Posted in Book Review

Yoga Animals

By Paige Towler

Book Source: provided by Media Masters Publicity for review

Book Status: available

1. This book has yoga poses for kids, and that’s really helpful to kids, because a lot of yoga poses are not kid friendly!

2. It gives cool ryhmes on each page!

3. There is a thing in the back that tells facts about animals, and the pose they put the animal with.

4. This is just a really good book now because kids are looking to relax and get active, and this book teaches just that!

Posted in Visit the Bookstore

Challengers Comics + Conversation

Where is it located?
Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. 1845 N Western Ave, ½ block south of Western & Milwaukee and the Western Blue Line stop.

Bookstore online presence

How long have you owned the bookstore?
Challengers opened on March 31, 2008, so we’re just over 12 years old.

Why did you buy/open a bookstore?
I grew up reading comic books. Thanks to my older brother George, comics were literally a part of my life for as long as I’ve had memories. Comics have such a strongly defined moral code and they also have an unlimited special effects budget. So many stories can ONLY be told thru the medium of comic books, and that’s amazing. I always wanted to be a part of the comic book industry. I have degrees in illustration and art history, and I got a job in a comic shop immediately after graduating college. Years later one of my best friends, W. Dal Bush, convinced me there was a better way to sell comics, so we opened Challengers. And for the record, he was totally right.

What is the cool part of owning a bookstore?
That feeling when you introduce someone to a book you just know they’ll love, and they do.

Any authors you think middle grade readers should check out?
Anything Raina Telegemeier produces; Mark & Alexis Siegel’s “5 Worlds” series; Robin Ha, Kazu Kibuishi, Kean Soo, Victoria Jamieson, Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Shannon Hale, Dana Simpson, Sean Rubin, and I can go on and on…

What is a hard part of owning a bookstore?
The actual business part of it. Paperwork, taxes, bills. Juggling multiple distributors, finding who has what in stock, etc. The love of comics is easy. Sharing that love with others is the goal. Paying for it, keeping records of it, re-ordering it, that’s the grind. But, you know, totally worth it.

How has COVID-19 impacted your bookstore?
We’ve been closed to walk-in traffic since March 22, 2020, but we have opened an online storefront via Shopify that has all of our in-stock graphic novels and comic books available for purchase. Obviously, sales are nowhere near what they were when people could actually come into the store, but we’ve been happy with the online business we’ve been able to maintain during the Illinois stay-at-home order.

Posted in Visit the Bookstore

Best of Books

Where is it located? Edmond, Oklahoma

Bookstore online presence: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and

How long have you owned the bookstore?
5 1/2 years

Why did you buy/open a bookstore?
My husband, Joe and I were living in Colorado Springs, and my daughter, Elena was finishing two years of teaching in Honduras. Joe and I decided to move back to Oklahoma because of our family, and Elena was ready for a change in careers. I had been in education for 30 years. Best of Books is very involved with schools, especially with Edmond Public Schools, and the most of the private schools in Edmond. The previous owners were ready to retire, and we wanted to continue this independent bookstore for the schools and the community. We felt this bookstore would be our way of serving the community together as a family. The bookstore community became part of our family, too.

What is the cool part of owning a bookstore?
Over the last five years, I have met hundreds of authors. I’ve had the opportunity to spend the day with them, eat lunch and dinner with them, hear their stories about writing and traveling many miles to meet their fans here.

I have the chance to take authors to many schools for thousands of school children to have the opportunity to meet and visit with an author. They share our love of books and seeing them share that love with children is very rewarding. We’ve had fans drive for 10 just to meet an author. It’s exciting for us to be able to offer these experiences for our community.

Any authors you think middle grade readers should check out?

Peter Lerangis, Kim Ventrella, Brad McLelland, Steve Sheinkin, Lynda Murphy Hunt, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Jonathan Auxier. I could recommend lots of authors, and I have read a ton of middle grade books. I continue to be impressed by the quality of these authors!

What is a hard part of owning a bookstore?
Balancing finances, keeping quality employees and have making sure we have outstanding customer service. We are fortunate that today we have among the best employees in the state, and the customers respond accordingly.

How has COVID-19 impacted your bookstore?

It has been very challenging financially and to serve our community. Our website sales have more that doubled since this has began, but we can’t have events or meet they’d favorite authors in person. That has hurt our business overall. We are not open to public, but are available Monday through Saturday 10-6 to help customers over the phone. We have curbside pick-up and free local delivery in Edmond. We offer free shipping over $50. Our top priority has been and will be to keep our employees and our customers safe and healthy. 

