All of the Content, None of the Travel: Spring/Summer Virtual PD

Last spring, I decided virtual conferences were a silver lining to a socially distanced and anxiety-ridden time. The endlessly creative library and book world was just a click away, and all the conferences I’d dreamt of participating in were suddenly coming right to the safety of my desk (AKA the dining room table)! And while I love the energy and spontaneous meet-ups of a face-to-face conference, I’m excited for another summer of safely connecting online while the world recovers from this pandemic. Check out this roster of fabulous upcoming events for your professional development delight. And perhaps we’ll meet in a virtual happy hour—cheers!

SLJ Day of Dialog
May 20, 2021 9:00am-6:00pm EST
Free with registration.

Come hear about the latest and most exciting forthcoming titles for children, tweens, and teens, from picture books and nonfiction to graphic novels and YA, and engage in Q&A sessions with authors and illustrators. There will also be opportunities to visit the virtual exhibit hall to network with leading publishers, enjoy additional author chats, and download digital galleys and other free resources.

Publisher’s Weekly: US Book Show
May 25-27, 2021 9:00am-4:00pm CDT
Registration required—librarian ticket $35

Attendees will enjoy a wide array of book and author panels; programming geared to publishing professionals; and exhibitor booths available on a sliding scale meant to attract displays from a range of vendors, from small presses to midsize imprints, university presses, sideline producers, distributors, library data providers and the largest publishers. Special programming for librarians will put forth thought-provoking discussions about the challenges and opportunities facing libraries now.

Indigenous Voices: Authentic Children’s Literature in the Classroom & Library
May 25-26, 2021 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm PDT
Free with registration by May 25th 

San Diego County Office of Education is hosting this two-day event featuring Debbie Reese, Traci Sorell, Anton Treuer, Arigon Starr, Dawn Quigley, Naomi Bishop, and Darcie Little Badger. The webinar is free and open to the public.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair
June 14-17, 2021
Combination of free and paid events with registration required.

Visit the BCBF page for events (with registration details) ranging from a Virtual Illustrators Wall, to Awards Ceremonies, Master Class sessions, and licensing events.

ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition
June 23-29, 2021
Registration required, fee based on membership category.

Join your community online at the leading library event of the year with more than 200 educational sessions, 250+ exhibitors, 25+ Featured Speakers, and more than 140 authors — and the best part you’ll have access to the conference content for a full year!

London Book Fair
June 7-10 and June 29-July 1
Registration opens soon.

This series of publishing and rights related events delivers quality content, exciting keynote speakers, future-gazing presentations, heated debate and unrivalled networking opportunities. Full conference programs will be posted soon.

American Booksellers Association The 2021 Children’s Institute
August 30-September 1, 2021
Registration opens June 15th

Attendees can expect all their favorite events from Children’s Institute, including keynotes, author appearances, education sessions, rep picks presentations, social events, and more, but with a twist only available to booksellers in a virtual world.

What events are you attending this summer? Drop us a note if there is another can’t miss event you’d love to share and we’ll help spread the word.

Butler Bookshelf

This week, the Butler Bookshelf is honoring Motherhood! With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we are excited to dive into Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos! This book is an ode to 21st century mamas everywhere, honoring their love, hard work, and dedication. It features fun rhymes, beautiful illustrations, and even some Spanish. For more titles celebrating motherhood, check out the list below!

My Brave Little Girl
Written by Hilary Duff and Illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Written by Theodore Henry and Illustrated by Hsulynn Pang
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Available now!

Written and Illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
Published by Candlewick Press
Available now!

Your Mama
Written by NoNieqa Ramos and Illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
Published by Versify
Available now!

Dreams for a Daughter
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Available now!

War, Promises, and Aspirations: A Review of Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna
Written by Alda P. Dobbs
Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers
Ages 8+
Available September 14, 2021

It is September 1913, and the Mexican Revolution is well underway. Mexico is in the thick of the war between the Federales (the cruel army of Mexican President Victoriano Huerta), and the Revolucionarios (army of the people, fighting for liberty). In the small village of Esperanzas, we find 12-year-old Petra Luna. Her lifelong dream is to go to school and learn to read, but she must put it on hold to take on the responsibility of caring for her grandmother, younger sister, and baby brother. With her mother’s passing and her father forced to join the Federales, Petra made a promise to provide for her family and keep them safe. She struggles to keep this promise when the Federales attack Esperanzas and Petra and her family must flee with only the clothes on their backs. They trek the desert barefoot, finding temporary safe havens only to have to leave when danger arises. Petra must fight every minute of the day to protect her family, but she is determined to get them to America and away from the war. Will she be able to cross the Mexican-American border, keep her promise, and bring her dreams to fruition?

