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2020 Winter Okra Picks

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Updated: Monday, December 30, 2019
okra winter 2020

For immediate release: January 1, 2020

Announcing the 2020 Winter Okra Picks

(Asheville, NC) Southern independent booksellers have selected thirteen titles for their 2020 Winter Okra Picks, their seasonal list of great forthcoming Southern books. The Winter Okra Picks publish in January, February, and March and feature southern voices, southern stories, and southern writers. Each and every one of them also has a cadre of southern bookseller champions, eager to place these books into the hands of adventurous readers.

Southern independent bookstores – we grow good books!
For more information visit:

Hill Women by Cassie Chambers
Ballantine Books, January, 2020

“An honest narrative about the challenges of life in one of the poorest regions of the country while giving voices to the women who lifted up her life.” –Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome, James E. Ransome (Illus.)
Holiday House, January, 2020

“How James Ransome hasn't been awarded a Caldecott yet is beyond me.” –Elese Stutts, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Wilmington's Lie by David Zucchino
Atlantic Monthly Press, January, 2020

“This is truly a book to shake your world view.” –Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain
St. Martin's Press, January, 2020

“A wonderfully nuanced novel with two engrossing, engaging heroines.” – Tracie Harris, The Book House, Mableton, GA

Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Illus.)
Denene Millner Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, January, 2020

“Just Like a Mama is the perfect way to honor everyone who fills the gap when Mama cannot always be there.” –Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Remembrance by Rita Woods
Forge Books, January, 2020

“Rita Woods has blended together a story that is both historically and currently relevant, told across three timelines with four different protagonists, all women of color. This is an exciting and important book!” –Carl Kranz, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

The Third Rainbow Girl by Emma Copley Eisenberg
Hachette Books, January, 2020

“Strong as a traditional true-crime recounting of murder, the investigation and subsequent trial…an allegory for the on-going challenges faced in the rough [Appalachian] landscape.” – Doloris Vest, Book No Further, Roanoke, VA

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland
Tin House Books, February, 2020

“A mix of memoir and biography. Anyone can paint a broad outline of a writer's life, but Shapland reveals Carson McCullers in a fresh way.” –Sissy Gardner, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Race Against Time by Jerry Mitchell
Simon & Schuster, February, 2020

“It reads like a novel and is essential reading for southerners.” –Lia Lent, Wordsworth Books, Little Rock, AR

The Boatman's Daughter by Andy Davidson
MCD x FSG Originals, February, 2020

“Like a johnboat ride through the depths and darkness of the subconscious, under the canopy of the bayou.” –Stuart McCommon, novel., Memphis, TN

Bells for Eli by Susan Beckham Zurenda
Mercer University Press, March, 2020

“Like visiting with a long-lost friend over a cup of tea.” – Suzanne Lucey, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

The Last Taxi Driver by Lee Durkee
Tin House Books, March, 2020

“A fairly thorough search for fairness and cab fare in the world that barely leaves the car or Mississippi. I laughed and (sadly) related.” – Ian McCord, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
St. Martin's Press, March, 2020

“A blend of Romeo and Juliet with Hatfield and McCoy, set in a 'nice' contemporary American neighborhood where 'these things shouldn't happen.' A heart-breaking, eye-opening must-read!” – Cathy Graham, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

Authors 'Round the South |

Sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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2019 Summer Okra Picks

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019

Okra Picks(Asheville, NC) –Southern indie booksellers have announced their 2019 Summer Okra Picks, a baker’s dozen of the titles they are most looking forward to telling their customers to try. Taken together, the Okra Picks are not your average summer reading list – each book was chosen because it is Southern in nature and has devoted fans in the Southern indie bookselling community. The Summer Okra Picks release in July, August, and September, and every book on the list has a Southern bookseller ready to put it in the hands of readers with that most exciting phrase in the English language, “You’ve got to read this!
Southern independent bookstores – we grow good books!

