Lady Banks Bookshelf

Lady Banks Pick of the Week


Read This Now: The Index

What if there were an army of indie booksellers enthusiastically reading and reviewing practically every new book coming out in the next year, and what if the books they were the most excited about, the books they couldn't wait to push into their customers' hands with a breathless "You've GOT to read this!" (virtually or otherwise), the ones with all the nine- and ten-star ratings were carefully curated and collected in a handy list? Well, all we can say is...KEEP READING!

Browse the whole list!


  • Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, illus. Meg Hunt

    Interstllar CinderellaFantastical space-age illustrations, inventive rhyming text, and a playful spin on the classic Cinderella story make this fairy tale retelling a worthwhile addition to any bookshelf!  This Cinderella is a whiz at rocket repair and dreams of working on the fastest starships.  The prince notices her not for her appearance, but because of her quick handiwork with a socket wrench.  This would make a great gift for any fairy tale enthusiast or gear-head of any age (or any gender)!

    Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, illus. Meg Hunt (Chronicle Books). Recommended by Johanna at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang

    This short book became an instant classic in Korea when published in 2000.

    It's the story of Sprout, a hen who yearns to escape the farmyard and keep one of her eggs to hatch. Once free of her cage, she must negotiate new animals and threats, including the ever-lurking weasel. I was deeply affected by this plaintive and heartbreaking story, but Sprout's tenacity, courage and hope also lifted me up.

    The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang, Nomoco -Illustrator, Chi-Young Kim -Translator  (Penguin Books) Recommended by Kent at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer

    An incredible story of a 14-year-old boy whose African village is devastated by drought.

    Reading in the little village library and scavenging for parts he accomplishes the impossible. I loved this book when it first came out in 2009, and now a young readers edition has just been released in paperback.

    Truly inspirational, the author demonstrates that anything is possible with education and determination.

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer, Elizabeth Zunon (Harper Perennial) Recommended by Andy Brennan at Parnassus Books Nashville TN

  • Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson, Lucy Tapper

    Hedgehogs are all the rage in 2016. Even in picture books!

    In this adorable story, hedgehogs Horace and Hattie are BFFs. But they can’t hug because they’re too spiky.

    Will they find a way to overcome their spikiness?

    Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson, Lucy Tapper (Henry Holt & Company) Recommended by Rae Ann Parker at Parnassus Books Nashville TN

  • Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

    Ten-year-old Manami’s family is forced to relocate to a camp for Japanese Americans during WWII.

    She tries to sneak her dog, Yujin, into the camp, but is caught by the soldiers. Manami doesn’t speak in the prison village. She writes paper wishes that she hopes will sail through the air to her dog.

    This is a beautifully written story about family and survival, perfect for young readers interested in WWII history.

    Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Recommended by Rae Ann Parker at Parnassus Books Nashville TN

  • The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill

    Since Ned and his brother fell into the river as children and only Ned survived, the people of his village have been convinced that the wrong boy lived.

    Then bandits show up from the enchanted forest that borders the village, and the Bandit King wants nothing so much as he wants the magic Ned's mother, Sister Witch, has contained and protected for her whole life. When Ned meets Aine, the Bandit King's daughter, the two must learn to trust each other in order to get rid of the magic causing so many problems.

    An extraordinary middle-grade novel about magic and friendship that will enchant readers of all ages. The lyrical storytelling reminds me of Lauren Oliver, with fantasy and adventure that will pull you in and make you stay until you're done. An amazing book.

    The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction Greenville SC

  • Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon

    In the tradition of Hamilton's The People Could Fly and In the Beginning, a dramatic new collection of 25 compelling tales from the female African American storytelling tradition.

    Each story focuses on the role of women--both real and fantastic--and their particular strengths, joys and sorrows. Full-color illustrations.

    Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon, Diane Dillon (Blue Sky Press) Recommended by Fiona at Charis Books Decatur GA

  • I Stink! by Kate McCullan

    I Stink is a book I read to my seven year old son a few months ago.

    He really enjoyed following the garbage truck through the book to see what he does on his daily route. One thing I liked was, everything the garbage truck ate, he ate alphabetically. This is a great kids book and everyone will love this smelly, sassy garbage truck.

    I Stink! by Kate McCullan (HarperTrophy) Recommended by Christina at Blue Ridge Books Waynesville NC

  • Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNape

    TenNapel has created a very real Reptiles vs. Amphibians world in which Little Herk, the weakest of the Nnewts, is forced to flee his home when his town is invaded by the scary Lizzarks.

    Confined to water due to his underdeveloped legs, Herk navigates the big wide world with an evil overlord hot on his tail. He must find the strength he possesses within himself, different from all the others -- his life depends on it!

    This is a great start to a new graphic novel series for kids. Fans of Zita the Spacegirl or Amulet and Bones--here's something new for you!

    Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel (Graphix) Recommended by Amanda at Inkwood Books Tampa FL 

  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson

    Brown Girl DreamingEvery now and then, a book comes along that you love and know that you MUST share. Jacquline Woodson's Brown Girl Dreaming is one of those. We here at the Booksellers know that books have the power to change lives. We also believe that sharing books like this one fosters empathy, while empowering readers young and old to tell their stories, and listen to -- and learn from -- each other. We invite you to read Brown Girl Dreaming with us this October, and hope that this book moves you same way it has moved us.

    Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson ($17.99, Nancy Paulsen Books), recommended by The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis TN.

  • Hollow Earth by John Barrowman & Carole E. Barrowman

    Twins Matt and Em are special -- they're Animare, people who can animate their drawings into physical manifestations.

    When their powers become unexpectedly strong for such young children, their mom is forced to move them to the protection of their paternal grandfather's estate. Unfortunately, the people who want control of Matt and Em won't be put off so easily, and the twins must find their family secrets in order to be able to protect themselves.

    Fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series will be thrilled to discover this action-packed and magical adventure.

    Hollow Earth by John Barrowman (Aladdin) Recommended by Melissa at Fiction Addiction, Greenville SC