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Hillary's Picks

Hillary is the Kids Events and School Outreach Coordinator at the Odyssey. She has a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and an M.A. in Children’s and Young Adult Literature from Simmons University. Before joining the Odyssey, she worked for a year in the editorial department at Charlesbridge Publishing, where she edited picture book manuscripts from conception to completion. She is also a freelance editor on the Reedsy marketplace, which compels her to spend entirely too much time double-checking grammar rules and fixing comma splices.

While she enjoys books of all kinds, she has a special place in her heart for fantasy novels that feature lesbian/sapphic relationships. She also loves whimsical picture books and is passionate about books that foster both verbal and visual literacy for the next generation of kids. Her favorite part about bookselling is helping readers find the perfect book to read next!

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Malice: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984818652
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - April 13th, 2021

In this evocative queer retelling of Sleeping Beauty, a dark sorceress and a charmed princess find each other against all odds.

In the land of Briar, wealthy humans seek out magical elixirs from a group of enchanted young women called Graces. Most Graces offer elixirs that grant their patrons beauty, musical talents, and wisdom, but Alyce is different. She is the Dark Grace, a social outcast who is both desired and feared, sought after by affluent and vengeful souls only in secret. Part vila, part human, she crafts dark elixirs that offer the townspeople curses and afflictions that only she can provide.

But there is more to Alyce than even she knows. When she meets the beautiful and rebellious Princess Aurora, the secrets of Alyce’s true power begin to unravel.

This is Heather Walter’s debut novel and the first of a duology. Malice is the sapphic fairytale retelling you don’t want to miss!

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Girl, Serpent, Thorn Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250196149
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - July 7th, 2020

A mysterious princess in the shadows, a deadly curse, and a palace full of secrets. You’ll find all that and more in this queer fantasy novel by Melissa Bashardoust.

In this Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy, Soraya has been told all her life that she is dangerous. Her veins are green with poison from a curse that instantly kills anyone who touches her skin. No one is immune to the curse, not even her own mother, and so she has lived her entire life in isolation, avoiding physical contact of any kind at all costs. While her brother rules the land, she remains in the darkness of the palace to protect the world from herself. But when she finally goes looking for answers, she discovers that not all is as it seems.  

This captivating sapphic story explores what it means to feel like a monster in your own skin, and the courage it takes to step out from the shadows.

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The Rabbit Listened Cover Image
By Cori Doerrfeld, Cori Doerrfeld (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780735229358
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - February 20th, 2018

It’s exciting to build something beautiful and new. But when Taylor’s creation is knocked down, big emotions follow. Everyone tries to fix the problem: the chicken wants to talk about it, but Taylor doesn’t feel like talking. The bear wants to shout about it, but Taylor doesn’t feel like shouting. The ostrich wants to pretend nothing happened and the kangaroo wants to throw away the pieces. But nothing helps until the rabbit hops over and simply listens as Taylor processes the loss through various stages of grief.

This empathetic and uplifting story is a tender exploration of how best to comfort a person who has lost something they love, whether big or small. 

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Ten Beautiful Things Cover Image
By Molly Griffin, Maribel Lechuga (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781580899369
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Charlesbridge - January 12th, 2021

Moving is never easy, especially when it’s to empty old Iowa. Lily is on a road trip to her new home with her Gram, but she feels hollow and sad inside. To cheer her up, Gram encourages Lily to spot ten beautiful things along the way. Some things are obviously beautiful, while others are more unique, like a falling-apart barn. (“We’re not looking for pretty. We want beautiful,” says Gram.)

This sweet story highlights the special relationship a grandmother can have with her granddaughter and the ways in which beauty can be found in the most unlikely places.

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The Jasmine Throne (The Burning Kingdoms #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316538510
Availability: Not in Stock
Published: Orbit - June 8th, 2021

A cruel emperor rules over a land beset by a mysterious illness and occupied by an increasingly disenfranchised population. In the midst of oppression and rebellion, we meet an ensemble cast of compelling morally gray characters, each of whom fights for survival from a different side of the multifaceted central political conflict.

Elegantly written and masterfully composed, Suri brings this Indian-inspired fantasy landscape to life. The slow burn lesbian relationship between a maid full of secrets and a princess fallen from grace kept me riveted to the page. This novel uses deliciously sophisticated prose to provide commentary on power, patriarchy, and hidden strength. Simply put, this is the feminist Game of Thrones

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Om Child: I Am Happy: Chakras, Colors, and Feelings Cover Image
By Lisa Edwards, Sandhya Prabhat (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780063068391
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperFestival - August 31st, 2021

This friendly and colorful board book introduces children to chakras using friendly and accessible language. Each spread introduces one of the seven chakras with a matching brightly colored illustration. The text prompts the reader with an age-appropriate question that encourages children to think about who they are and how they relate to the world.

Excerpt: “The Solar Plexus Chakra is yellow. It sits just above your belly button. Om Child feels powerful and strong. What makes you feel strong?”

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Here and Now (padded board book) Cover Image
By Julia Denos, E. B. Goodale (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780358452096
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - April 13th, 2021

This board book is a quiet yet engaging meditation on mindfulness for young readers. The book begins “Right here, right now, you are reading this book.” From there the meditation takes the reader along as they explore what it means to be in the present moment. Along the way, the reader is encouraged to wonder peacefully about their place in the world: “the Earth is spinning in the middle of space. We don’t know why. But it is.” The book bravely leans into an existential theme, and then concludes on a simple, hopeful note: “isn’t it wonderful?”

This is a great book for introducing mindfulness and grounding techniques to help kids feel connected to their surroundings and to manage big feelings.