Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mo Willems and the Final Knuffle Bunny Tour

Caldecott winning and New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Mo Willems will be back in town to celebrate the release of Knuffle Bunny Free, the final book in his critically-acclaimed Knuffle Bunny series. Little Shop of Stories and the Georgia Center for the Book are proud to be co-hosting him for a spectacular evening of reading, discussion, and activities. Mo and a special surprise traveling companion (just the right size for young ones to hug!) will visit, and Mo will read a selection of his books, including Knuffle Bunny Free. This event will take place on Thursday, October 7th at 7pm at the Decatur Library. at 215 Sycamore Street. Little Shop of Stories will have a limited supply of tickets available to our customers. Tickets are free with the purchase of Knuffle Bunny Free and each ticket admits one adult and one child. Activities and giveaways are included and other Mo Willems titles will be available for purchase the night of the event. Mo will be signing books after his reading. Children are encouraged to bring their own Knuffle Bunny or other beloved stuffed friend!

Tickets can be purchased at Little Shop of Stories beginning September 28th at 5pm. A paper ticket will be issued; all attendees will be required to show this ticket to gain admission to the event. Get your tickets now, they'll be gone very quickly! All ticket holders please visit www.gomo.net prior to the event to download your very own passport and travel checklist. Don’t forget to bring them to the event! The passport and travel checklist are now available to download.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

They're Back!!!

A new litter of Pete the Cat dolls are back in the shop. Get 'em while you can.

Jamie Lee Curtis delights Decatur book fans

A couple of pictures from our Jamie Lee Curtis book signing this afternoon at the Decatur Library. Ms. Curtis was hilarious and genuinely kind to the parents and kids who came to see her. Thanks to all who attended and to the incredible staff at the Library for making it a great time for all. Autographed copies of her new book "My Mom Hung the Moon" and her other excellent picture books are available at the shop.

Is it mere coincidence that on the very same day that Ms. Curtis came to Little Shop of Stories, her new book debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List?  We think not!  Congratulations to Jamie Lee Curtis!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Review: Freedom

Ah, just what you don't need.  Just remember: sometimes there's true substance behind the hype.

Like Jonathan Franzen's 2001 National Book Award winning novel The Corrections, Freedom dissects a Midwestern family with issues.  Yes, the Berglunds are younger than the retired Lamberts, have two children rather than three, and have more serious problems that undermine the family's continued viability.  Nonetheless, there are times in which readers might feel as though Franzen is documenting only a slightly altered universe -- that he's taking us to a familiar destination using an Alternative Route.

Yes (sort of), but what a trip!

Patty and Walter Berglund moved to a blighted section of St. Paul after marriage and, as urban pioneers, raised two children, Jessica and Joey.  Franzen weaves freely through time and characters to develop the background of his subjects (excepting Jessica; why does she get short shrift?).  An ingenious device -- Patty's third person autobiography -- takes up much of the first third of the novel, lays down the foundation for describing people around her on her own terms.

Even those with minor parts become fully formed individuals with multiple motivations, Walter's immigrant grandfather and Patty's Manhattan sister among perhaps a score of others.  The key character from outside the family is Richard Katz, Walter's polar opposite, randomly assigned college roommate and avant-garde singer/guitarist, who becomes his best friend.  (Upon reading, I immediately conjured up the image of author and Twin City area resident Neil Gaiman.)  While we read of the history of interactions amongst the three adults, precocious sixteen-year-old Joey has moved in with the family next door to share a bed with his slightly older girlfriend.

Freedom is a major theme throughout the novel.  Individuals are free to choose how to act; they must also live with the consequences.  Having and abiding by core values limits freedom, but reduces the probability of making mistakes.  Thus the paradox.  This is what makes the second chapter, "Mistakes Were Made: Autobiography of Patty Berglund by Patty Berglund. (Composed at Her Therapist's Suggestion.)" -- a book within a book -- so thrillingly alive.

The craftsmanship of the writing is at times so overwhelming (Did I just read that?!), the peering into the inner psyches of its characters so vast, and the intricacies of the relationships so ambitious that I remain in awe days after finishing with an admiration that may well grow over time.

Freedom is an amazing work.

