It’s been a busy fall for Shirley Mullin, owner of Kids Ink in Indianapolis, who shares word of what books are moving swiftly in her store.
We are doing very well with two fall picture books. All of our staff loves Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino, and we’ve already sold out of it twice since it came out in October. Its theme is universal: a rabbit and an owl are competing about who has the taller house, and finally work it out and become friends. Another staff favorite is Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip and Erin Stead. We’ve found that this is such a great book for librarians and teachers. Bear knows he has a story to tell his friends, and that’s a great inspiration for children. We all have a story to tell—the story of who we are.
Another book I love is Unspoken by Henry Cole. It’s a gorgeous, wordless story about the Underground Railroad, and it feels so authentic and is very touching. It’s a bit complicated for a wordless book, but I think it can work well with older kids, ages nine-up, rather than with beginning readers, which is the audience for most wordless books. I am making three or four presentations to teachers and librarians in the coming weeks, and I am going to talk about this book. Cole’s illustrations are amazing—they have so much detail—and the book could be a good writing prompt. I think it is going to sell well.
Along with Bear Has a Story to Tell, the other book we’re having most trouble keeping in stock now is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s not a new book—it came out last winter—but it’s an amazing story about a fifth grader with a bad facial deformity who is going to school for the first time. He is a very appealing character and is so courageous, going into middle school with so many more problems than most kids. We’re selling this to readers from fourth through eighth grades, and I think it’s probably going to be one of our bestsellers of the year.
And I must mention a personal favorite that is selling incredibly well for us. It’s Ashen Winter, a sequel to Ashfall, a book for teens that received wonderful notices and accolades and is now out in paperback and selling well too. The novels are by Mike Mullin—who is my son! The stories are scary—a teen and a friend he meets along the way are trying to survive after a volcano erupts in Yellowstone. They are traveling through the Midwest, so the books have a local angle and are big sellers for us.
In terms of holiday books, one that is already selling strongly and I think we’ll run out of before the week is over is Tomie dePaola’s The Birds of Bethlehem. Maybe because we haven’t had a new Tomie in a couple of years, this book has been huge for us for Christmas. It’s a beautiful book and our staff is really enjoying selling it. We definitely need more copies! And quite a few other books in our holiday catalogue are already selling well, which is great.