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Treehouse Favorites on the NBA and Kirkus Longlists

Awards season is here in the Kids’ Treehouse, too! We are absolutely thrilled that so many of our favorite titles have been long-listed for the National Book Awards and chosen for Kirkus Prize Finalists! What better proof that we are working our hardest to fill our shelves with the best of the best for our customers!

Some Brazos Picks that made the National Book Award Long List:

Booked Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544570986
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 5th, 2016

"Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/""on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can t nobody stop you/""can t nobody cop you " In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER, soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams.Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read. This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match.

Raymie Nightingale Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763681173
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - April 12th, 2016

Two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo returns to her roots with a moving, masterful story of an unforgettable summer friendship. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who's determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Staff Pick Logo
Pax Cover Image
By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062377012
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 2nd, 2016

From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come. Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather's house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .

Ghost (Track #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481450157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books - August 30th, 2016

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Check out the full NBA Long List here

And some more of our staff favorites that were recently named Kirkus Prize Finalists:

The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399176777
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - September 13th, 2016

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin's been taken, or if she's even alive. The only clue to both her aunt's disappearance and her father's murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed and punish the people responsible.

As Brave as You Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481415903
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books - May 3rd, 2016

As you can see from the above list, this is yet another Jason Reynolds book. If you are not reading this author yet, you absolutely must come get his books today!

When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires literally in this piercing middle grade novel by the winner of the Coretta Scott King Johnson Steptoe Award.

Genie's summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia in the COUNTRY The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and being a curious kid Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).

How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he's ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into a room so full of songbirds and plants that it's almost as if it's been pulled inside-out he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.

Burn Baby Burn Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763674670
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 8th, 2016

Two-time Pura Belpre Award winner Meg Medina returns with one of her greatest YA novels yet, which also made the longlist for the National Book Award.

While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina's riveting coming-of-age novel.

Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer of 1977, when the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. Nora's family life isn t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, her mother is helpless and falling behind on the rent, and her father calls only on holidays. All Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. And while there is a cute new guy who started working with her at the deli, is dating even worth the risk when the killer likes picking off couples who stay out too late? Award-winning author Meg Medina transports us to a time when New York seemed balanced on a knife-edge, with tempers and temperatures running high, to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit and the hardest to accept.

Check out the full Kirkus Prize list here

#BrazosBest: Vila-Matas Stories Translated at Last

Interview translated by Bárbara Volkmer Ruiz

What do The Paris Review, Bomb Magazine, and Brazos Bookstore have in common? We’ve all been lucky enough to interview the reticent Spanish author Enrique Vila-Matas, author of our current #BrazosBest pick, VAMPIRE IN LOVE!

Vampire in Love Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811223461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - September 27th, 2016

Mark Haber is the store manager of Brazos Bookstore. He was a juror for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. Besides being an advocate for translated literature his own short story collection, DEATHBED CONVERSIONS, is currently being translated into Spanish.

To Add, Not Reduce: A Q&A with Rafi Mittlefehldt

Rafi Mittlefehldt’s debut novel, IT LOOKS LIKE THIS, is a book I wish I could have read ten years ago—a simple, heart-wrenching story told in a quiet, cautious voice. Protagonist Mike is still adjusting to his new school in his family’s new hometown; his father is still trying to get him to be the tough, sports-driven son he wants; and his family is still attending church, still trying to pretend everything is fine. Then Mike meets Sean, and slowly, then quickly—too quickly—everything changes.

It Looks Like This Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763687199
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 6th, 2016

Rafi Mittlefehldt presents and signs IT LOOKS LIKE THIS on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 7pm. Pre-order your signed copy today.

Lydia is the events coordinator at Brazos Bookstore. She received her MFA in fiction from Iowa State University, but happily came back to Texas immediately after. Her writing has been published in Ninth Letter, LIT, and The Rumpus.

National Book Awards Longlists Announced

The literary awards season has begun! The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, has announced ten titles in four categories as the semi-finalists for the prestigious prize. The shortlist will be published on October 13, 2016 and the winners will be announced on November 16, 2016.

Women Are Humans: A Q&A with Laia Jufresa and Sophie Hughes

How to stump me as a bookseller: come into the store and ask me for a funny, happy book where nothing bad happens. Because the truth is, I will fail you, one hundred percent of the time. The flip side? People ask me about my favorite books and often, I can see their eyes glaze over as I mention rape, suicide, addiction—as if those books can’t also have moments that are funny and happy.

Umami Cover Image
By Laia Jufresa, Sophie Hughes (Translator)
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781780748917
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: ONEWorld Publications - September 13th, 2016

Not Conjectures but Delusions: A Q&A with Mauro Javier Cardenas

There are certain novels that announce their significance in simple and subtle ways: the style, the language, the sense of entering a space you haven’t been before. When starting THE REVOLUTIONARIES TRY AGAIN, the debut novel by Mauro Javier Cardenas, I found myself returning to the first few pages over and over again, mostly to grasp what was taking place and to keep my footing. Important books demand this. Important books insist that you adjust your thinking, sometimes even your reading habits, because the space you’re entering is something wholly new. Think THE AUTUMN OF THE PATRIARCH.

The Revolutionaries Try Again Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566894463
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 6th, 2016

THE REVOLUTIONARIES TRY AGAIN goes on sale September 6, 2016.

Gifts Spotlight : Introducing poppin and Elum

I love September. It’s my birthday month, and also the time that everyone goes back to school—which means NEW OFFICE SUPPLIES! As a buyer, there is nothing more exciting to me than when a box from a new vendor arrives at the store and the rest of the staff crowds around to see what's inside.