Late MigrationsThe Last List of Miss Judith KrattThe Substitution Order
The Nickel BoysNever Have I EverBook Charmer

Late Migrations by Margaret Renkl
Milkweed Editions, July 2019

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis
Sourcebooks Landmark, July 2019

The Substitution Order by Martin Clark
Knopf, July 2019

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Doubleday, July 2019

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
William Morrow, July 2019

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins
Gallery Books, July 2019

Sing a SongStayThe Yellow House

Sing a Song by Kelly Starling Lyons, Keith Mallett (Illus.)
Nancy Paulsen Books, August 2019

Stay by Bobbie Pyron
Katherine Tegen Books, August 2019

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
Grove Press, August 2019

My Jasper JuneThe Edge of AmericaRed at the BoneNo Judgments
My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder
Walden Pond Press, September 2019

The Edge of America by Jon Sealy
Haywire Books, September 2019

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Riverhead Books, September 2019

No Judgments by Meg Cabot
William Morrow, September 2019

Find more information about the Okra Picks at

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Okra Picks Schedule Change

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Okra Picks Deadline Change: Deadline for SUMMER Okra Picks nominations is May 15

Okra PicksBeginning in May, SIBA's Okra Picks program calendar has been updated to give booksellers and publishers more time to promote each season's titles and to allow for active pre-order campaigns for the forthcoming books. Accordingly, nomination deadlines for each season have been pushed back by two weeks. The new Okra Picks schedule is as follows:

  • Spring (April-June titles):

    Nomination Deadline: February 15
    Okra Picks Announced: April 1

  • Summer (July-September titles):

    Nomination Deadline: May 15
    Okra Picks Announced: July 1

  • Fall (October-December titles):

    Nomination Deadline: August 15
    Okra Picks Announced: October 1

  • Winter (January-March titles):

    Nomination Deadline: November 15
    Okra Picks Announced: January 1

Okra Picks 

Okra Picks is SIBA's program to highlight forthcoming books of southern interest that its booksellers are especially excited about. Since its inception, the program has spotlighted new books by favorite southern authors such as Joshilyn Jackson, Rick Bragg, Ron Rash, and Tayari Jones, and also break out books by debut and emerging authors such as Wiley Cash, T. Geronimo Johnson, Brian Panowich, Leonard Pitts, Jr. and Holly Goddard Jones.

Nominations are only accepted from SIBA member booksellers, and may be submitted in any of the following ways:

Via the Okra Picks nomination form
By submitting a review to Edelweiss
By emailing the nomination to

More information about Okra Picks can be found at

Current Season Okra Picks | Okra Picks Archive


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Announcing the 2019 Spring Okra Picks

Posted By Nicki Leone, Monday, April 1, 2019

The onset of spring means extra hours of daylight which means more time to read! Southern independent booksellers have collected a reading list that will keep those extra hours filled: the 2019 Spring Okra Picks – a collection of the best forthcoming Southern books of the season. Every book on the list has these things in common: they are Southern in nature, they release sometime between April and June, and they have a following among Southern indie booksellers, who can’t wait to introduce them to new readers.

Stay up a little bit later and read. Put a pile of Okra Picks by your bed.

Mothers & Strangers I Miss You When I BlinkThe GulfCaterpillar SummerThe Magnetic GirlSouthern Lady CodeLike LIonsPapa Put a Man on the MoonBook Woman of Troublesome CreekDon't Date Rosa Santosmokeloreof ColorIn West MillsThe TRavelersAccident of Color

Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood from the New South by Samia Serageldin (editor)
University of North Carolina Press | Paperback | 9781469651675 | 04/1/2019 | $22.00

I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott
Atria Books | Hardcover | 9781982102807 | 04/02/2019 | $26.00

The Gulf by Belle Boggs
Graywolf Press | Paperback | 9781555978341 | 04/02/2019 | $16.00

Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn
Bloomsbury Children's Books| Hardcover | 9781681197432 | 04/02/2019 | $16.99

The Magnetic Girl by Jessica Handler
Hub City Press | Hardcover | 9781938235481 | 04/09/2019 | $27.00

Southern Lady Code: Essays by Helen Ellis
Doubleday Books | Hardcover | 9780385543897 | 04/16/2019 | $22.00

Like Lions by Brian Panowich
Minotaur Books | Hardcover | 9781250206947  | 04/30/2019 | $26.99

Papa Put a Man on the Moon by Kristy Dempsey, Sarah Green (illus.)
Dial Books | Hardcover | 9780735230743 | 05/07/2019 | $17.99

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
Sourcebooks Landmark | Paperback | 9781492671527 | 05/07/2019 | $15.99

Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Disney-Hyperion | Hardcover | 9781368039703 | 05/14/2019 | $17.99

Smokelore: A Short History of Barbecue in America by Jim Auchmutey
University of Georgia Press | Paperback | 9780820338415 | 06/01/2019 | $32.95

In West Mills by De’Shawn Charles Winslow
Bloomsbury Publishing | Hardcover | 9781635573404 | 06/04/2019 | $26.00

The Travelers by Regina Porter
Hogarth | Hardcover | 9780525576198 | 06/18/2019 | $27.00

The Accident of Color: A Story of Race in Reconstruction by Daniel Brook
W. W. Norton & Company | Hardcover | 9780393247442 | 06/18/2019 | $27.95

Find more information about the Okra Picks at

Southern indie booksellers: We grow good books!

