children's books

Attitudes in Picture Book Characters, That Give Me Life

Attitudes in Picture Book Characters, That Give Me Life

Picture book authors receive a lot of credit when their books come out. While they deserve every bit of attention they get, I wish that illustrators received the same amount of publicity. It is my hope that this post gives some equally well-deserving illustrators, their credits due. Picture book illustrators are constantly providing me with never-ending joy. Most of the time, this joy comes from their character's attitudes. Illustrators create wonderful bits of energy and feeling with their character's facial expressions and actions, which continually give me life.



Starting TOMORROW, in Vroman's Event Space, we are having our Annual Clearance Sale! This will go on until Monday evening.

The titles and gifts featured, never see the sales floor (once they are marked clearance)... UNTIL this very special Summertime sale! Some, have slight damage, some are old, and others we just have too much of! As a bookseller, I LOVE this sale. Being around books and gifts everyday, when you are a book lover is HARD. This sale gives me a chance to get titles that I have had to pass up in the past. The reason for this is, THE PRICE.

Many books and gifts are marked WAY DOWN (up to 75% off). Then on top of that, Vroman's offers you another 40% off discount. Check out some the deals below and come by this weekend to see them in person!

Children's Books (including this year's Newbery & Caldecott)!

Graphic Novels!


Scarves, shirts and bags!


Fan favorites!


Animals, Nature & Cooking!

Fashion, Art & More!

We really hope you all can make it out! I KNOW you will find something to love. I myself, have my eye on about 10 items. ;)

See you this weekend!

<3 Jen in the Bookstore

Happy Mother's Day to All the Book Mom's Who Helped Raise Me & Those I Wish Had

Happy Mother's Day, Moms of the world! I wanted to write this post, because of 1) Mother's Day, 2) there aren't actually a lot of Mom's featured in Children and Teen Literature, & 3) of the ones that are, they are pretty BAD ASS.

Growing up, I got pretty lucky. Not only did I have a Mom who was constantly giving up her time, energy and kindness to others & myself, BUT I ALSO had many book mothers. These Mom's (like my own-i'm not trying to get in trouble here ;) ) were strong. They fought for their kids. They protected them, cheered for them and were their number one fans. In reading about them, along with my own mother's praise, I think I managed to get a pretty big head. I can hear you all saying, "nooooo". However, humor aside, I learned how to implement all of these women's qualities into my own life. I grew up knowing the kind of person I wanted to be and continue to strive to be like them.

The women I'm  talking about are featured in the following titles:

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

Favorite Quote (relating to Moms):

"At night I would trace my fingers around the edges of each animal on the quilt before I went to sleep I told my mother stories about the animals on the quilt. She told me whose sleeve had made the horse, whose apron had made the chicken, whose dress had made the flowers, and whose babushka went around the edge of the quilt." (Patricia Polacco)

This whole story is about family (Patricia's to be exact), and their tradition of keeping a special quilt alive. The reason I picked the quote above, was because it encourages storytelling between a Mother and her child.

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Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

I think by now, you all (as readers of my blog) should know that I have a thing with Kevin Henkes' work. BUT REALLY. He writes families and growing up so beautifully.

Here is my favorite quote:

""Oh, pish," said her mother. "Your name is beautiful."

"And precious and priceless and fascinating and winsom," said her father.

"It's everything you are," said her mother." (Kevin Henkes)

I think the reason I picked this quote is self-explanatory. I love that not only did her mother say that her name was beautiful, but also that it encompassed Chrysanthemum herself.  Heartfelt confidence boosters are always a plus in my book.

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The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

I'm sorry you all! I just love Kevin's work! In The Year of Billy Miller, Kevin splits up Billy's life into four parts-His Dad, Mom, sister and teacher.

The quote I love most is at the end of the book, but if you haven't read it, DON'T WORRY! I really don't think that this will give away anything.

"He scanned the crowd for Mama, and he saw her instantly. She was right at the foot of the stage. Their eyes connected, and he knew that she'd been watching him. She'd heard him, even without the microphone on. She was smiling and nodding. " (Kevin Henkes)

I love this, because of how in-tune their connection is with one another. I think it speaks volumes in how Mom's kind of just know what's going on with their children instinctively.

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

This story, while about Cat and Maya, actually features their Mother's heritage a lot. While her daughters learn more about it and Dia de los Muertos, their mother states:

“I was your typical, stubborn American teenager. I wanted to do things the ‘modern’ way. I guess after your Abuela died . . . a lot of old traditions died with her.” (Raina Telgemeier)

I love this intimate look at a Mom and how she explains why her daughters are just discovering more of her.

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Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Man, oh man, J.K. Rowling KNOWS how to write Mothers. The two I am sticking with for this post are Lily Potter and Molly Weasley. Below, you will find explanations in the form of quotes or statements of why they are great Moms:

Let's start with Molly-

""No one's denying what he's done!" said Mrs. Weasley, her voice rising, her fists trembling on the arms of her chair. "But he's still-"

"He's not a child!" said Sirius impatiently.