Posted in Visit the Bookstore

Russian Hill Bookstore

  • I am starting a new series today interviewing independent bookstore owners. If you want to participate, send me an email!
  • The name of our bookstore is the Russian Hill Bookstore. Our namesake is derived from the name of the neighborhood in which our shop is located.
  • Where is it located?
  • Our shop is located in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, California, though it was originally founded across town in the neighborhood called the Sunset District.
  • How long have you owned the bookstore?
  • Ben and I are just about to celebrate our third year as the owners of this business.
  • Why did you buy/open a bookstore?
  • We both worked as employees at the bookstore for 12 and 8 years respectively before we bought the shop. We decided to buy the store to keep it from closing with the founder’s retirement. We love bookstores and we especially love this one. The store itself will be celebrating its 46th birthday this upcoming September the 13th.
  • What is the cool part of owning a bookstore?
  • I think the coolest part about owning a bookstore is that I get the opportunity to see some rare books. For example, we get to see signed copies, first printings, and even books dating back to the 1600’s! I also love getting to spend time with our readers and help them find some new books to read that they might not have heard of yet. We also love being able to feature the artwork of many independent and local artists. A big part of our store is dedicated to greeting cards. Would you believe that we carry handmade cards from over 400 independent artists? One of our favorite parts of our bookstore is the mural on our sale-book bin. It was painted by a fantastic local artist and features a woman who is dressed in a way that women used to dress in the late 1800’s-early 1900’s in San Francisco.
  • Any authors you think middle grade readers should check out?
  • I have a lot of favorite authors here! I would love to share two of my favorites with you. One series that I love is the Book Scavenger, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman ( My favorite thing about this book is that Jennifer wrote it while living across the street from our bookstore. After the first book was published, she told us that the bookstore in The Book Scavenger, Hollister’s, is actually based on our shop!
  •  Another author who I love is Ursula LeGuin. She wrote an amazing middle-grade series called the Earthsea Cycle. When I was growing up, she had only written 3 volumes of the series before taking a break. I am thrilled to say that since then she finished the series for a total of 6 books. If you like magic and adventure, this is a fantastic books series!
  • What is a hard part of owning a bookstore?
  • I would say the hardest, and most boring, part about owning a bookstore is handling all of the behind the scenes work it takes to keep our doors open. This includes things like taxes, budgeting, and navigating the myriad of legal requirements for businesses to operate as decided by the city of San Francisco.
  • How has COVID-19 impacted your bookstore?
  • On March 17th, 2020, the city of San Francisco instituted a Shelter in Place order. We were considered a non-essential business, and were told we would no longer be able to be open for business. We are still allowed to sell things online, but we are only allowed to either ship items to people’s homes, or we can deliver to them. Part of city life here means that neither Ben nor I own a car, and we typically walk or bicycle everywhere we go. This means that we are walking our deliveries all over the city to bring them to our readers’ homes. Also, since most of our business is from our readers walking into our store, we do not have a full catalog of the things we sell on our website to buy. We are doing our best to add books for sale online as quickly as possible!
Posted in Book Review

Scritch Scratch

By Lindsay Currie

Book Source: Received review access in NetGalley

Book Status:  Available September 1, 2020

1. The girl is dealing with friendship problems.

2. On her dad’s ghost tour she meets a ghost.

3. Then she researches and talks to the ghost.

4. She finds the ghost, Willie’s, whole backstory!

5. This is just the best book in the history of spooky books!!!!!!

Posted in the great quarantine of 2020

It’s my birthday post…

Ok this year has been crazy, and it changed in like, one day! I was going home from school, expecting we’d finish the year, but school got canceled the next day and it turned into the whole rest of the school year!!! It was craaaaaazzzyyyy!!!

Positive changes this year include learning track cycling and fostering kittens! Track cycling is sooooooooooooo fun, and fostering kittens is the best!!!!!! In track, I’ve been having a lot of fun and while fostering kittens, I’ve cuddled so many cute kittens!!!! It’s so fun.

I miss track cycling a lot right now. I can’t wait to get back on the track. Road riding is just not cutting it for me. I had a birthday party planned at my Velodrome for this weekend. That got cancelled which is a bummer.

This year has been realllllllllllly fun, excluding all the stuff going on right now…..

Now I are stuck at home, losing my mind, for who knows how long! It so weird! But at least my birthday cake is epic!  It’s Oreo, chocolate, and vanilla froyo, aaaaannnnnddddd, chocolate cake!! It’s delicious!!!!!  Bye!!!!!!!!

Posted in Book Review

The Star Dunes

By Trudi Trueit

Book Source: Provided by Media Masters Publicity for review

Book Status: Available

1. This is on the Explorer Academy series.

2. Cruz goes.on a trip, and a classmate gets poisoned.

3. Nebula chases Cruz more than ever as they realize that the poison did not reach Cruz.

4. The team finds out a secret, and makes a plan to reverse it’s effect if done.

5. This is just a reaaaaaaaaallllllllllllyyyyyyy great book!!

6. I don’t think it is even close to the end of the series so yea