  In the first book Bean is avoiding Ivy at all costs due to her mother so badly wanting her to make friends with the new neighbor girl.  That is, until the day when Bean needs a place to hide so she can avoid getting into trouble.  Ivy saves her and they become friends.  This series is about a fun rough and tumble girl and her imaginative friend causing mischief and having fun.  (published by Chronicle Books)

4. Little Bear series by Else Minarik. I love these books and remember them from my childhood.  The illustrations are simple and great.  I still remember the stories and that shows how well they stick with you! (published by Scholastic)

5.  Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff.  Can you imagine a dinosaur being your friend? Um...yeah it would be amazing!  The adventures of Danny and his friend (published by HarperCollins)

Top Picks in 8 to 12 year old Books:

1. Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger.  Okay I admit this is on my To-Read list but after hearing Shannon talk about it at an author event it sounds amazing!  You can't go wrong gifting this due to all the adventure, fun and hello A UNICORN? Plus these books will keep kids occupied for a while due to their length.  (published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)

2. The Ever Afters series by Shelby Bach.  Do your kids love fairy tales?  Well here is a series where they are reimagined in a whole new way.  Yes, this is yet another set of books on my To-Read list but I have heard nothing but great things from friends who have read them!  Definitely a must have for your kids!  (published by Simon & Schuster)

3. Ellen Tebbits and Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary.  I can't tell you how many times I read Ellen Tebbits as a kid.  I still remember the original cover which I related to, since I took dance as a kid.  Ralph S. Mouse was a fun read as well.  Do you remember when they made it into a tv movie?  Ralph riding around on his motorcycle in the house...totally my favorite thing to watch.  (originally published by Yearling, an imprint of RandomHouse, now published by HarperCollins)

4. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell.  It sounds gross...okay it IS gross but this book always cracked me up as a kid and kids love gross things.  You can't go wrong with this books.  (published by Dell Yearling, imprint of Random House)

Top Picks in 10 to 14 year old Books:

1. The Finisher (first in a series) by David Baldacci.  Vega Jane works at a factory as a Finisher, that is she is the last on the assembly line of a variety of products.  Her job is to decorate, polish and finish each product beautifully.  Meanwhile, she is taking care of her younger brother while her parents are in a care facility for a mysterious reason.  Not only is Vega Jane trying to figure out what happened to her parents but she's also trying to figure out why her village is cut off from the outside world.  Such an amazing book!  (published by Scholastic)

2.  The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.  "Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago."  I mean after reading that do you really want to miss out on this book?  My favorite part is the ending!  I loved the choice she made and I really enjoyed getting to know Charlotte.  (published by HarperCollins)

3. The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson.  I love this book for the boy and girl main characters and for the mystery surrounding the impending alien attack..or is it?  Do not miss this summertime adventure where Haley and Dodger and their families trek across the country to figure out what is happening and how they can stop it.  I wish there was a second book in this series as I could definitely keep reading about H & D.  (published by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins)

4. Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer Holm.  May Amelia has so many older brothers...and is the ONLY girl in her family.  She loves adventure, the outdoors and not dressing in dresses.  She is my kind of girl!  Not only is this book a fun read but so is the new follow up The Trouble with May Amelia.  These are must reads for the girls you know!  (published by HarperCollins)

5. The Swap by Megan Shull.  I picked this up and was pleasantly surprised by the fun storyline of a boy and girl who switch bodies.  Seriously, loved this book.  It's a great book and I would definitely recommend it to boys and girls.  (published by Katherine Tegan Books, an imprint of HarperCollins)

Top Picks in Young Adult Books:

In this category the first three are a group of books I handsell and talk about together.  They are all contemporary, based in high school and I strongly feel they complement each other due to their topics.

1. Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu.  Tabitha loves to read books by Mary Barnett and leave margin notes before she trades out her books at used shops for a different book.  This leads her to finding a book that already has margin notes inside...and include a secret website.  I loved the ending of this book and immediately wanted to read it again!  (published by Katherine Tegan, an imprint of HarperCollins)

2. Tease by Amanda Maciel.  Sara has been criminally charged for harassing a classmate.  This classmate committed suicide and now it's up to the court to figure out what really happened.  Jump back and forth between Sara facing the court and going back to the past to what actually happened.  Find out the truth as Sara faces it. (published by Balzar + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins)

3. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu.  Rumors surround Alice about who and what kind of person she may be.  Every chapter is by a student in her class with their different memories of what happened to bring Alice to where she is now.  Wait until you find out what the truth is. (published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan)

4. Exile and The Atlanteans series by Kevin Emerson.  Exile: Set in a performing arts high school where Summer/Catherine is a band manager, facing the odds at finding a new band to manage and a mystery surrounding a classmates father's death and missing music.  You won't be able to put this down.  The Atlanteans: A dystopian/sci fi book based in 2086 where everyone is living below ground and in domes.  Owen is one of a few teens trying to figure out who the 3 are that will and can save the planet from what is destroying it.  A little bit romance, quite a lot of mystery, and you can't miss out on the travel element!  There were times I wanted to cry and yell and times I was really excited!   (published by HarperCollins)

5. Monument 14 series by Emmy Laybourne.  This is the first trilogy I will say that I read all three in one day.  The illustrated maps at the beginning and end of every book added a special element to reading these books.  I loved knowing where all the kids were going, what the layout was of the store they lived in, and how they were trying to locate their family members. If you like stories where kids look out for each other this one is for you.  (published by Macmillan)

6. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.  Parallel universe travel, two guys she isn't sure she can trust and the loss of her father bring Marguerite to a place where she is searching for what is true.  I can't wait for the next two books in this series. Plus the cover art is freaking amazing. (published by HarperCollins)

7. The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.  I loved this storyline.  I loved these characters.  The adventures throughout the trilogy had my heart pounding.  I read all three books in one day.  There are only a few other trilogies I can say that about. (published by Macmillan)

Anything not Kids:

1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  A young lady working in a cafe loses her job when the owner sells and moves off to an exotic island.  As the youngest daughter every task is pushed off on her until she finds a job that has her working for parents of a 30 yr old man who was quite the extreme sportsman until he had an accident.  Two strong characters who know how to push each others buttons! (published by Viking)

2. The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.  This series had me reading them straight through all in a row.  Atticus is the last Druid and he has tattoo's on his body that allow him to heal and charge up by laying on the earth.  There are 7 books so you won't need anything new to read for at least a week. (published by Del Rey, an imprint of Ballantine books)

3. Any books by Cecilia Ahern.  Her imaginative books leave me always wanting more to read! They are all fun and relaxing reads. You won't be able to put them down. You may remember the movie P.S. I Love You, which was based on the book of the same name. (published by Hyperion & HarperCollins)

4. The First Law books by Joe Abercrombie.  If you love books with war, love, adventure and multiple character point of views then you should check these books out.  Out of all the characters Logen Ninefingers is my favorite.  Read the books to see why! (published by Gollancz, an imprint of Onion)

5. The Devil and the White City by Erik Larson.  I'm from Illinois...so history of Chicago and the World's Fair that took place there seemed a natural read.  Not only is there murder and mayhem but a quite enjoyable history of items, buildings and foods created for the Chicago World's Fair.  (published by Vintage, an imprint of Knopf Doubleday)

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