"He's not an adult either!" said Mrs. Weasley, the color rising in her cheeks. "He's not James, Sirius!""(J.K. Rowling)

This is a hard quote, no one is denying that. It's hard because Harry finally has a father figure in his life-a parent that he never got to have...EXCEPT for the fact that Molly has been a mother figure to him, ever since they met. Molly feels the same about Harry as one of her own children. This quote puts on page, that struggle. The struggle of wanting Harry to have someone, but also not wanting to give up her motherly duties towards him.

And then Lily-

I can't find the exact quotes at the moment- but Harry survived so much because of Lily. Her love, gave him protection from the most evil being in his world-more than once. Her love placed a protection over her sister's home, so that Harry would be safe there AND gave him protection in the form of Professor Snape. The main reason why Harry is able to defeat Voldemort SO MANY TIMES, is because of her love. So as readers, we know that it has to be incredibly strong.

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Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Oh Wonder, how you made me cry. Like Henkes' The Year of Billy Miller, R. J. Palacio saves her tear-jerker for the end of her novel, in this quote:

"“You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”" (R. J. Palacio)

Auggie's Mother puts so much of her love and joy into this sentence that it makes your heart swell.

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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I chose the graphic novel version of this title, because there are some really sweet illustrated scenes between Percy and his Mom.

However, here is a quote from the book:

"When she looks at me, it's like she's seeing all the good things about me, none of the bad. I've never heard her raise her voice or say an unkind word to anyone..." (Rick Riordan)

This also radiates love. It's especially cool to see Percy realize the way his mom feels about him. Sally Jackson had to deal with so much, being Percy's Mom, the mom of a Demigod. However, she did it with so much strength, while fighting to make sure Percy was safe and happy.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Natalie Prior in Divergent is similar to that of Lily Potter or Sally Jackson. She too gives up her life for her child, and just like Percy, Tris knew exactly what her Mother must have been thinking.

"My mother's death was brave I remember how calm she was, how determined. It isn't just brave that she died for me; it is brave that she did it without announcing it, without hesitation, and without appearing to consider another option." (Veronica Roth)

Tris gets to see her Mother for who she was, while figuring out what bravery REALLY means. 

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This is another I don't have an exact quote for. However, our main character Starr's Mother, Lisa, is a force to be reckoned with. She is a fierce protector like the other Moms I've mentioned, but also knows how to give her daughter freedom. She steps back and lets her daughter make her own choices- whether it's boys or deciding what message she wants to share with the world. She also keeps secrets for her. She knows when to step in and when to step back, and that's something that I really appreciated about her character.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Frannie Lancaster is the Mom in this book. Though she is actually a bit over protective at times (can you blame her, her child is dying of cancer), she always has Hazel's best interest at heart. When Hazel wants to go to Amsterdam to meet and author, Mrs. Lancaster accompanies her and Gus there!

""What can we do?" Mom asked again.

I shrugged.

But she kept asking, as if there were something she could do, until I just kind of crawled across the couch into her lap and my dad came over and held my legs really tight and I wrapped my arms all the way around my mom's middle and they held on to me for hours while the tide rolled in." (John Green)

I love the quote above because it shows how much a simple hug or the act of holding, can soothe a child. Sometimes that is what they need. I felt like Hazel's Mom was always ready for a hug.

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If I stay by Gayle Forman

Ugh. Similar to the book or two above, this was a rough read. The Mom in it, Kat Hall, although very different from her child, still manages to connect with her. As Mia loves classical music more and more, Kat and Mia's Dad buy her her own cello. Kat praises Mia and roots her on and she is waiting for an acceptance to Juliard. She is her biggest fan and I loved that about her character.

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ALSO, for those of you who can't or do not celebrate Mother's Day, I would recommend the following:

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

This is a beautiful story. Stella doesn't have a Mom that she can bring to her class's Mother's Day celebration, so she brings her Dads...and a few other family members. It is sweet, funny and gives another perspective on the Holiday.

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and Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Circus Mirandus is about a boy who was raised by his Grandfather. Now that his Grandfather is gravely sick, Micah will do whatever it takes to get a mysterious lightbender to give him a miracle. I chose this book to feature because I know there are a lot of kids out there, who are raised by their Grandparents. The relationship between Micah and his Grandfather was endearing and would be a perfect read for some of those kids, as well as others.

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That's it for this post! I hope you have a wonderful Holiday with those you hold dear, whether it be your Mom, Aunt, Grandmother, the opposite (Dad, Uncle or Grandfather), or even a really close friend.

<3 Jen in the Bookstore

This Week's Purchases


I imagine working in any bookstore, is a struggle. However, working at Vroman's, is incredibly difficult. The buyers (book and merch), do too good of a job at keeping me broke!  Everyday, I see new things that I want to buy. I come up with "justified" reasons why I need certain items and then they sit on my desk for about a week. If the items I pick stay on my desk for the whole week, I buy them. If I end up putting them back, I obviously don't. 

These are the things that have collected upon my desk this week. Some I have already purchased. Others will be bought tomorrow when we get paid. 😂😇

First up:

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

-This was one of my favorite books that I read last year. When I found it IN THE SALE BOOK SECTION, I knew I needed to buy it for someone. 

