Kids Article

Joy Interviews Lynne Kelly, Author of SONG FOR A WHALE

I have known Houston author Lynne Kelly since her first middle grade novel, CHAINED debuted back in 2010, and I’m lucky to call her a friend. She is an amazing writer with books that are both funny and heartwarming and always memorable. She is also many other things, including a lover of animals and a sign-language interpreter, both of which led her to write her newest novel, SONG FOR A WHALE, which is getting both amazing buzz and phenomenal reviews. So it was my great honor and pleasure to get to interview her about SONG and the writing life and whales and more!

Song for a Whale Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524770235
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - February 5th, 2019

Do You Know These Houston Kid Lit Authors?

At Brazos, we LOVE supporting authors. And it’s particular fun to promote Texas authors (especially but not limited to Houston authors!, first because they are awesome, and also because they often pop in even when they don’t have a new book out! Texas has a phenomenal and huge literary community, so there are far more amazing kidlit authors in the state than I can feature in one article. So I thought I’d introduce you to some (but certainly not all!) of my Houston favorites--in alpha order!-- and encourage you to discover them, buy their books, and spread the word.

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Mya in the Middle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062839398
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - October 16th, 2018

Crystal Allen writes award-winning, funny, heartwarming early reader and middle grade fiction featuring African American characters. Her books blow off the shelves and her school visits are prized events all over the country. Start with her debut, HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON HIM A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY (which won the coveted Sid Fleischman Award for humorous writing), and then read on from there. She’s going to be helping us kick off Spring Break Houston Reads week, where we’ll be featuring her early reader MYA TIBBS series.

The Home Builders Cover Image
By Varsha Bajaj, Simona Mulazzani (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780399166853
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - February 12th, 2019

Varsha Bajaj’s HOW MANY KISSES DO YOU WANT TONIGHT is consistently one of our bestselling board books. Her ABBY SPENCER GOES TO BOLLYWOOD is also a hit in our middle grade section. And her THIS IS OUR BABY BORN TODAY sells and sells as a perfect new baby and shower gift! Varsha’s got more on the way, including a lovely picture book titled HOMEBUILDERS, which she’ll be reading at a special story time on 3/2 at our usual 10:30.

Word Burglar Cover Image
By Chris Cander, Katherine Tramonte (Illustrator)
Unavailable from Brazos Bookstore
ISBN: 9781936474967
Availability: Out of Print - Not Available for Order
Published: Bright Sky Press - October 1st, 2013

Chris Cander writes both children’s books and adult novels. Her adult novel WEIGHT OF A PIANO is out soon, getting many starred reviews and lots of acclaim and buzz, and we are hosting an event on 1/22 that you should definitely attend! And check out her picture book WORD BURGLAR next time you’re in the Treehouse!

Song for a Whale Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524770235
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - February 5th, 2019

Lynne Kelly writes amazing middle grade novels. Her SONG FOR A WHALE is getting fabulous trade reviews and enormous buzz (Newbery, anyone?) and will be out next month! We are thrilled to be hosting her on school visits in HISD, and we’re crossing our fingers that she can join us in the coming months for Middle Grade Book Club. I’ll be doing an interview with Lynne for a future newsletter so you can learn more about her (she’s also a sign language interpreter and SONG’s main character and her grandmother are both Deaf). Pre-order SONG FOR A WHALE here.

In Another Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062459916
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - August 28th, 2018

Caroline Leech is a friend of the store, our favorite Scottish ex-pat, and a full part of Houston’s arts community because not only is she an author of wonderful, historical-fiction YA novels, she’s also married to Perryn Leech, the managing director of the Houston Grand Opera! Caroline has launched two of her novels right here at Brazos, both of which are set in WII-era rural Scotland, and both of which are delightful, romantic reads. Here’s a link to her most recent, IN ANOTHER TIME, can be ordered right here.

Moxie: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250104267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - September 18th, 2018

YA novel, MOXIE--the story of a girl who, tired of the sexism in her high school, creates a protest zine and ends up starting a feminist revolution-- is consistently one of our store bestsellers! It’s a great read for ages 12/13 and up, a great read for adults, too. Jennifer is a prolific, award-winning writer, and also an English teacher at Bellaire HS. We adore her and can’t wait for her next novel, coming this fall! You can grab a copy of MOXIE here.

Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits Cover Image
By Anna Meriano, Mirelle Ortega (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062498496
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Walden Pond Press - February 5th, 2019

Anna Meriano’s LOVE SUGAR MAGIC middle grade series is a wonderful, magical delight. Think small town Texas bakery, a family of brujas, and a girl who’s still trying to figure out her place in the family--and her magic! It’s fun, funny, and heartwarming and Anna will be launching the second book right here at Brazos! Pre-order LOVE SUGAR MAGIC: A SPRINKLE OF SPIRITS and join us on 2/9 for the launch party!

Those are enough to get you started discovering Houston’s many, wonderful kidlit authors! (I’m one of them, too, so feel free to ask me next time you’re in the store!) And stay tuned for other articles in which we branch out to the rest of Texas!

Magic and Grit: Joy Interviews Kendra Fortmeyer

One of the most intriguing books I read in 2018 is Kendra Fortmeyer’s HOLE IN THE MIDDLE, which, as the title reflects, is about a teenage girl named Morgan who was born with a hole in her middle-- this perfect, round, empty space that somehow has no other effect on her body other than being this strange, at times almost mystical deformity. She has spent her whole life hiding it, until one day she doesn’t. What happens after that is engine that drives this fascinating contemporary with a little bit of magical realism intersecting.