- Dave

Friday, September 10, 2010

How to Open a New Book

Next time you come to the shop and buy a new book, you might want to follow the advice from this old instructional graphic. I am not sure how old this is, but I love the quote from William Matthews, who is "the most famous bookbinder America has produced". (I found a listing for his shop from a New York City directory published in 1859 - 107 Franklin, in Flatbush) Apparently he took his bindings pretty seriously. Here is his description of a harrowing experience with an uncivilized customer: "Taking the volume in his hand, and, holding the leaves tightly together (instead of allowing them full play), he violently opened it the center, exclaiming: 'How beautifully your bindings open!' I almost fainted." Simply shocking!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chalkboard Update

Don't miss Jamie Lee Curtis signing her newest book "My Mommy Hung the Moon" at the Decatur Library on Sept. 18 at 2:00. Tickets are available at Little Shop now. 

Friday, September 3, 2010


If Liz Kessler gets the nod for coming the furthest distance to the Children's Stage, there are other authors of note who could possibly walk from home.

Here are authors with Atlanta connections on stages in which we are involved!

Shelia Moses - Children's Stage - Saturday - 1:00 - Ms. Moses, who lives in Atlanta, has written numerous books for tweens/YA.  Her newest is Joseph, a book about a young teen whose home life has fallen apart.
Deborah Wiles -  Children's Stage - Saturday - 1:00 - Joining Shelia Moses will be Deb Wiles, another Atlantan, whose great Aurora County trilogy is set in the small Alabama community of her youth.  Her newest, Countdown, has received multiple starred reviews.
Vicky Alvear Shecter - Children's Stage - Saturday - 2:00 - This Atlanta area author of the informative and entertaining Alexander the Great Rocks the World is back with the brand new Cleopatra Rules!  Hey, nonfiction rules!
Brian Jordan - Children's Stage - Sunday - 3:00 - He played for the Atlanta Falcons.  He played for the Atlanta Braves.  He runs the Atlanta-based Brian Jordan Foundation.  He is a sports analyst for Fox Sports South.  And he's an author!
Laurel Snyder - Children's Stage - Sunday - 4:30 - Laurel lives with her family here in Atlanta, and writes and writes and writes.  She has published something like five books in the last 2+ years, including a picture book (Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher) and a chapter book (Penny Dreadful) this year!
Terra Elan McVoy - The Escape at the Old Courthouse - Saturday - 1:00 - She worked for years at Little Shop of Stories.  Now she's a big-time author with two YA novels (Pure and After the Kiss) the past two years.  Gooooooooooo Terra!
Susan Rebecca White - The Escape at the Old Courthouse - Saturday - 5:00 - Born and raised in Atlanta, Ms. White currently teaches in the creative writing program at Emory University.  She is the author of this year's A Soft Place to Land.
Jackson Pearce - The Escape at the Old Courthouse - Sunday - 4:00 - Ms. Pearce is a UGA graduate and currently lives in Atlanta.  Sisters Red, her second novel, was published this year.
Thomas Mullen - Decatur Library Stage - Saturday - 10:00 - His last book, The Last Town on Earth, was named Best Debut Novel of 2006 by USA Today, a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year, a New York Times Editor's Choice, and received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for excellence in historical fiction.  His new book is The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers.  Mr. Mullen lives in Atlanta.
Susanne Fincher - Decatur Library Stage - Saturday - 11:15 - Ms. Fincher is an Atlanta-based Jungian-oriented psychotherapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Board Certified Art Therapist who employs the techniques of art therapy, which is the subject of her books.
Todd Moye - Decatur Library Stage - Saturday - 12:30 - From 2000 to 2005, Mr. Moye directed the National Park Service’s Tuskegee Airmen Oral History Project, based in Atlanta. This author of Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II teaches at the University of North Texas.
Josh Russell -  Decatur Library Stage - Saturday - 1:45 - Mr. Russell teaches creative writing at Georgia State University, and is the author of 2010's My Bright Midnight.
Dorothy Moye - Decatur Library Stage - Saturday - 5:30 - A Decatur art consultant, Ms. Moye is the curator of a documentary photography exhibition to open in August on Emory University’s online journal, Southern Spaces.
Kathleen Koch - Decatur Library Stage - Saturday - 5:30 - Ms. Koch is a former correspondent for Atlanta based CNN. Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered has just been published.
Allison Umminger - Decatur Library Stage - Sunday - 12:00 - Ms. Umminger is an Atlanta-based writer who has co-authored two novels, Flyover States and Eye to Eye, under the pseudonyms Grace Grant and Grace Carol, with Dana Johnson.
Norma Price - Decatur Library Stage - Sunday - 1:15 - Dr. Price practiced at Emory University Hospital and Clinic and currently lives in Tucson, where her interest in immigrant issues resulted in Crossing with the Virgin: Stories from the Migrant Trail, which she co-authored.  Her son, Justin, is a former Little Shop employee who lives in Decatur.
Joseph Skibell -  Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage - Sunday - 3:45 - Mr. Skibell's third novel, A Curable Romantic (featuring a great cover), was published this year.  He teaches at Emory University.