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna is a story of bravery, courage, truth, and generosity in the face of adversity; not shying away from tough subjects like death, murder, famine, and people with cruel hearts and minds. Narrated by a mature 12-year-old voice, Petra’s journey illustrates that sometimes in life you will have to deal with harsh realities, but you can find direction and peace by connecting with your roots. Readers will know the power of independence, believing in themselves, and staying true to who they are. Inspired by the experiences of Alda Dobbs’ great grandmother, it serves as a cultural history lesson. Dobbs uses Spanish words throughout the book to show Petra’s culture and teach non-native speakers a little bit of the Spanish language. Dobbs shares the details of her great grandmother’s story in the author’s note and also includes a timeline of real-life events that took place during the Mexican Revolution. Barefoot Dreams is an important read for children not only to learn a significant part of Mexican history but also to learn the strength of being loyal to family, being unselfish, and keeping promises.

Butler Bookshelf

This week, the Butler Bookshelf features We Are a Garden by Lisa Westberg Peters and Victoria Tentler-Krylov. We are eager to dive into this nonfiction picture book about how America became the diverse country it is today. It tells the history of how different races and ethic groups found their way to America. Featuring the stories of the Apache and Navajo ancestors, enslaved Africans, and the Chinese among others, this is a timely book that all children need to read! Check out the list below for more fantastic titles!

365 Days to Alaska
Written by Cathy Carr
Published by Amulet Books
Available now!

Homer on the Case
Written and Illustrated by Henry Cole
Published by Peachtree Publishing
Available now!

Good Girl, Bad Blood
Written by Holly Jackson
Published by Delacorte Press
Available now!

Two Can Keep a Secret (paperback)
Written by Karen M. McManus
Published by Ember
Available now!

We are a Garden: A Story of How Diversity Took Root in America
Written by Lisa Westberg Peters and Illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov
Published by Schwartz & Wade Books
Available now!

Honey for You, Honey for Me: A First Book of Nursery Rhymes
Written by Michael Rosen and Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Published by Candlewick Press
Available now!

Bird Biology: A Review of A Peek at Beaks

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use
Written by Sara Levine and illustrated by Kate Slater
Published by Lerner Publishing Group, Millbrook Press
Ages 5-9
Available September 7, 2021

Have you ever seen a bird slurping down a drink with a straw? Or wielding a pair of tongs? What about manipulating an air conditioner to cool itself?  Author Sara Levine poses these questions in a new nonfiction book about biodiversity in the bird world, A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use. Levine uses the idea of tools as a concept for understanding how and why different birds beaks are used for specific purposes. Levine adopts a question-and-answer style approach to engage readers. This tactic, coupled with textured and intricate imagery from illustrator Kate Slater, invites readers to stretch their imagination and consider the purpose of how animals are shaped. For each question Levine poses, Slater complements it with an illustration of a bird’s silhouette with a tool for its beak. The images look downright silly—a bird with a large net, (or even a fan!) in place of its beak. The author invites readers to consider what type of bird would need such a tool before turning the page to reveal the answer. In the case of the large net, that bird is a pelican (and also a purple martin, nighthawk, swift, and a swallow). Slater’s vibrant collage illustrations are integral to visually understanding each bird. Levine’s descriptions, roughly a paragraph per bird, are filled with delightful facts and enough details so that an elementary child can understand the explanation behind biodiversity within the bird world. The back matter of the book gives a longer explanation of evolution and includes a simple hereditary bird chart. A resource on further reading includes selections for bird watching and evolution, are among other topics. This is a fun introduction to elementary school biology

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf you will find My Day with the Panye by Tami Charles. Set in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, this book tells the story of a young girl named Fallon. Her dream is to carry a panye (large woven basket) to the market just like her mother and all the other women in her community. However, when she gets the chance to, she realizes that it is harder than it looks. Follow Fallon on her journey to the market and back, learning about the tradition of the panye and what it means to the Haitian culture.

