Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It is always exciting to have an author we just love come to the AJC Decatur Book Festival who live far, far away.

This year, Liz Kessler is coming all the way from the coastal town of St. Ives, which is located in Cornwall, England!  That's the peninsula in the southwestern part, just below Wales.  It's not surprising that she lives near the ocean.

Liz is the author of two great series that we are always recommending: Emily Windsnap and Philippa Fisher.  Emily is a girl who discovers, at the age of 12, she has certain mermaid qualities and swims off on great adventures.  Philippa, at eleven, is given a fairy-godsister and learns to be VERY CAREFUL what she wishes for.

Friday, September 3rd - high 92 degrees; low 69 degrees; 10% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 85 degrees; low 64 degrees; 0% chance of rain
Sunday, September 5th - high 85 degrees; low 66 degrees; 0% chance of rain

Monday, August 30, 2010


Did you know that Little Shop of Stories is doing even MORE at this year's AJC Decatur Book Festival?

We'll be at the Children's Stage as always.  We'll be at The Escape (the YA stage), this year located on the second floor of the Old Courthouse.  The Escape has expanded to Saturday and Sunday this year.  Little Shop will also be selling books for the Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage and the Decatur Library Stage.  Bookselling and author signings for those two stages will be in front of the Sycamore House, which is located just east of the corner of Church and Sycamore and right across from Decatur Presbyterian Church.

Here's a brief rundown of authors:

Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage
Saturday: Patti Digh, Carleen Madigan, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Diana Gabaldon.
Sunday: Patricia Smith, Casandra Clare, Mark Mustian, and Joseph Skibell.

Decatur Library Stage
Saturday: Batt Humphreys, Thomas Mullen, Susanne Fincher, Todd Moye, Michael Knight, Josh Russell, Elizabeth Nunez, Kathleen Koch, and Dorothy Moye.
Sunday: Dana Johnson, Alison Umminger, Norma Price, M.O. Walsh, and Alex Taylor.

You can find out about each of these author events by going to the AJC Decatur Book Festival website. However, I do want to highlight several of these authors today.

Check out the first two.  Here's the hard part - they're both presenting AT THE SAME TIME!  (Argggh!)

Cassandra Clare - Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage - Sunday at 1:15 p.m.

Casandra Clare is a great YA author, but The Escape just could not hold the expected audience.   Clare's The Mortal Instruments trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass) were extremely successful.  The first of three books in the prequel, Clockwork Angel, is being released tomorrow.  (As it is a prequel, it is not necessary to have read any of her previous work.)  

"This first book in Clare's Infernal Device series, a prequel to her bestselling Mortal Instruments books, opens as Tessa's pleasant life in 1878 New York is coming to an end when her guardian aunt dies. Upon her arrival in London, where her brother lives, Tessa is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters, who force her to learn to use a rare power–shape-shifting–she didn’t know she had. Her rescue by a young man named Will leads her to the Shadowhunters....The events often read as bleakly as the Victorian London weather, punctuated by Clare's trademark humor, empathy, and authentic characters, who fight their own flaws and tragic pasts as often as they do evil. Mysteries, misdirection, and riddles abound, and while there are some gruesome moments, they never feel gratuitous. Fans of the Mortal Instruments series and newcomers alike won’t be disappointed."
– Publisher’s Weekly 

Norma Price - Decatur Library Stage - Sunday at 1:15 p.m.

Dr. Price is the co-author of Crossing with the Virgin: Stories from the Migrant Trail. This book documents stories of immigrants who cross over to the United States through the Arizona-Sonora Desert.

"Crossing With the Virgin raises important questions about underlying assumptions and basic operations of border enforcement, helping readers see past political positions to view migrants as human beings. It will touch your heart as surely as it reassures you that there are people who still care about their fellow man." - Antigone Books website

Norma Price is also the mother of Little Shop's own Justin Colussy-Estes!

The AJC highlights two more authors:

Patricia Smith - Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage - Sunday at 12:00 p.m.

"Like her former Boston Globe colleague Mike Barnicle, who has also risen above plagiarism charges, poet Patricia Smith has found her groove. Since she resigned from the Globe 12 years ago after admitting that she made up some characters in a handful of her columns, Smith has hunkered down and poured herself into her poetry. Her 2008 book, “Blood Dazzler,” a collection of poems about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, was a finalist for a National Book Award. (The book is now the basis for new production by the renowned dance troupe Urban Bush Women, which will be performing at the Rialto Center for the Arts in January.)"

