The September/October Kids' Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the titles on the September/October 2021 Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Kids’ Box mailing. The September/October title list is also viewable as a collection in Edelweiss.

The tri-fold, four-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for September/October and additional titles organized by age group. All Indie Next List picks are based on recommendations from booksellers at independent bookstores across the country and include a bookseller quote and full bibliographic information. 

The deadline for nominating titles for the November/December 2021 Kids' Indie Next List is September 8. Find more information about nominating tiles here

#1 Pick - The Beatryce Prophecy
By Kate DiCamillo, Sophie Blackall (Illus.)
(Candlewick, 9781536213614, $19.99, Sept. 28, Ages: 8-12)
“Kate DiCamillo weaves a medieval tale that reads like a classic fable. This ode to stories will leave readers feeling comforted, like they are securely holding onto the ear of a beloved goat.”
—Julie Jarema, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Picture Books

Bear Is a Bear
By Jonathan Stutzman, Dan Santat (Illus.)
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062880512, $18.99, Sept. 14, Ages: 4-8)
“Jonathan Stutzman spins a timeless story of a child and their beloved teddy. In the hands of illustrator Dan Santat, Bear is instantly lovable. Be warned: Parents may tear up reading this one at bedtime.”
—Ernio Hernandez, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, CT

Bright Star
By Yuyi Morales
(Neal Porter Books, 9780823443284, $18.99, Sept. 7, Ages: 4-7)
“Yuyi Morales has the ability to convey so much emotion and imagery, leaving the reader teary-eyed with a pounding heart. Bright Star is a gorgeous and stunning picture book with a powerful message.”
—Lauren Nopenz Fairley, Curious Iguana, Frederick, MD

Einstein: The Fantastic Journey of a Mouse Through Space and Time (Mouse Adventures)
By Torben Kuhlmann
(Northsouth Books, 9780735844445, $22, Sept. 7, Ages: 6+)
“Einstein and his theory of relativity send the mice on an adventure to solve a problem, and ultimately to entertain us! ‘Ingenious’ is the perfect word to describe this fourth book in the series.”
—Margaret Neville, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

It Fell from the Sky
By Terry Fan, Eric Fan
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534457621, $17.99, Sept. 28, Ages: 4-8)
“The Fan brothers tell the story of a mysterious object landing and becoming a centerpiece in a P.T. Barnum-style, ticketed museum of wonders. Except...those attending the exhibits are insects.”
—Lisa Yee Swope, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

It’s OK, Slow Lizard
By Yeorim Yoon, Jian Kim (Illus.), Chi-Young Kim (Transl.)
(Yonder, 9781632062772, $18.95, Sept. 28, Ages: 3-6)
“Delightful, whimsical, and sweet, Slow Lizard is a calm and observant little creature, and he’s great at helping his friends calm down and feel better. I would love to see more of Slow Lizard and his friends.”
—Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA

Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest
By Phoebe Wahl
(Tundra Books, 9780735264892, $19.99, Sept. 21, Ages: 4-8)
“Four seasonal short stories introduce children to the forest and kindness to their fellow creatures in various ways. Beautiful illustrations accompany lessons about care for all in our world.”
—R. Aimee Chipman, The Bluestocking Bookshop, Holland, MI

My Two Border Towns
By David Bowles, Erika Meza (Illus.)
(Kokila, 9780593111048, $17.99, Aug. 24, Ages: 4-8)
“With vibrant illustrations and a message on using your privilege to advocate for and take care of those without the same privilege, this overwhelmingly sweet story is meant to ignite further discussion.”
—Claire Phelan, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Negative Cat
By Sophie Blackall
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 9780399257193, $17.99, Aug. 31, Ages: 4-8)
“For seasoned animal parents (or those adopting their first), Sophie Blackall illustrates the wonderful individuality of cats while demonstrating that patience, unconditional love, and reading aloud can be a truly healing force.”
—Angie Zhao, bbgb books, Richmond, VA

