The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

Indie Book of the Month for July 2024 announced

The Booksellers Association has today revealed Falling Animals by Sheila Armstrong as Fiction Book of the Month, and The Boy and the Octopus by Caryl Lewis and illustrated by Carmen Saldaña as Children’s Book of the Month for July.

Independent bookshops around the UK and Ireland will be promoting Falling Animals and The Boy and the Octopus throughout July on social media and in-store. The Booksellers Association will be supporting the promotion of the Indie Books of the Month through social media and promotional material.

Falling Animals is set on an isolated beach on a lonely, windswept coastline, where a pale figure sits serenely against a sand dune staring out to sea. Months later, after a fruitless investigation, the nameless stranger is buried in an unmarked grave. But the mystery of his life and death lingers on, drawing the nearby villagers into its wake. From strandings to shipwrecks, it is not the first time that strangeness has washed up on their shores. As a chorus of voices come together to unravel the story of one man, alone on a beach, a crosshatched portrait begins to emerge, threaded by lives both true and imagined, real and surreal, past and present. Falling Animals is published by Bloomsbury and is available to pre-order now, ahead of the release on 4th July 2024.
Sheila Armstrong, author of Falling Animals, commented: “One of my simple pleasures is giving the right book to the right person – there’s something so satisfying about hearing back from someone how much they’ve loved your choice. That’s what booksellers do on a daily basis: matchmake. I’m so grateful that Falling Animals has been picked for the Fiction Book of the Month, and I hope it finds its way into the hands of a few of the right people. I’ve spent a lot of time in indie bookshops – at book launches, readings, community events, even just browsing for hours without being kicked out – and this is a great excuse for me to spend a bit more.”
Victoria Bonner, owner of Hold Fast Bookshop and member of the Selection panel commented: “We loved how the story developed with each chapter revealing more about the body found on the beach and told from a different person's perspective. It's very atmospheric with descriptions of the sea and landscape that really set the scene. Great characters knit the plot together.”
The Boy and the Octopus follows the story of Stanley who loves his octopus toy. He dreams of the magical way its skin changes colour; how it hides itself when something scary comes along. In fact, sometimes Stanley wants to be like his octopus and disappear. But Stanley learns how to share his feelings in more than words, and to face difficulties through the power of self-expression and creativity. Featuring stunning illustrations, a supportive parent who gently helps when Stanley encounters bullies, and a message with self-empowerment at its heart, this lyrical and emotional story is both helpful and satisfying. The Boy and the Octopus is published by Puffin and is available to pre-order now, ahead of release on 4th July 2024.
Caryl Lewis, author of The Boy and the Octopus, commented: “I’m thrilled that The Boy and The Octopus has been chosen as the Children’s Book of the Month for July. I adore independent bookshops and seek them out wherever I go. For me, they are the mark of a thinking, feeling community which values debate, diversity of voice and the joy of storytelling. I have benefitted first-hand from the trust that builds up between a reader and a knowledgeable bookseller and know how that incredible relationship can change lives. As a writer, indies are my home from home, small havens of stillness and wonder in an increasingly complex and bewildering world.”
The Indie Book of the Month titles are selected by panels of booksellers from publisher submissions. The Children’s panel for July comprised members from Booka Bookshop; Norfolk Children’s Book Centre; Owl & Pyramid; Suddenly on Sheaf Street; Heron & Willow and Chestnut Books. The Fiction panel were from The Wee Bookshop; Hold Fast Books; The Stripey Badger Bookshop; The Orcadian; The Rabbit Hole and Four Bears Books. The titles were also available to be voted on by all participating bookshops on Edelweiss.