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage - Saturday at 1:45 p.m.

"If you’d come of age right after a coup of your government, what impact would that have on the way you relate to your family? On the way you view yourself? On how you define love? Nigerian author Adichie’s two novels, “Half of a Yellow Sun” and “Purple Hibiscus,” deal with those themes against the backdrop of her home country. A reader sees the brutality and the glory of the land through the eyes and heart of a young writer who knows it intimately and writes about it lyrically. In her latest collection of short stories, “The Thing Around Your Neck,” she looks ever more deeply at the very essence of relationships."

Friday, September 3rd - high 91 degrees; low 70 degrees; 10% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 89 degrees; low 67 degrees; 0% chance of rain
Sunday, September 5th - high 87 degrees; low 69 degrees; 0% chance of rain

Sunday, August 29, 2010


One of the great authors coming to the Children's Stage at the AJC Decatur Book Festival is Michael Buckley.  He's the guy who is writing the great Sisters Grimm series. We've only recommended those books about five gazillion times.  He has a new series - N.E.R.D.S. (National Espionage Rescue and Defense Society), with the second one

NERDS: Book Two: M Is for Mama's Boy

being released just before his appearance in Decatur.  He stopped by Little Shop a couple of years ago and we had a great time.  Evidently he did as well, because he's coming back!

The wonderful folks over at the Decatur Book Festival recently caught up with Michael.

DBF: This weekend we got a chance to peer into the mind of Michael Buckley, bestselling author of The Sisters Grimm and NERDS. Give this former stand up comedian a frappuccino or two and he Tweets as fast as Flash runs.  If you missed him, read on to learn about which superheroes are Michael’s favorites, why nerds are more than cool these days, and what he thinks about our own hero, Bookzilla.
DBF: If Sisters Grimm and N.E.R.D.S got in a fight, who would win?
Buckley: Got to go with my girls, Sabrina and Daphne. No super powers but they’re very scrappy - plus they have a fairy on their side.
DBF: That bodes well for the girls, but not so much our nerdy superheroes! Who is YOUR favorite superhero?
Buckley: I’m a big fan of The Hulk. When he’s written well he can be very tragic and complicated. The movies have never really done him justice.
DBF: You will fit in great at the Festival. Have you met our spokesman, Bookzilla? Check him out on our website and F’book . . .
Buckley: Bookzilla is awesome. Though I fear the people of Japan may have a different opinion. He has a nasty habit of smashing their island.
DBF: We all want to know your thoughts on the following: nerdy is the new black.
Buckley: Nerdy looks good on everyone. I’m amazed at how many people proudly describe themselves as nerds. It’s a badge of honor! I go to schools all the time and I ask the kids who is a nerd, and more often than not every kid raises their hand. Even the kids that you know are incredibly popular embrace their inner geek. Makes me proud of them.
DBF: There seems to be a lot of nerd-embracing going on out there lately (literal and figurative). Why do you think this is?
Buckley: I wish I had been that brave and proud of myself when I was their age. Kids are a lot more confident and centered now. I think that kids are looking around and seeing that some of the coolest people out there are the one’s that are not hip. It requires so much work to be in the “in crowd” and there’s a real insincerity to it. Kids can spot someone who is trying too hard. I think people are looking for something sincere these days. There’s nothing more sincere than a nerd.
DBF: How did the NERDS members get those awesome names?
Buckley: Some of the names are based on people I knew growing up but the code names are pure inspiration. I wanted them to be silly but I wanted them to be kind of intimidating, too - superhero names, really. But to be honest, my characters sort of name themselves. They wait for me to guess what they want to be called, and they can be difficult until I figure it out. Sounds like I’m crazy but it’s true.
DBF: No it does make sense. There is a contest going on now to name Bookzilla’s new nemesis, and he is being VERY difficult.
Buckley: Hmmm, who hates books? The last president wasn’t such a fan…
DBF: I think the problem w/ our new monster is he loves books TOO much. Passion can lead to smashing, you know. If the Sisters Grimm were investigating YOU, they’d uncover . . . ?
Buckley: Me? I’m innocent of all wrong doing. I was framed. I wasn’t even there! The Sisters Grimm would find I drink too many frappuccino’s in a week.
DBF: Hmmmm. Dubious-sounding to me. So, besides Frappuccinos, what are you looking forward to about the festival?
Buckley: I’m looking forward to getting to talk to some of the fans who send me e-mail from GA. But I love to go and browse. I could walk around a book festival all day and sometimes I have. I usually take home a stack of books myself. I know I always push the weight allowance on my bags at the airport on the way home. I’m a total book geek. I also enjoy running around meeting the other authors.
DBF: Book geeks are our best friends! We are really excited about having you here. Thanks, Michael, for taking the time to talk with us Enjoy those Frappuccinos in the meantime!!
Buckley: Thanks! I can’t wait. Take care, Decatur!
Next up in our mini-interview series–Emily Giffin on Facebook!

Friday, September 3rd - high 92 degrees; low 70 degrees; 10% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 90 degrees; low 69 degrees; 0% chance of rain
Sunday, September 5th - high 87 degrees; low 68 degrees; 0% chance of rain

Saturday, August 28, 2010



Hey, what would a festival be without a parade or two?

Indeed, this year's AJC Decatur Book Festival will kick off both days with parades.

Those wishing to participate in Saturday's parade can begin lining up in the green space just south of the Holiday Inn at 9am.  (Just look for a monster.)  The parade will start at 9:30am,and will be lead by Anna Dewdney, author of the best selling Llama Llama Red Pajama picture book.  Llama Llama will be there as well.  So wear your pajamas, too, and join us in the march to the square where Ms. Dewdney will be introducing her newest book, Llama Llama Holiday Drama.

Sunday's parade will begin lining up at 11am and the march will start at 11:30.  Ladybug Girl will be heading this parade to the Square for a reading of Ladybug Girl at the Beach at 12:00 noon.  Due to an illness which was fortunately non-life threatening but unfortunately severe enough that the husband/wife team of David Soman/Jacky Davis were forced to cancel this year's appearance, they will not be presenting on the stage as scheduled.  Instead, it will be KRISTA TO THE RESCUE.  Yes, Little Shop's own Krista Gilliam will be doing Sunday's kickoff reading!  Ladybug Girl books, with signed nameplates, will be available for purchase.

Friday, September 3rd - high 89 degrees; low 67 degrees; 20% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 87 degrees; low 68 degrees; 10% chance of rain
Sunday, September 5th - high 87 degrees; low 69 degrees; 0% chance of rain

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tomorrow is International Read Comics In Public Day

Would I kid you?  I would kid you not!

Find out more about it here and here.

(Robert Sergel)
Then pick up a comic or a graphic novel,
go outside, and READ!


With exactly one week to go, it's time to start really talking about the Festival.

The keynote address will be delivered on Friday night by Jonathan Franzen whose last novel, The Corrections, won the National Book Award in 2001.  His newest work, Freedom, is being published next Tuesday, August 31st.

Freedom has garnered as much attention as any novel in recent memory.  From a Time magazine cover story to a rave review in the New York Times  ("a masterpiece of American fiction"), Franzen's book is generating considerable excitement in the literary world.  Even a negative review in the Washington Post was far from dismissive; they call it a "brilliant, maddening novel".  The Wall Street Journal ("we were routinely blown away by Franzen’s ability to create fully-realized, three-dimensional characters and, more so, to inhabit their minds with such penetrating psychological acuity") encapsulates reviews from a handful of other sources.

Franzen will appear on September 1st at a bookstore near San Francisco Bay area home.  Then he heads to the Decatur Book Festival before hitting some backwater towns like New York City and Boston.

Congratulations to the Decatur Book Festival for landing such a significant keynote speaker.

Friday, September 3rd - high 90 degrees; low 69 degrees; 0% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 88 degrees; low 70 degrees; 60% chance of rain
Sunday, September 5th - high 87 degrees; low 68 degrees; 10% chance of rain

Thursday, August 26, 2010

25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read

The Georgia Center for the Book will be unveiling their very first list of the ”25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read” this Saturday, August 28th, at 10 a.m.

"It’s an exciting list of books for readers from tots to teens, and we’ll have many of the authors represented on this listing on hand to sign copies of their books for you. It promises to be a wonderful morning, so head for Decatur’s lovely Square behind the Courthouse for the event"

Come on out for this one.  It should be great!