Norman Didn’t Do It!: (Yes, He Did)
By Ryan Higgins
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781368026239, $17.99, Sept. 7, Ages: 3-5)
“Did Norman do it? Children of all ages will find a relatable, lovable friend in Norman the porcupine. A creative, thoughtful, and humorous book that parents and children will adore (and talk about)!”
—Kirsten Hess, Let’s Play Books!, Emmaus, PA

The People Remember
By Ibi Zoboi, Loveis Wise (Illus.)
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062915641, $19.99, Sept. 28, Ages: 4-8)
“Spanning centuries of African American experience and weaving into the story the principles of Kwanzaa, this is a stunning picture book that should become a classic.”
—Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

Middle Grade

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna (Indies Introduce)
By Alda P. Dobbs
(Sourcebooks Young Readers, 9781728234656, $17.99, Sept. 14, Ages: 9-12)
“Readers will be drawn into the Mexican Revolution as they follow Petra and her family through a world of Federales and revolucionarias. An engaging, action-packed, and mighty fine story!”
—Kim Brock, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales
By Soman Chainani, Julia Iredale (Illus.)
(HarperCollins, 9780062652638, $17.99, Sept. 21, Ages: 10+)
“A stellar addition to any collection. Soman Chainani reworks fairy tales in a dark, enchanting, and fresh way that breathes life into the classics and makes them feel timely and empowering.”
—Brad Sells, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Dead Wednesday
By Jerry Spinelli
(Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780593306673, $17.99, Aug. 3, Ages: 10+)
“A heartwarming story about living life, dealing with death — even if you’re the one who’s dead — and the impact you have on others’ lives.”
—Melissa Fitzgerald, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, KS

Egg Marks the Spot (Skunk and Badger 2)
By Amy Timberlake, Jon Klassen (Illus.)
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781643750064, $18.95, Sept. 14, Ages: 7-10)
“Skunk and Badger’s budding friendship is tested as they embark on an adventure and encounter Badger’s shifty cousin, rats in hardhats, an incredible fossil, and one very brave chicken.”
—Chris Saccheri, Linden Tree Children’s Books, Los Altos, CA

Garlic and the Vampire
By Bree Paulsen
(Quill Tree Books, hardcover/paperback, 9780062995094/9780062995087, $22.99/$12.99, Sept. 28, Ages: 8-12)
“Why wouldn’t a living head of garlic make the best vampire-hunter among a garden of vegetables? Garlic isn’t sure she’s the right hero. But when duty calls, she answers.”
—Griffin Mauser, BookPeople, Austin, TX

By Brian Selznick
(Scholastic Inc., 9781338777246, $19.99, Sept. 21, Ages: 10+)
“Fragmentary tales spin together with beautiful illustrations to tell a story of longing, togetherness, separateness, and — above all — love. Behind the kaleidoscope is the constant that we inevitably come together even when far apart.”
—Stephen A. Allen, Forever Books, St. Joseph, MI

Paradise on Fire
By Jewell Parker Rhodes
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316493833, $16.99, Sept. 14, Ages: 8-12)
“Addy suffers from the memory of the house fire that killed her parents, and then a forest fire overwhelms her at wilderness camp. A gripping and satisfying novel for middle-grade readers.”
—Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

By R.J. Palacio
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553508116, $17.99, Sept. 28, Ages: 10+)
“This book takes you on a heartstring-tugging ride that covers some hard-to-handle subjects with the grace only R.J. Palacio can bring.”
—Kerry Clemm, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

A Soft Place to Land
By Janae Marks
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062875877, $16.99, Sept. 14, Ages: 8-12)
“Janae Marks offers readers hope in this appealing novel of friendship and second chances. Exploring powerful themes, such as responsibility, loyalty, and forgiveness, A Soft Place to Land is a joy!”
—Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