SKU: 846680028220

SKU: 846680056117

With Elum, I like that their products are quirky but still beautiful. The large square memo pad stands out because of its size and its abstract pansy background. On the top in copper foil, it says, “This is the bucket list, at least for today.” It's functional and fun, which is what I think desk items should be. Like the memo pad, the notebook is large and funky but it lays flat so it's not fussy.

SKU: x3062

SKU: x3063

Basically, there will always be things that need to get done. Why not make it less stressful by having office supplies that reward you for finishing things?

Prior to her position as the gift buyer at Brazos Bookstore, Ülrika Moats spent eight years working as a corporate visual merchandiser and district manager.

Rerouting the River: An Interview with Angela Palm

It’s hard to plan an escape when you’re young. When your only means is patience, a place like rural Indiana might seem like an immense snare. The nearby Kankakee River might begin to resemble a ribboning borderline between ‘stuck’ and ‘free,’ and its potential for portage—for carrying you away—might be constantly implied by the speed of its slopes, the bend of its banks, the flow of its floods. In RIVERINE, Angela Palm is an adult writing lyrically into her past, and with the merciful prescience that the girl whose story she narrates will one day flee.

Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere But Here Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977467
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - August 16th, 2016

RIVERINE is on sale now.

Lawrence Lenhart studied writing at the University of Pittsburgh and holds an MFA from The University of Arizona. His essay collection, THE WELL-STOCKED AND GILDED CAGE, was published in 2016 (Outpost19). His prose appears in Alaska Quarterly Review, Fourth Genre, Greensboro Review, Gulf Coast, Passages North, Prairie Schooner, Western Humanities Review, and elsewhere. He is a professor of fiction and nonfiction at Northern Arizona University and a reviews editor and assistant fiction editor of DIAGRAM.

Picture Books, Origin Stories, and Cake: Chatting with Varsha Bajaj

I’ve known Varsha Bajaj for about a decade now: first, in that “Hey didn’t I see you at a conference?” way all Houston kid lit authors know each other; next, as a fan of her work; and eventually, as a friend in the writerly trenches and beyond. When things get particularly trench-y, as things often do when you make art for part of your living, she’s part of a group of us that eats copious amounts of cake at Empire Café on Westheimer and solves the problems of the world. (They have grand cake at Empire, by the way. I’m partial to the carrot, but they’re all good.

This Is Our Baby, Born Today Cover Image
By Varsha Bajaj, Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780399166846
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 2nd, 2016

THIS IS OUR BABY BORN TODAY is on the Brazos shelves right now.

Varsha Bajaj is also the award winning author of How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? Illustrated by Ivan Bates, T is for Taj Mahal: An India Alphabet book and a middle grade novel, Abby Spencer goes to Bollywood. You can find out more about Varsha at

Joy Preble is the author of several young adult novels including the DREAMING ANASTASIA series ; the SWEET DEAD LIFE series; FINDING PARIS, which SLJ called, “An intricate guessing game of sisterly devotion, romance, and quiet desperation,”and IT WASN’T ALWAYS LIKE THIS, which Kirkus Reviews called ‘a modern Tuck Everlasting with a thriller twist.’ In between writing and working at Brazos Bookstore as bookseller/Children’s Specialist, she teaches and lectures widely on writing and literacy and is currently on faculty at Writespace Houston.

The Buyers’ Corner

Welcome to the Buyers’ Corner! Each month, Keaton asks his fellow indie book buyers what upcoming titles they are most excited about. It’s like visiting a bunch of bookstores all at once, with suggestions from some of the brightest minds in bookselling. And the best part? You don’t have to go anywhere! This month, we visit with a couple of our West Coast colleagues to see what they are reading right now...and what you should be reading in the near future. Pre-order your copies!

The Brother Cover Image
By Rein Raud, Adam Cullen (Translator)
ISBN: 9781940953441
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Open Letter - September 13th, 2016

PUB DATE: 9/13

“When was the last time you read a contemporary Estonian Spaghetti Western? Well, let Rein Raud’s first novel translated into English fill that void for you! Recounted in sparse yet evocative prose, this is the story of a mysterious stranger who arrives in a small town to take revenge on the corrupt local officials that cheated his sister out of her inheritance. Menacing, funny, dreamlike, and philosophical, this page-turning allegorical tale reads like the love-child of Cormac and Camus. THE BROTHER is a hidden gem you shouldn’t miss.”
—Keaton Patterson
Brazos Bookstore
Houston, TX

Bottom's Dream Cover Image
By Arno Schmidt, John E. Woods (Translator)
ISBN: 9781628971590
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Dalkey Archive Press - September 23rd, 2016

PUB DATE: 9/23

“Arno Schmidt's monumental novel is a 1500 page cinder block of high modernism, typographical ingenuity, and playfulness. Long considered a classic of German literature, John E. Woods' translation has been thirty years in the making and is now, at long last, available to English-language readers. In certain circles, this is the publishing event of the fall.”
—Stephen Sparks
Green Apple Books
San Francisco, CA

Eve Out of Her Ruins Cover Image
By Ananda Devi, Jeffrey Zuckerman (Translator), J. M. G. Le Clezio (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781941920404
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - September 13th, 2016

PUB DATE: 9/13

“In EVE OUT OF HER RUINS by Ananda Devi, translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman, we meet four teens: Eve, Saad. Clelio and Savita each driven by a desire to escape their lives in Troumaron a ghetto neighborhood on the resort island of Mauritius. The book focuses on Eve who attends high school by day and at night works as a prostitute. Devi's powerful novel, masterfully translated by Zuckerman, will consume you.”
—Caitlin Luce Baker
University Bookstore
Seattle, WA