My Day with the Panye
Written by Tami Charles and Illustrated by Sara Palacios
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Secret of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist
Written by Evan Griffith and Illustrated by Joanie Stone
Published by Clarion Books
Available now!

Kisses and Croissants
Written by Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau
Published by Delacorte Press
Available now!

A Pho Love Story
Written by Loan Le
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available now!

A Lamb Called Lucky (Jasmine Green Rescues)
Written by Helen Peters and Illustrated by Ellie Snowdon
Published by Walker Books US
Available now!

Stanley Jr. Gardening is Awesome!: Projects, Advice, and Insight for Young Gardeners
Written by Chris Peterson
Published by Cool Springs Press
Available now!

A Mini Mindfulness Lesson: A Review of Too Many Bubbles

Too Many Bubbles: A Story about Mindfulness
Christine Peck and Mags DeRoma,
Illustrated by Mags DeRoma
July 6, 2021
Ages 3-6

Chased through her day by one grumpy and persistent thought, Izzy isn’t bothered by it (too much). But when one grouchy thought becomes two and three and a whole cloud of the shadowy things; something must be done. This clever mouse escapes to her happy place at the beach where a polar bear with a bubble wand inspires an idea—just blow the thoughts away. A deceptively simple and strikingly perceptive illustration of how it feels for nagging and uncomfortable thoughts to take over, and one calming way to break free. Vividly colored digital illustrations and interactive text, reminiscent of Hervé Tullet’s Press Here, engage young listeners and caregivers alike in a breathing exercise that leads directly into back matter definitions of mindfulness and additional exercises. Too Many Bubbles is the first title in the Books of Great Character SEL series by Peck and DeRoma, founders of the Silly Street games and toys. A sweet and valuable addition to social emotional learning tools for the preschool to kindergarten years.

Butler Bookshelf

This week the Butler Bookshelf has so many fabulous and interesting reads that it’s hard to choose just one! We are ready to get our hearts broken with the collapse of Cleo and Layla’s friendship (When You Were Everything), but also to learn how to navigate life’s challenges with optimism and hope (The End is Just the Beginning). We want to know how Zee and her tree grow together (Zee Grows a Tree), and if the world really does end this month (The World Ends in April). The only way to find out is to check out the fantastic titles below!

The End is Just the Beginning
Written by Mike Bender and Illustrated by Diana Mayo
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Available April 20, 2021

War and Millie McGonigle
Written by Karen Cushman
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Be Dazzled
Written by Ryan La Sala
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Available now!

The World Ends in April
Written by Stacy McAnulty
Published by Yearling
Available now!

Zee Grows a Tree
Written by Elizabeth Rusch and Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Published by Candlewick Press
Available now!

When You Were Everything
Written by Ashley Woodfolk
Published by Ember
Available now!

Earth Day Reading List

Earth day is April 22nd, and it is more important now than it has ever been! What better way to celebrate than by giving students the chance to read about it with the fantastic titles below? Students will learn about nature, climate change, and steps they can take to help save our planet. Some books even feature true stories of young activists already making a difference! Check out the list below and inspire kids to get involved.


Peppa Pig and the Earth Day Adventure
Candlewick Press
March 9, 2021
Ages 2-5

Come along with every kid’s favorite pig on her Earth Day Adventure! Peppa spends the day with her family. First sorting the recycling and collecting the compost. Then going to the Botanical Gardens, learning about bees, plants, and wildflowers. Finally, Peppa ends her day playing in the squishy playground that only rain and dirt and can make. Candlewick Press has created a fun picture book about the beauty of nature while also adding in things small children can do to help our planet.

Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up
Sean Taylor and Alex Morss
Illustrated by Cinyee Chiu
Words & Pictures
March 16, 2021
Ages 3-6

Busy Spring follows a father and his two children through their backyard as the season of spring blooms before their eyes. On this journey, the family learns the many different signs of spring—puddles from the rain, birds collecting twigs for nests, caterpillars eating leaves. This book explores the beauty of spring and the science behind it. It’s lively and luminous illustrations show how bright and busy nature can be. For further learning, there are annotated illustrations that describe the behaviors of plants and animals during the spring season.


The Story of Climate Change: A first book about how we can help save our planet
Catherine Barr and Steve Williams
Illustrated by Amy Husband and Mike Love
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
March 2, 2021
Ages 5-8

The Story of Climate Change follows the history of Earth’s climate, from its beginnings over 4 billion years ago to the present. It teaches about the effects of global warming, the causes of climate change, and how climate change affects humans and animals around the world. After learning the facts, children will discover practical ways to help solve the problem. Barr and Williams have created an excellent introduction to climate change that will help young minds understand the importance of taking care of our planet. Pages filled with colorful illustrations from top to bottom are sure to entertain this age group and keep them engaged with the content. There’s even a glossary of useful words to increase readers’ understanding.

Middle Grade

Old Enough to Save the Planet
Loll Kirby
Illustrated by Adelina Lirius
Abrams Kids
February 9, 2021
Ages 8-12

Old Enough to Save the Planet is a nonfiction picture book that tells the stories of 12 young activists from around the world. Readers will learn how these activists are making a difference in their communities as well as the challenges they have faced along the way. There is a brilliant spread dedicated to each activist. They include vibrant illustrations, with rich and dark colors, that fill the pages from top to bottom with small paragraphs explaining what each activist did and why it was so important. At the end of the book, readers can find tips on how to get involved in environmental activism.

Our World Out of Balance: Understanding Climate Change and What We Can Do
Andrea Minoglio
Illustrated by Laura Fanelli
Blue Dot Kids Press
April 13, 2021
Ages 8-12

This information packed, nonfiction guide to climate change will help readers understand the state of our environment today. It explains the role humans have played in the climate crisis while also providing solutions to the problem. It features segments on air pollution, rising seas, plastics and increased waste, and wildfires. Each includes a before-and-after section that explains what happened prior to climate change and what is happening now. The colorful illustrations that fill the pages keep the reader engaged with the content, showing the different environmental problems we are facing. To further inspire readers, the back matter has a list of citizen science organizations that kids can join to make a difference.

Young Adult

How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other
Naomi Klein and Rebecca Stefoff
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
February 23, 2021
Ages 10+

How to Change Everything is a nonfiction read that shows the state of the climate today and how it became this way. The authors don’t shy away from the seriousness of climate change, including how humanity has damaged our planet through the use of fossil fuels, and how there’s a need for a Green New Deal. They also feature inspiring stories of how young leaders from around the world are tackling climate change and fighting for climate justice. In this condensed version of her adult title, Klein empowers young people to get involved by presenting clear and captivating facts, while also giving them the tools they need to help save our world.


Blue Dot Kids Press is offering some fun activities kids can do–even from home! To get kids involved and making a difference, check out the links below. 

Chirp, twirl, cheep…and then make a bird feeder with simple materials!

Love trees? Become a citizen scientist and join our Plant a Tree initiative.

Learn how to draw a whale.

Get creative outside with our simple nature-based art activity.

Butler Bookshelf

It’s National Library Week! So, of course we are celebrating, featuring books that show the power of reading, education, and telling stories. This week, the Butler Bookshelf is shinning a spotlight on The Little Library by Margaret McNamara. Part of the Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom Series, it tells the story of Jake, a slow and careful reader. Unlike his classmates, Jake never found excitement going to the library. However, the school librarian changes that by giving him a book that he is actually interested in reading–Woodworking for Young Hands. Using what he learned from the book, Jake builds something for the librarian–a thank you for showing him books can be interesting. Check out the list below for more fantastic reads!

You Have to Read This Book!
Written and Illustrated by Bruce Eric Kaplan
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Book’s Big Adventure
Written by Adam Lehrhaupt and Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books 
Available now!

The Little Library (Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom Series)
Written by Margaret McNamara and Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Published by Schwartz & Wade
Available now!

The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book: A Greenglass House Story
Written by Kate Milford
Published by Clarion Books
Available now!

Malala Yousafzai (Little People, Big Dreams)
Written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Illustrated by Manal Mirza
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Get a Clue (Bookish Boyfriends)
Written by Tiffany Schmidt
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Available now!