Blue Willow Digital Marketing Team's blog

Hats Off to Grads and Dads!

Have you heard that books make the best gifts? It's true... and we know that many of you have called or stopped in recently looking for gifts for a couple of specific late-spring occasions: High school and college graduations, and Father's Day. Here, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite in-stock recommendations for each occasion. So if you’re seeking words of wisdom, inspiration, or helpful college cooking tips, check out our grad section below. Scroll past those picks, and you’ll find an assortment of dad-approved titles from picture books to nonfiction. Stop in or give us a call, and we'll even take care of the gift-wrapping — leaving you more time to celebrate the dads and grads in your life. Hooray!

Book Bites: Summer Reading is Here!

In case the upper-90s heat we’re staring down hasn’t tipped you off, we have it on good authority that summer is just around the corner. Just take a look at our shelves, which are packed with new releases that perfectly fit the “summer reading” mold. Just in time, too — we’ve dusted off our annual summer reading challenge, which kicks off on June 1. So peruse the list of stories below, including tales of sleepaway camp, cats in space, time travel, historical fiction, and more, and make some room on your TBR pile. We’ve even included a cookbook to help you plan your summer get-togethers. Dig in!

Eliot Schrefer on the Animal Kingdom, His Stonewall Honor, and QUEER DUCKS

Friends, we can’t wait to share the new book for teens (and up!) from National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer with you all. It’s called Queer Ducks, and it delves into the fascinating world of animal sexuality with humor, wit, and smarts. It’s an absolute treat to read — take it from Blue Willow Events Coordinator and Children’s Specialist Cathy Berner, who says, “The engaging format that combines scientific research, comics, and memoir made me feel like I was sitting next to Eliot in science class, passing notes and comics back and forth — and then going for coffee afterwards!”

Cathy caught up with Eliot before the book’s launch to talk about Queer Ducks, Eliot’s recent Stonewall honor, and more. Check out their conversation below, then save the date for Eliot’s virtual launch event on May 24. He’ll appear in conversation with Newbery medalist Kelly Barnhill, and it’s sure to be a conversation you won’t want to miss!

Kosoko Jackson on Writing Romance and I'M SO (NOT) OVER YOU

Valentine's Day is drawing near, and love is in the air. One of the very best ways to celebrate, in our opinion, is with a fresh stack of literary rom-coms for your side table or nightstand. And one of the best of those that you can read this month is I'm So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson. It's funny and fresh, sassy and steamy, and was on *everyone's* "most-anticipated rom-coms" list heading into the year.

We're uttery delighted to be hosting Kosoko for a fun virtual event on February 24. (He's appearing in conversation with the incredible Leah Johnson, which makes the whole thing even better.) The book doesn't come out until the 22nd, so you'll have to wait until just after the holiday to fall in love Hudson and Kian... but you can tide yourselves over by checking out our Q&A with Kosoko below!

Celebrate Black History Month With These Recent & Anticipated Reads

February is Black History Month, and we always love to celebrate by sharing some reading recommendations with you all. Here, we’ve collected a list of recently-released and forthcoming books by just a few of our favorite Black creators—from longtime friends of the shop to new voices we're eager to hear more of. The recommendations below span all ages and interests, so whether you're looking for a gentle picture book to share with the young readers in your life, a breathtaking piece of YA fantasy, a romcom, or a thought-provoking piece of nonfiction, you're sure to find something you'll love. Read on!

Antwan Eady, Gracey Zhang, and Editor Mabel Hsu Discuss the Making of NIGEL AND THE MOON

Nigel and the Moon - CoverEvery so often, we come across a picture book that we just know is going to be an instant classic. One recent example is the beautiful Nigel and the Moon, written by debut author Antwan Eady and illustrated by Gracey Zhang. It's a timeless and lovely depiction of a child's courage to dream, with poetic text and evocative ink, gouache, and watercolor illustrations. With its themes of self-acceptance and dreaming big, we know it will inspire young readers for many years to come.

We're so excited to welcome Antwan and Gracey to our virtual Bookworm Festival next Thursday, where they'll appear alongside Meg Wolitzer in a conversation moderated by Jarrett Pumphrey (The Old Truck). You can register for their session and peruse the rest of our Bookworm Festival programming from this page. In the meantime, check out our conversation with Antwan, Gracey, and editor Mabel Hsu below!

Book Bites: Bears! Chickens! Foxes! People, Too.

It’s been cold and wet here in Houston, and all we want to do about it is curl up with a good book and a fire. We guess that makes us creatures of comfort… so it makes sense that we’re featuring books this week with a whole cast of critters — foxes and bears, chickens and hares — including a gang of woodland characters that kick off a kooky new mystery series. Plus, we have new books from heavy hitters including the late, great Gary Paulsen, Jason Reynolds, and Isabel Allende, and other novels to fit whatever literary mood may strike you. Cozy up and read on!

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