The Weather - (Hey, what could be more local?) Decatur's weather forecast just seemed to get more and more awesome as this weekend approached.  Daren had a dream that the temperature peaked at 82.  Dreams may come true!

Friday, September 3rd - high 93 degrees; low 64 degrees; 10% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 83 degrees; low 57 degrees; 0% chance of rain
Sunday, September 5th - high 85 degrees; low 61 degrees; 0% chance of rain

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Here are some highlights of the 5th Annual AJC Decatur Book Festival:

DBF is featuring a numerous tracks this year, grouping authors by topics and ideas.  Among the thirteen tracks are: 

Homegrown Goodness, sponsored by Decatur Metro
Two of the authors appearing on this track courtesy of one of our favorite blogs are: 
Carleen Madigan - Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage - Saturday - 11:15 - featuring her very interesting book on increasing individual sustainability, The Backyard Homestead.
Dr. Malcolm Stanford - Decatur Conference Center Stage - Saturday - 3:00 - co-author of Story's Guide to Keeping Honeybees.  He will be interviewed onstage by beekeeper, honey expert, and Little Shop of Stories' own Marcy Cornell.

Katrina: 5th Anniversary
Some of the authors appearing on this track are: 
Kathleen Koch & Dorothy Moye - Decatur Library - Saturday - 5:30 - Koch, a Gulf Coast native, reported on Katrina for CNN.  She is the author of Rising from Katrina.  She will be joined by curator and former New Orleans resident Dorothy Moye.
Patricia Smith - Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage - Sunday - 12:00 p.m. - four-time National Poetry Slam champion and National Book Award finalist reads from Blood Dazzler, her collection of poems set just before, during, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 
Renee Watson - Children's Stage - Sunday - 1:30 p.m. - Watson will present her picture book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen.

Some of the other great authors appearing on the Children's Stage include:
Bob Shea, author and illustrator of many book including his latest, Dinosaur vs. The Potty;
Dr. Cuthbert Soup (the name is sufficient to intrigue);
the prolific Ridley Pearson;
Marie Rutkoski of the Kronos Chronicles;
Tom Angleberger, author of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda;
Brian Jordan (former Atlanta Brave and Atlanta Falcon);
Jeanne Birdsall, author of The Penderwicks and a new picture book, Flora's Very Windy Day.

See if you can match the author to the image!

Friday, September 3rd - high 94 degrees; low 65 degrees; 10% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 83 degrees; low 60 degrees; 10% chance of rain
Sunday, September 5th - high 86 degrees; low 63 degrees; 0% chance of rain

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Great authors are coming to The Escape as well!

The Escape, which features young adult authors, has moved to the Old Courthouse this year and author appearances have expanded to both Saturday and Sunday.  Highlighted here is just one of many, many highlights!

David Levithan, the author of Boy Meets Boy, Are We There Yet?, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and Love is the Higher Law will be at The Escape on Saturday at 1 p.m.  He will be speaking about his newest book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which was co-authored with John Green.  He's a great writer.  He's pretty prolific, and we hear he's a very interesting guy.

Now, having Mr. Levithan all by his lonesome would be pretty darn impressive.  But to raise the ante, he'll be joined by Terra Elan McVoy, author of Pure and After the Kiss, the later of which came out earlier this year from Simon Pulse.  As Terra is the former manager of Little Shop of Stories, we can guarantee that she's great!

Cinda Williams Chima, Carrie Ryan, Nancy Werlin, Kirsten Miller, and Robin Benway are just a handful of other great authors appearing on The Escape this weekend.

And it's all FREE!

Friday, September 3rd - high 93 degrees; low 66 degrees; 0% chance of rain
Saturday, September 4th - high 83 degrees; low 60 degrees; 0% chance of rain
Sunday, September 5th - high 85 degrees; low 62 degrees; 0% chance of rain