Hole in the Middle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616959562
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Teen - September 4th, 2018

The 2018 Children's Holiday Catalog

 We are so very excited to introduce our Holiday Kids’ List! There’s something here for everyone, for all tastes and interests – from our youngest readers to teens and beyond – because we all know that a good book is a good book and that crosses all age lines! As we do all year long, our hope for our Holiday list is that we are bringing our customers a thoughtfully-curated collection of the best of what is new in children’s and young adult literature, both fiction and non-fiction.

Food and Family are Universals: Joy Interviews Emily Jenkins, Author of ALL-OF-A-KIND FAMILY HANUKKAH

One of my very favorite series growing up was Sydney Taylor’s ALL OF A KIND FAMILY, about five Jewish sisters growing up at the turn of the 20th century in New York City’s Lower East Side. The stories are delightful-- vivid and funny and warm, with clear Jewish representation and plots that are about everyday life adventures, not issues. I read them over and over. So imagine my excitement when I saw that one of my favorite authors for young people, Emily Jenkins, had been asked to write the  ALL OF A KIND FAMILY HANUKKAH picture book!

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah Cover Image
By Emily Jenkins, Paul O. Zelinsky (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780399554193
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Schwartz & Wade - September 11th, 2018

Intentions, Hot Takes, and Forgiveness: Joy Interviews Leila Sales

I’ve been a huge fan of Leila Sales’ writing since I picked up a copy of THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE, about about a girl DJ, the power of music, relationships, and more. Sales’ voice grabbed me then and hasn’t let me go since. So what a true pleasure to be able to interview her about writing, life, Twitter-dragging, moral grey areas, and her newest and very timely YA IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY about girl who thoughtlessly says something truly awful on line and has to deal with the public and personal fallout. Here’s what Leila had to say:

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374380991
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - May 1st, 2018

Joy Interviews Elana K. Arnold, Author of DAMSEL

I recently had the privilege of meeting author Elana K. Arnold at the Austin SCBWI conference. She was giving one of the keynotes and I was presenting a breakout session, and somehow we sat together at dinner. The ensuing conversation over chips and guacamole and margaritas about literature and life and feminism and fairy tales and more was so fascinating that I asked her right then if I could interview her. And then I read DAMSEL. It is a powerful novel, skillfully written and raw in its emotions even as Arnold uses fairy tale narrative structure.

Damsel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062742322
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - October 2nd, 2018

Dad and Daughter Make A Book: Joy Interviews Caldecott Winner Matthew Cordell

One of the picture books I’ve been eagerly anticipating is finally here: Caldecott’s Medal winner (WOLF IN THE SNOW) Matthew Cordell’s KING ALICE, about a little girl and her family stuck indoors on a snowy day. When Alice’s dad suggests she create her own book to combat snow day boredom, all sorts of imaginative shenanigans ensue!

So imagine my delight when I was able to interview Matthew Cordell about his books, his family, winning the Caldecott and more! Here’s what Matthew had to say:

King Alice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250047496
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Feiwel & Friends - September 25th, 2018

Joy Interviews Rachel Toalson, Author of THE COLORS OF THE RAIN

It’s my great pleasure today to get to chat with debut author Rachel Toalson, one of our wonderful Texas authors of books for young adults. She’ll be in store on Sunday, 9/23, discussing and signing her novel THE COLORS OF RAIN, which is set here in Houston, in the tumultuous 1970s.

Broadening our Horizons in Kid Lit

One of the things I love best about my colleagues here at Brazos is that every day, we challenge each other to broaden our reading. Whether it’s Sara encouraging us to read Women in Translation or Mark getting excited about Latin American novels in translation or Keaton putting strange and wonderful literary gems in our hands or dozens of other moments, we collectively explore the world through the books we discover--and are able to pass on to our customers.

Dreamers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780823440559
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Neal Porter Books - September 4th, 2018

We will have this in both English and Spanish. The English version is effortlessly bilingual, and the illustrations are breathtaking. I’ve been a fan of Yuyi Morales since I heard her speak at the national SCBWI conference in LA, and I’ve made it a point to stock her book since I came to Brazos. Her picture book Horrendous Hermanitos, a bilingual wrestling adventure, is a store favorite. Dreamers is inspired by Yuyi’s own immigration story, and obviously it couldn’t be a more timely tale.

A Winter's Promise: Book One of the Mirror Visitor Quartet Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609454838
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Europa Editions - September 25th, 2018

We are so thrilled that this YA fantasy gem from a French author is now available in an impeccable translation. A girl named Ophelia who can read the past of objects. Who can travel through mirrors. And who gets promised off in marriage, sent far away to ‘a cold icy ark known as the Pole’ and realizes she is part of a political game that could affect everything she knows and loves. Winter’s Promise is being compared to American YA titles as Margaret Rogers’ An Enchantment of Ravens; Melissa Albert’s The Hazelwood; V.S. Schwab’s Shades of Magic, and our very popular summer reading title, Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone –– both in its fantasy content as well as the gorgeous scope of the store.

A note from Laura: This is Europa’s first foray into Young Adult novels and I couldn’t be more excited! You may know Europa Editions for their beloved adult titles such as Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series or Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog. A Winter's Promise is the first book in the world-wide best selling Mirror Visitor Quartet. A lush, romantic tale about family, duty, and discovering your independence, this book is going to be a crowd pleaser!