We’re approaching the end of 2022, and it’s time to look back at the indie books that captivated readers throughout the year. Across every genre, we saw game-changing titles that took the world by storm. The books on this list have experienced incredible success – and each title has influenced thousands of readers. If you have yet to learn about these books and authors, this is the perfect opportunity to discover the bestselling titles on BookBaby Bookshop of 2022.
The Cine Lens Manual: The Definitive Filmmaker’s Guide to Cinema Lenses by Jay Holben and Christopher Probst, ASC
(Photography, Techniques / Cinematography & Videography)
The Cine Lens Manual is a true masterpiece – brought to you by Jay Holben and Christopher Probst. It is well-deserving of being the top-seller on Bookshop for all of 2022. This epic 836 page manual is the perfect book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of cinema optics. It breaks down complex concepts into easy-to-understand ideas and is truly unlike anything else ever written on the subject.
In this comprehensive examination of the art and science of cinema optics, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the cinema lens – and understand why it is at the very heart of filmmaking. The manual is not just for cinematographers – but for everyone with an interest in the lens. This includes directors, visual effects artists, camera assistants, animators, technical journalists, historians, students, rental house technicians, and more. The book is widely acclaimed and celebrated, and it’s a must-read for visual storytellers working in the cinematographic world.
The Awkward Avocado by C.J. Zachary and Zac Zachary
(Juvenile Fiction, Social Issues / Self-Esteem)
This heartwarming and impactful children’s book reminds us that it’s okay to feel out of place or unsure of things. The story created by this husband and wife illustrator / author pairing has been a tremendous hit. The Awkward Avocado has influenced so many lives in just one year – and will continue to do so for years to come.
In C.J. and Zac Zachary’s book, you meet an avocado who reminds you that you don’t have to try to fit in or conform to the status quo. All you have to do is stay true to yourself. It’s an absolutely wonderful story about acceptance and self-love with a main character who does things on their own terms. The Awkward Avocado is not concerned about what others think in order to get their approval. They live life guided by their heart at all times – and send a message to always love yourself and keep being you. It’s a beautiful story that I cherish, and I hope that children everywhere learn its message and live by it. No matter who we are, we can all use a little reminder to stay true to ourselves, no matter what.
I Want To Be by Sean Rux, PhD
(Juvenile Non-Fiction, Motivational / Educational)
I Want To Be has been a tremendous success over the last year, and for good reason. This engaging and motivational book for children was designed to spark career interest and confirm the belief that you can be whatever you want to be.
Author Dr. Sean Rux is a difference-maker who grew up facing harsh times and adversity. At an early age, he realized the importance of education. In his powerful book, he focuses on the importance of self-belief and the wonderful possibilities of the future. I Want To Be helps children think and reflect on their future career choice. It reminds children that one day, they will grow up and have a career. You’ll learn that it’s never too early to start thinking about who and what you want to become. The book is filled with meaningful content that leads to self-reflection, thought-provoking dialogue, and essay writing. This positive book is an invaluable resource for parents to offer to their children. Dr. Rux is an influential leader, and his book embodies his powerful mission and work efforts close the achievement gap and help children become leaders.
Ese to Master Jefe by Raul R. Ramos
(Biography & Autobiography, Military)
Raul R. Ramos has a story that can move you to tears, and inspire you to get up and take control of your life. In his incredible memoir, he shares his uplifting journey from street gang life in South Central Los Angeles to achieving the prestigious rank of Master Chief in the United States Navy. It’s one my favorite books from the last year, and it certainly has left a lasting impact on countless readers’ lives.
This one-of-a-kind story serves as a reminder that you control your destiny – no matter the obstacles you face. Raul never let his past alter his future, and he rose to the top of the Navy ranks after facing challenges that would break most people. Throughout the incredible memoir, Raul shares his life story – the struggle, heartbreak, success, and gratification. With each moment, he personally and vulnerably elaborates on the memories that accompanied them. The book has been a hit because it is real, motivational, and breathtakingly honest. Ese to Master Jefe is a book that everyone should read.
