Blue Willow Content's blog

Book Bites: How to Find a Book

If you're anything like us, you’re always on the lookout for your next favorite book. Happily, we have a near-inexhaustible supply of books in the back room, and plenty of staffers who are happy to steer you towards a great recommendation. So whether you're looking for a mid-pandemic pick-me-up, a distracting psychological thriller, or engrossing novels or nonfiction, you'll find a great choice below. Choose a few favorites, then take your pick(s) to the pool, to your chair next to the A/C, or to relax six feet apart from your book club friends—it's time to read.

Book Bites: Dig Into Fiction

We’ve reached the part of the Houston summer where all we want to do is stay inside and read—pandemic or not. So drag your comfiest chair next to your biggest A/C vent, put your feet up, and blow through a stack of our favorite new fiction. Below, we recommend a new picture book featuring a beloved character, a couple of supernatural YA reads picked by members of our Teen Advisory Board, and a half-dozen new novels that range from fizzy to searing. Dig in!

New in YA: August Picks from Our Teen Advisory Board

This spring, we started a Teen Advisory Board made up of passionate YA readers from Houston-area middle and high schools. They've been busy reading (and reading and reading) ever since, looking out for fun genre reads, topical pageturners, swoonworthy rom-coms, and everything in between.

Good news, folks: There are lots of amazing YA books coming out this fall. Read on to learn about our Board's top YA picks for August across a variety of genres—including the first book selected for our brand new YA First Editions Club subscription program (sign up by August 10 to start your subscription in September!). Whether you're a bookworm, book blogger, influencer, collector, weekend reader, or just someone who loves a good story, you're sure to find something you'll love below.

Author Q&A Exclusive! Tobly McSmith on STAY GOLD

It's no secret that we love YA books around here. They're smart. They're funny. They're thoughtful. They're true. And it's always a joy to share YA books we're excited about with you.

That's why we're here today—to recommend a new book that we just know you'll want to slide to the top of your TBR list: Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith. There are a million reasons we love this book, like its transgender protagonist, amazing rom-com vibes, and its setting in a Texas high school, and we had so much fun chatting with debut author Tobly about all of it. Check it out, then hurry up and read this book so we can talk about it, okay?

Book Bites: Pirates, Potatoes, Peculiarities

If you’re like us, you’ve been reading up a storm this summer. On your evening walks. By the pool. In your special corner on the couch. With so much extra reading time, our merry band of booksellers is working hard to find the best books out there for all our readers! Our latest collection of staff picks runs the gamut—we have hilarious picture books, heartbreaking novels, and everything in between. Explore this latest roundup of titles we loved, then settle in for an enjoyable read.

The Pumphrey Brothers on THE OLD TRUCK, Indie Bookstores, and What’s Next

Each fall before the holiday season, we spend a lot of time as a staff talking about our very favorite books of the year—the can’t-miss future classics that we know will make for a perfect gift. Sometimes it can be tough to remember all the books that came out over the calendar year. But sometimes, we’ll read something in January or February and just know it will come up in those year-end conversations. That’s what happened with a debut picture book called The Old Truck, by Texas-born brothers Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey. It came out on January 7, and we haven’t stopped loving it since. It’s a beautiful story about perseverance and the passage of time, with striking retro design and unique, stamped illustrations. If you haven’t already read it, we highly recommend picking it up.

Check out our exclusive Q&A with the Pumphrey brothers below, then circle August 4 on your calendar. That’s the day when Jarrett and Jerome are helping us close out our Camp Blue Willow summer author series on Facebook Live! They’ll read The Old Truck and share a fun activity with viewers. We hope you’ll tune in!

Summer Picks: Coding for Kids!

Summer is a great time to try new things and hone your skills! In recent years, we’ve seen wave after wave of great books for young readers of all ages on fun topics like art, cooking, sewing, origami, and… coding! Here, full-time librarian, part-time Blue Willow staffer, and all-time tech guru Lisa Stultz shares a few of her favorite coding books. 

Book Bites: Beach Reads and Beyond

We always welcome a healthy dose of joy, especially in the form of bookish distractions (and most especially these days). Our latest roundup of staff picks is brimming with excellent summer reads, from hilarious picture books to enthralling novels. Travel to a beach-front cottage in Nantucket, go on a secret-filled ride with a psychological thriller, or swoon over smart, fun romances. Whether you choose one or all, we wish you, as always, very happy reading.