Treasure in the Lake
By Jason Pamment
(HarperAlley, hardcover/paperback, 9780063065185/9780063065178, $22.99/$12.99, Sept. 7, Ages: 8-12)
“A brilliant treasure of the heart with beautiful graphics, wonderful characters, and a story that will excite readers on every page. Kids and adults will be grabbing this one off the shelf and devouring it.”
—Chris Abouzeid, Belmont Books, Belmont, MA

Young Adult

All These Bodies
By Kendare Blake
(Quill Tree Books, 9780062977168, $18.99, Sept. 21, Ages: 14+)
“Through constant twists and turns, Kendare Blake keeps readers on the edge of their seats trying to discover who’s responsible for the Bloodless Murders. A young girl couldn’t possibly kill all these people…could she?”
—Stephanie Carrion, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

Beasts of Prey
By Ayana Gray
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 9780593405680, $18.99, Sept. 28, Ages: 12+)
“Ayana Gray creates an amazing fantastical world with things that are both wondrous and monstrous. Told from three points of view that come together beautifully, this book is an immersive experience.”
—Revati Kilaparti, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit
By Colby Cedar Smith
(Andrews McMeel Publishing, hardcover/paperback, 9781524865603/9781524865450, $21.99/$16.99, Aug. 17, Ages: 14-19)
“This story of an immigrant girl growing up in Detroit in the 1930s hits every mark. Woven into the story are her parents’ histories and all the love and loss the family has faced. It will tug your heartstrings.”
—Izzy Stringham, Bookbinders Basalt, Basalt, CO

Defy the Night
By Brigid Kemmerer
(Bloomsbury YA, 9781547604661, $18.99, Sept. 14, Ages: 13+)
“This is a one-sitting kind of book that has a fantastic combination of political and romantic tensions in a world with outlaws, rebels, consuls, and kings. Fantasy fans: You don’t want to miss this one!”
—Bridey Morris, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe
By Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781534448667, $19.99, Aug. 10, Ages: 14-19)
“Moon Fuentez’ story and voice are pure magic. This has the perfect balance of comedy, romance, and serious issues within a relatable exploration of complicated families, social media, and body positivity.”
—Cori Cusker, Bright Side Bookshop, Flagstaff, AZ

Like Other Girls
By Britta Lundin
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781368039925, $17.99, Aug. 3, Ages: 14-18)
“This book is compulsively readable, an exquisite balance of self-aware ‘heart and hustle’ sports cliché balanced by the nuance of navigating sexuality and gender presentation in a gossipy small town.”
—Nora Tjossem, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

Once Upon a Broken Heart
By Stephanie Garber
(Flatiron Books, 9781250268396, $19.99, Sept. 28, Ages: 13-18)
Once Upon a Broken Heart is a love letter to fairy tales (and villains!). Evangeline’s wholehearted belief in true love and happily-ever-afters will turn you into a believer, which, in this day and age, is an extraordinary gift.”
—Isabella Ogbolumani, Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY

When We Make It (Indies Introduce)
By Elisabet Velasquez
(Dial Books, 9780593324486, $19.99, Sept. 21, Ages: 14-19)
“Elisabet Velasquez conjures her community into existence in a living, breathing narrative debut in verse that moved my soul. Her fiery, literary voice is echoing in my mind still.”
—Brein Lopez, Children’s Book World, Los Angeles, CA

White Smoke
By Tiffany D. Jackson
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780063029095, $18.99, Sept. 14, Ages: 14+)
“Tiffany Jackson blends gentrification, for-profit prisons, mental illness, generational trauma, and addiction in a compelling plot with spine-tingling scenes that will make you sleep with the lights on.”
—Carissa Mina, The Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop, Niwot, CO

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora
By Saraciea J. Fennell
(Flatiron Books, 9781250763426, $18.99, Sept. 14, Ages: 12-18)
“An excellent collection. Each essay feels both incredibly personal and deeply honest. I loved getting to know authors new to me, as well as new layers to authors whose books I’ve read many times before.”
—Cecilia Cackley, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC