A young boy from Detroit visits his grandparents in Virginia for the summer. He's excited to be spoiled with extra special activities (isn't every grandkid?) but finds it hard at first to adjust to the slow pace of rural life. But when he does, he learns the beauty of doing "nothing special." The illustrations set the playful, cozy tone of this lovely story.
Kristin R.'s Picks
Kristin is an artist who lives in a house that is part library, part weird and eccentric art collection. She is an eclectic reader, often stealing her husband's current book (to the point where he's started leaving bookmarks in things he thinks she might enjoy!) Some of her favorite authors include Ursula K. LeGuin, Jonathan Stroud, Tamsyn Muir, Nicola Yoon and Kiese Laymon. When not at the bookshop, she is usually working on art or...you guessed it, reading. If you find yourself in our Burlington store, check out her mural, right above the children's section.
VT artist Zoe Tilley Poster takes us on a wild moonlit romp alongside "Dog." The night is mysterious and beautiful but also filled with adventure, making this a perfect bedtime story. Poster's soft, dreamy illustrations are done in brushed graphite which lets us really see the night through Dog's eyes. You may recognize her artwork from Frog Hollow or other local galleries.
I love stories about hidden histories! Authors Kate Messner and Margaret E. Powell tell us the story of Ann Lowe, a couture fashion designer. Lowe was highly sought after by "the social register" but not acknowledged publicly for a long time, because she was black. We owe so much to women like her who persevered behind the scenes to raise an art form and earn respect. Her story of hard work and artistic flair will inspire creative readers.
We are lucky to have a Caldecott winner in our midst! VT author/Illustrator Jason Chin's upcoming title is another example of his mastery in blending art and science. Full page spreads showing the insides of cells are as lushly imagined & illustrated as those where we more readily recognize the landscape. This book captures the magic of discovering whole new worlds and having your view shifted (in a good way!).
The true-crime craze isn't just for podcast-addicted adults! Kids love reading about weird facts and implausible stories, and Rebecca Valley's book is a well-curated selection of age appropriate true crimes that you can give your young reader without worrying. Includes forensic activities to try out!
Darcy Marks' debut is going to strike a chord with kids who've been told to stay home when things are afoot (hello pandemic.) But these aren't exactly ordinary kids, with their wings and horns, and these aren't just any suburbs, they're the suburbs of Hell. Their parents are trying to keep them safe as a truly evil soul is making a break for Earth; Salem, Mass. to be exact. My inner goth had such a great time with this book!
Wednesday & her service dog are out to solve mysteries and they have a great time doing it. This is a new series for readers who are just starting chapter books. It offers encouragement by taking breaks to celebrate how many words they've read, and to stop and think about the content. But it's done in a way that fits the sleuthing and fun of the story itself.
I love gifting short story compilations, because chances are, your recipient is going to find at least one new author to fall in love with. Tasting Light explores everyday coming-of-age issues but throws in speculative curveballs, like having your AI doppelganger snitch on your best friend, or choosing a new voice (think organ transplant) that helps express your true identity, but realizing there are strings attached. This is a great intro to a really diverse group of young adult authors! (Edited by A.R. Capetta, & includes a story by William Alexander. Both teach Writing for Children & Young Adults at VCFA, and have published several titles each in YA & MG respectively.)
Owl works alongside her aunt and uncle on their sugaring operation, ten years after a violent incident that sent her father to jail and left her partially deaf. This is an atmospheric story that will resonate with anyone who's spent a length of time outside in a New England winter. Owl is a resolute 17 year old, intrigued by a young ne'er do well who blows into town and is sent to help alongside her on the family's sugarbush. Her deafness is part of her, but not the focus of the story.
Music, first love, and discovering yourself, all during an epic 1980's summer concert tour...performing with your parents? It's a great list of ingredients and Burlington author Roesch handles them beautifully. Rainey Cobb goes from feeling stifled but afraid of disappointing her family, to realizing she can be true to herself without the world ending.