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Okra Pick Nominations Due 3/1

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Okra PicksSpeak up for your favorite forthcoming Southern books! Okra Pick Nominations due 3/1

Nominations for the Spring Okra Picks are due on March 1. Booksellers can nominate a book by reviewing it on Edelweiss, or by submitting a nomination form:

To be eligible, books must be Southern in nature or by a Southern author (or both) and have a publication date of 4/1-6/30. Nominations must come from SIBA member booksellers. Members receive 2 B3 points for every eligible nomination.

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From Okra Pick to Newbery Winner!

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, January 30, 2019

From Okra Pick to Newbery Winner!

Merci Suarez Changes GearsMeg Medina has won the Newbery for her novel Merci Suarez Changes Gears.

The book, a story about an 11-year-old girl who navigates her home life with a Cuban-American extended family and her experiences as a scholarship student at a private school, was a SIBA Okra Pick for the summer, 2018.

Download the Okra Pick Bookmark

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2019 Winter Okra Picks

Posted By Nicki Leone, Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Updated: Sunday, December 30, 2018

Okra PicksMake a New Year’s Resolution to read more Okra! Southern Independent booksellers have chosen the 2019 Winter Okra Picks – a collection of the best forthcoming Southern books of the season. Each of the 18 books selected have a couple things in common: They are Southern in nature, they are coming out sometime in the next three months (January, February, March), and they have a following among Southern indie booksellers, who can’t wait to introduce them to new readers.

Add a bit of tasty reading to your literary diet. Serve yourself a helping of Okra Picks.

Meet Miss FancySugar RunThe Elephant in the RoomThe Gilded Wolves

Meet Miss Fancy by Irene Latham ; John Holyfield
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers | Hardcover | 9780399546686 | 01/08/2019 | $17.99

Sugar Run by Mesha Maren
Algonquin Books | Hardcover | 9781616206215 | 01/08/2019 | $26.95

The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man's Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America by Tommy Tomlinson
Simon & Schuster | Hardcover | 9781501111617 | 01/15/2019 | $27.00

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Wednesday Books | Hardcover | 9781250144546 | 01/15/2019 | $18.99

The CurrentMiraculumParkland SpeaksWe Cast a Shadow

The Current by Tim Johnston
Algonquin Books | Hardcover | 9781616206772 | 01/22/2019 | $27.95

Miraculum by Steph Post
Polis Books | Hardcover | 9781947993419 | 01/22/2019 | $26.00

Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories by Sarah Lerner
Crown Books for Young Readers | Paperback | 9781984849991 | 01/22/2019 | $17.99

We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
One World | Hardcover | 9780525509066 | 01/29/2019 | $27.00

American PopThe Atlas of Reds and BluesLost Children ArchiveA-List

American Pop by Snowden Wright
William Morrow & Company | Hardcover | 9780062697745 | 02/05/2019 | $26.99

The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S. Laskar
Counterpoint LLC | Hardcover | 9781640091535 | 02/05/2019 | $25.00

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
Knopf Publishing Group | Hardcover | 9780525520610 | 02/12/2019 | $27.95

A-List by D. P. Lyle
Oceanview Publishing | Paperback | 9781608093335 | 02/19/2019 | $16.00

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry GirlsRayne & Delilah's Midnite MatineeA Friend is a Gift You Give YourselfSoltary

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
Berkley Books | Hardcover | 9781984802439 | 02/19/2019 | $26.00

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Crown Books for Young Readers | Hardcover | 9781524720209 | 02/26/2019 | $17.99

A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself by William Boyle
Pegasus Books | Hardcover | 9781643130583 | 03/05/2019 | $25.95

Solitary by Albert Woodfox
Grove Press | Hardcover | 9780802129086 | 03/05/2019 | $26.00

The Good DetectivePoetree

The Good Detective by John McMahon
G.P. Putnam's Sons | Hardcover | 9780525535539 | 03/19/2019 | $27.00

Poetree by Shauna Lavoy Reynolds ; Shahrzad Maydani
Dial Books | Hardcover | 9780399539121 | 03/19/2019 | $17.99

Find more information about the Okra Picks at

Southern indie booksellers: We grow good books!


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