Staff Picks – October 2023

Staff Picks – October 2023

Read below to find our staff picks for October 2023 and learn more about these must-reads!


Ordinary Days

Ordinary Days: The Seeds, Sound, and City That Grew Prince Rogers Nelson
By Angela Joy; illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
On Sale October 24th
Ages 4-8


“From the 2023 Caldecott-honor winner, Angela Joy brings you her next biggest hit. Ordinary Days is a rhythmic, striking picture book biography of legendary singer/songwriter/performer Prince. Jacqueline Alcántara’s breathtaking purple hue illustrations are inspired by Prince’s hit Purple Rain. This picture book is perfect for your next read-aloud.
Grace Tyler, Marketing Assistant

by Christina Wyman
On Sale October 24th
Ages 8-12

Jawbreaker 4

Jawbreaker is a debut middle grade novel brimming with humor, heart, and, of course dental drama. Junior high is a tough time for everyone. It becomes even harder for Max Plink when her orthodontic nightmare goes from bad to worse, after she not only has to wear braces, but is then also upgraded to the painful “jawbreaker” to realign her bite. Inspired by her own experiences with a Class II malocclusion, author Christina Wyman has crafted such a refreshingly honest depiction of the middle school experience while also accessibly exploring more serious topics throughout the story, like sibling rivalry, economic disparities, toxic family dynamics, and the psychological toll of bullying. Filled with resilience, empathy, and heart, Jawbreaker will be a relatable story for many readers, both young and old. ”
Alexandra Quill, Senior Marketing Manager

Lunar New Year Love Story
by Gene Luen Yang; illustrated by LeUyen Pham
On Sale January 9th
Ages 14-18

Lunar-New-Year-Love-Story 1

“It is no easy feat to translate the trials and tribulations of young love into art, but I believe that Lunar New Year Love Story has been the one book that has become the contender. In this book, Valentina Tran scrambles to find true love within a year’s time after making a deal with the ghost of St. Valentine. Despite finding herself under a one-sided romance with Les, she finds herself in true love with the last person on Earth she would ever care for. Infused with rich Vietnamese-American lion dance culture and Roman history on the patron saint of love, I resonated with Val’s upbringing and how her values on true love over time has led to her cynical beliefs throughout her high school years. Her self-doubt(s) and uncertainties on love from her family, friends, and romantic relationships can speak volumes in Lunar New Year Love Story, where at one point in finding love comes indifference and grief. Yet Lunar New Year Love Story pulls readers a strong universal message that despite the inevitability of suffering, there’s beauty in life that there is truly something, or rather someone, that brings a priceless value in one’s life. Gene Luen Yang and LeUyen Pham are a power duo to be reckoned with in this upcoming graphic novel.
Ryan Bada, MCPG Publicity and School & Library Marketing Intern

by Sarah Jacoby
On Sale Now!
Ages 3-6

Doris 2

Doris is a delight. She is quirky, loves the spotlight, and just cannot stop dancing. This is the perfect bedtime story for kids who like to pave their own way. The thing about this funny little horse is that she finds a funny little pony who is just as willing to go the distance to explore new worlds. Sarah Jacoby’s artwork is beautiful. Each spread is illuminated by either the moon or the sun and full of whimsy. Read this book and you’ll hear the call to self-discovery, and you’ll be reminded that in each new adventure, you’ll find others there embracing their own trailblazing spirit.
Elysse Villalobos, Associate Marketing Manager

Hope in Valley
by Mitali Perkins
On Sale Now!
Ages 8-12

Hope-in-the-Valley 2

“Mitali Perkins makes a triumphant return to middle grade this year with Hope in the Valley. It is nothing short of brilliant to witness 12-year-old Pandita Paul discovering her town’s history, finding her voice, and ultimately leading a community debate about affordable housing with courage and grace. Young readers will be inspired by this call to activism and moved by Pandita’s journey toward healing — for herself and for her community.
Mary Van Akin, Director of School & Library Marketing