From the Georgia Center for the Book website:

Young Adults (grades 7+)

Jodi Lynn Anderson
I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter
Lynn Cullen
The Maze Runner
James Dashner
Blood Brothers
S.A. Harazin
Terra Elan McVoy
First Shot
Walter Sorrells

Middle Readers (Grades 4-8)

Freedom Train
Evelyn Coleman
A Yellow Watermelon
Ted Dunagan
The Tree That Owns Itself and Other Adventure Tales from Out of the Past
Gail Karwoski & Loretta Johnson Hammer
Shelia Moses
Yankee Girl
Mary Ann Rodman
Alexander the Great Rocks the World
Vicky Alvear Schecter
Honey Bea
Kim L. Siegelson
A Taste of Blackberries
Doris Buchanan Smith
Any Which Wall
Laurel Snyder
Each Little Bird That Sings
Deborah Wiles

Graphic Novel (Grades 4+)

Owly: The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer
Andy Runton

Early Readers (Grades K-3)

Lola Schaefer

Picture Books (Pre-K+)

Little Duck
Liz Conrad
14 Cows for America
Carmen Deedy (author) Thomas Gonzalez (illustrator)
Soap, Soap, Soap ~ Jabon, Jabon, Jabon
Elizabeth O. Dulemba
The Origami Master
Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
Eric Litwin (author) James Dean (illustrator)
The Monster Who Did My Math
Danny Schnitzlein (author) Bill Mayer (illustrator)
This is the Dream
Diane A. Shore & Jessica Alexander

Congratulations to each of these authors.  Their recognition is well-deserved.!


Friday, September 3rd - high 88 degrees; low 68 degrees; 10% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 88 degrees; low 69 degrees; 10% chance of rain

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dr. Muhammad Yunus Speaks Tonight!

This is just a reminder that Dr. Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance, will discuss his new book, Building Social Business, at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, August 25, in Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College. The AJC Decatur Book Festival (AJC DBF), Agnes Scott, and The Coca-Cola Company are co-hosting the event, which is free and open to the public.  No ticket is required.


Friday, September 3rd - high 90 degrees; low 68 degrees; 10% chance of rain

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pete's a Doll!


On sale now!


How cool is that!

Mockingjay Delivers!

The winner of our Mockingjay contest received her copy of the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy delivered to her front door just after midnight.  I hope you save it until after school tomorrow!

(ZoĆ« - thanks for the cookies!  Now I know just how Santa feels.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Memorial Celebration for Marc Reynolds (1963-2010)

The people at Heliotrope are our neighbors and friends.  Those of you who knew Marc or wish to support those who are grieving, please come out next Sunday.

From the Decatur Minute:

The Heliotrope family invites the community to join them in remembering and celebrating the life of Marc Reynolds, co-owner of Heliotrope.  The Memorial Celebration will be held Sunday, August 29 from 6 – 9 p.m. at Cakes & Ale.

All are welcome.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

From the AJC Decatur Book Festival website:

Muhammad Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance, will discuss his new book, Building Social Business, at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, August 25, in Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College. The AJC DBF is co-hosting with Agnes Scott and Coca Cola. The event is free and open to the public.

The Bangladeshi banker and economist received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2009. He developed the concepts of microcredit and microfinance while he was a professor of economics. These loans are given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank. Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.” He is the author of Banker to the Poor and a founding board member of Grameen America and Grameen Foundation.

This is not a ticketed event, and seats are expected to fill fast, so be sure to arrive early for a spot.

The Decatur Book Festival, under the leadership of Daren Wang, continues to bring in authors that matter to our world community.  In this case, Mr. Yunus is a banker who also happens to be an author by virtue of his spreading the word of the important work of the Grameen Bank.

Do arrive early.  This Wednesday, August 25, in Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College.  Free.

(Unfortunately, I don't have a credit for this photograph.  It's a great shot.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Blog of Stories: The Vacation Is OVER!

Elvis Persons
Martha's Vineyard - August 20, 2010

My vacation was interrupted by the President and his family. I take this as a reminder that I should be back at work. So here it goes:

Photo by Carolyn Kaster, AP

President Obama, along with daughters Malia and Sasha, visited Bunch of Grapes bookstore here on the Vineyard today. The girls picked up two literary classics. One, To Kill A Mockingbird is out in a special 50th anniversary edition. All the praise this book has received still does not do it justice.

Also purchased was John Steinbeck's early classic, The Red Pony. Largely written in serial form when the author was in his early 30s, this stark novella takes place on a dry California ranch and foreshadowed many themes found in his later work.

President Obama picked up a copy of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. (This is totally unfair. Have I received the book? No. It has a release date of August 31st; that's eleven days from now. I smell something fishy. Of course, I am on an island.)

My hope is that the president will be so overwhelmed by the quality of Freedom that he'll want to come to the Decatur Book Festival and meet Mr. Franzen on September 3rd.