I don't know who yet...but it will make a great gift for a friend or family member in the future. 

Next, we have: Don't, by Litsa Trochatos

Lilly's Chocolate Heart by MY FAVORITE CHILDREN'S AUTHOR IN THE WORLD, Mr. Kevin Henkes

Why are these on my desk? Let me tell you-

Both are going to be gifts for my friend's baby. When Don't first came out, I was immediately drawn to it. It is a super funny board book, about what NOT to do...ex. play hide and seek with a chameleon.  

Lilly's Chocolate Heart on the other hand, is not only by my favorite kid's author, but is a super SWEET (get it 😏) board book about treasuring something you love-with a quirky ending. 

Next, is a brand new Grumpy Cat graphic novel! 

Grumpy Cat (AndPokey!) is an adorably blunt, early graphic novel, for younger readers. I adore Grumpy Cat and love that his franchise is expanding. I feel like he IS MY SOUL.

Imaginary Fred, is another sale book find! It is smaller than the regular picture book, probably around 5×7 and has a white cover! I think this purchase really had no rhyme or reason to it, other than I am a BOOK COLLECTOR (not a hoarder). 😂

Finally, the next four books and items were purchases for my little cousins. I was going to see them for dinner and wanted to bring them some new goodies! The selection included:

-The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon & Dean Hale

This is the 4th book in the series. I had been getting my little cousins one, pretty much everytime I saw them, since they've been coming out. This book actually caused a meltdown when I gave it to them, because they didn't want to share. If that isn't incentive to buy this series, I don't know what is! 

-Narwhal Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

This is another early graphic novel that is also incredibly hillarious. I love the back and forth banter or the characters so much!

-Meri Meri hair clips

I feel like the clips speak for themselves. How could I possibly pass them up! 

I know I am not the only one with compulsive book buying issues! Comment below on books that you've bought this week! 

I would also love if you guys could hit that "Follow" button, to the bottom right of the screen. Thanks for reading! Love,


Upcoming Kid's Books That Are Just The Coolest



As a bookseller, you see a lot of ARCs (advanced reading copies) and F&Gs (folded & gathered-usually kid's picture books). Some stand out and others fall a little flat. Below, I will list some that I have seen in the past few weeks that were really great!

I will also include their release dates and publisher's marketing information. These are some really sweet titles, so I hope you'll be on the lookout for them when they hit shelves!



Life by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel- available 6/27/17

Publisher Marketing:

Cynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel explore the beauty and tenacity of life. Life begins small, then grows There are so many wonderful things about life, both in good times and in times of struggle. Through the eyes of the world's animals including elephants, monkeys, whales, and more Cynthia Rylant offers a moving meditation on finding beauty around us every day and finding strength in adversity. Brendan Wenzel's stunning landscapes and engaging creatures make this an inspiring and intriguing gift for readers of all ages.

**I thought that this story was beautiful and just what children need to see in 2017. The illustrations were also gorgeous.


That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares-available 5/9/17

Publisher Marketing:

In this nearly wordless picture book, a young girl spies on her new neighbor, a young boy who is building something from planks of the fence between their backyards.

**I am such a huge fan of Daniel Miyares' work. With one detailed illustration, you can feel an emotion so strongly.


Oliver Button is a Sissy by Tomie DePaola-available 7/4/17

Publisher Marketing:

This beautiful new edition of Tomie dePaola's progressive 1979 classic stars a special little boy who won't give up on the dreams that make him unique. Oliver Button is a sissy. At least that s what the other boys call him. But here s what Oliver Button really is: a reader, and an artist, and a singer, and a dancer, and more. What will his classmates say when he steps into the spotlight?

**This one warmed my heart. Such a sweet story with an equally sweet ending.


Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich, illustrated by Zoey Abbott Wagner-available 6/20/17

Publisher Marketing:

Dax and Zoe are twins. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.

It s the night before the twins are starting kindergarten, and they have the just-about-to-start-school jitters. After all, they will be in different classrooms! What will kindergarten be like when they re not together all day? But Dax and Zoe will learn that kindergarten is full of new surprises and adventures, and being apart for a short while isn t so bad.

From author Nikki Ehrlich and artist Zoey Abbott Wagner comes a heartwarming picture book that s perfect for anyone dealing with new experiences, especially little ones getting ready for school.

**I love the sibling relationship in this story! It probably hits home because of my relationship with my own brothers, but I really felt for these twins! I think it also tells the struggle of twins starting school, that I feel hasn't really been told in the book world previously. ALSO I LOVE ZOEY AND HER ART.


The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Adam Rex-available 4/4/17

Publisher Marketing:

From New York Times bestselling creators Drew Daywalt, author of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, and Adam Rex, author-illustrator of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, comes a laugh-out-loud hilarious picture book about theepic taleof the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors.

I hope you're wearing your battle pants!

You've played the game. Now read the legend of the three great warriors who started it all . . .


**I love that this game now has a book and a backstory for kids to think about when they play the game! I think Adam Rex's illustrations perfectly complement Drew's writing as well. Super funny!


Until next time!

Thanks for reading!<3