What are some upcoming trends for 2014?

Little Shop of Stories is a children’s bookstore, so all my answers are specific to children’s books. We are seeing a resurgence in realistic fiction, especially in YA and middle grade. Books like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2014)by Jenny Han or The Art of Secrets (2014)by James Klise felt like a breath of fresh air—contemporary and fun.

Also, in the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of great early chapter book series for boys, like the Looniverse books or the Captain Awesome series. It’s so nice to have a wide selection of chapter books for boys who are starting to read on their own.

What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?

I’d like to see increased diversity where the diversity isn’t part of the conflict. We could use more of these books in all categories, from board books all the way up to YA.

Also, on the subject of what we’d like to see, a note to John Green: Where have you been, man? We’ve got teens chomping at the bit to read something new from you! 

What topic don’t you ever want to see again?

I’m over dystopian books. I think there are too many books that focus on a kid who turns out to be extra special with magical powers or fantastic abilities or an important destiny. I’m tired of the plotline that says you have to be “the chosen one” in order to have a good story. Regular kids can have adventures, too!

What is unique about your corner of the industry?

We specialize in children’s books, but we’re much more than just a bookstore. We host storytimes, author events, birthday parties and summer camps. We have so much fun here: We’ve married two dogs (at our Royal Canine Wedding), we’ve turned our basement into the crypt from The Graveyard Book (2008), and we have a communitywide reading initiative each fall called On the Same Page. We are always looking for creative ways to make books come alive and engage our customers.

Krista Gilliam is the store manager and resident Tuesday morning storytime lady at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia. She’s also the program coordinator for On the Same Page, Decatur’s communitywide reading initiative