If You Touch, I’ll Tell by Dr. Shamina Aubuchon
(Family & Relationships, Abuse / Child Abuse)
If You Touch, I’ll Tell burst onto the scene in the Summer after author Dr. Shamina Aubuchon discussed the book with Gayle King on CBS Mornings. Since then, it’s continued to build momentum as an incredibly important resource to teach children to use their voice power to deactivate predators.
Written like a poem and filled with vibrant illustrations, the book introduces the topic of inappropriate touching to children. It teaches them how to protect themselves and encourages children to speak up if they ever find themselves in an uncomfortable situation. This is a challenging topic for parents to address – but it’s incredibly important. Prevention is always better than a cure, especially in the case of sexual abuse. With this powerful book, parents and children can have an important conversation on staying safe and deactivating predators. Dr. Aubuchon is a survivor of child sexual abuse and is an advocate for children who face those horrific and traumatizing situations.
(Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoir)
Going Off Script is an awe-inspiring memoir about an incredible woman’s life. The book details Ruth Doeschner’s life growing up in Ghana and moving to the United States. She thoughtfully highlights the hardships, successes, happiness, and love that came along the way.
Throughout the book, Ruth shares her story with vulnerability as she elaborates on growing up in a third-world nation and the uncertainty that came with it. Even when times were tough, her family always persevered and hoped for a better future. After a series of life-changing events, she finds herself in America – and possibly destined for the American Dream. But triumphs always bring hardships – and she confronts negativity and threats to her happiness and hope. Ruth’s journey in the United States is complex and compelling – and you’ll just have to find out where her path took her today. Going Off Script is a one-of-a-kind, amazing story.
Wu-Tang is for the Children by Lee Lawrence
(Juvenile Fiction, Concepts / Alphabet)
Released towards the end of the year, this book has been an absolute hit since it launched on Bookshop. Lee Lawrence’s unique and timeless story winds the clock back to 1999 and takes children on an A to Z journey by honoring the Wu-Tang Clan.
This creative book does an excellent job paying homage to an iconic rap group and passing on their legacy to the next generation. It shares references to the group’s music and their fascination with martial arts. In nostalgic fashion, children will simultaneously learn the alphabet and a whole lot about the Wu-Tang Clan. Parents will enjoy this book as much as their kids – maybe even more! If you’re a fan of this iconic rap group and are looking to share their legacy with your children, this book is a must-have resource. You’ll find this book at the intersection of nostalgia and legacy.
(Social Science, Discrimination & Race Relations)
Markham Street is an astonishing story of one man’s enduring love for his lost brother and his devotion to his grieving parents – who kept silent for two and a half decades to protect their seven surviving children.
The book tells a story about systemic racism, police violence, brutal murder, and heartbreak. Author Ronnie Williams shares a lot in the book. He writes in loving detail about how his parents supported his family through hard work and resourcefulness. Through the lens of his then-thriving Black community of Menifee, Ronnie vividly describes the suffocating misery and debasement of Black families who worked in the cotton fields or as domestic help for white families and businesses. And of course, he describes his memoires of the night his brother died – a night when a tornado tore his home apart, while a tornado of rage and hate tore his family apart. This poignant book resounds with the author’s unresolved grief over his brother’s death, his righteous determination to get justice for Marvin, and his own remarkable career in the city where his brother was killed.
All the Wave by Tiana Woolridge
(Juvenile Fiction, Family / Siblings)
Parents, children, and families have loved Tiana Woolridge’s hit book this year. All the Wave is story about the loving bond between a brother and sister, and it’s one that offers a meaningful lesson on family.
The book is particularly endearing as it reflects a true story. It was written to commemorate and memorialize the relationship between the late Vanessa and Orlando Woolridge – two incredible people who made a difference in the world. In the story, a girl named Vanessa gets knocked over by a wave and is pulled into the ocean. Her brother, Orlando, comes to her rescue and reminds her that he will always be there for her. This story, along with its beautiful illustrations, does a superb job sharing the strength of sibling bond and family ties.