Flashback Friday: Recognizing Diverse Children’s Literature of the Past Few Years

The shelves in the Butler Children’s Literature Center are quickly filling up with our 2019 collection, and there are many wonderful stories ready to be read. With all our new books finding their home on our shelves, we wanted to take the time to recognize some noteworthy tales from the recent past. Today, we are throwing it back a few years to 2017 to highlight three books that tell great multicultural stories. All three, which have been featured on Booklist’s Top 10 Diverse Picture Books from 2017, feature diverse characters and cultural themes, empowering children to learn more about other cultures and to be proud of their own.

estabanEsteban De Luna, Baby Rescuer! Or Esteban de Luna, ¡Rescatador de Bebẻs!
By Larissa M. Mercado-López
Illustrated by Alex Pardo DeLange
Piñata Books, 2017

Dreaming of being a superhero, Esteban, a young Latino boy, wears his favorite green cape every day. There’s only one problem—his cape can’t do anything! Since Esteban’s cape does not give him any superpowers, he wants to give up both his cape and his dream. Until one day, when Esteban finds a lost baby doll in the park! Just as it’s begins to rain, Esteban scoops up the doll in his cape, protecting her from the storm. Esteban realizes that he does not need a power to be a hero, he is one all on his own!

Written in Spanish, with English translations on each page, Mercado-López tells an adorable story of bravery and confidence. Esteban’s character allows all children, particularly Latino kids like him, to feel like they can save the day and be a hero too!

 

nina simone

Nina: Jazz Legend and Civil Rights Activist Nina Simone
Written by Alice Briẻre-Haquet
Illustrated by Bruno Liance
Charlesbridge, 2017

Narrated by jazz musician and activist Nina Simone herself, this book tells the story of Simone’s childhood, her love of music, and her work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nina Simone dreams of a world where people of all races can dance together, like the notes made by the black and white keys on a piano come together to make beautiful music. She talks about how her dream and Dr. King’s dream have to be taken care of and how we must accept one another.

Beautifully written and accompanied by stunning black and white illustrations, Briẻre-Haquet teaches young readers about the incredible Nina Simone’s work at the piano and in the civil rights movement. This book teaches children about the past and helps them be accepting enough to create a kinder future.

 

halmoniWhere’s Halmoni?
Written and illustrated by Julie Kim
Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch, 2017

Siblings Noona and Joon cannot seem to find their Halmoni, or grandmother, anywhere! When searching for her, they find a door to a mysterious world. Their search takes them on an incredible journey where they encounter hungry rabbits, clever trolls, a wily fox, and a cheating tiger (oh my!). Through teamwork, and a little help from their new friends, Noona and Joon are able to outsmart the tricky tiger and return home safe and sound to find Halmoni waiting for them.

Kim calls on her Korean culture in her debut book, using characters from Korean folk tales to inspire the group of magical friends Noona and Joon meet on their journey. Through these tales and the use of many Korean phrases that children can learn how to write and say in the tutorial provided at the end, young readers can learn more about a new culture or see their own cultural tales told with a new twist.

All three of these books are great examples of diverse children’s literature. They teach about different cultures and about history while representing and empowering children from different cultural backgrounds. They, and many more multicultural stories, will always have a place in our hearts and on our shelves.

 

Today’s guest poster is Abby Sauer, a senior in Dominican University’s Communication Studies program. Abby utilized the BCLC collections and resources for her Capstone project on diversity in picture books. Keep an eye out for the rest of her series of Butler’s Pantry posts on the topic. Thanks, Abby!

Butler Youth Services Scholarship

book shelves Pexels

Are you interested in becoming part of a diverse and engaged youth-services-focused library community?

This $15,000 scholarship will be awarded
to a student seeking to earn an MLIS with a planned focus on
service to children and young adults.

The Butler Children’s Literature Center is proud to announce the creation of a new scholarship to support diversity in library service to young people.

Preference for the Butler Youth Services Scholarship will be given to graduates of a Dominican University undergraduate program who are from a background underrepresented in the field of library science. This competitive award will consider need, merit, academic excellence, and leadership qualities as part of the applicant selection process.

Butler Scholars Will:

  • complete the master’s degree in library and information science from Dominican University’s SOIS program within two calendar years of continuing enrollment
  • work closely with academic advisors on course selections with the goal of completing a Certificate in Youth Services or school library licensure as part of their degree
  • participate in a variety of Butler Center activities including the annual Butler Lecture, Book Sale, and continuing education events
  • produce a relevant project or complete an independent study using BCLC resources to be presented at a BCLC event and/or a state or national professional conference

For full eligibility and application requirements visit
dom.edu/butler-youth-services-scholarship
or
Contact Jen Clemons, Curator, Butler Children’s Literature Center
jclemons@dom.edu | 708-524-6861

Digital Love: A Review of No One Here Is Lonely

download

No One Here Is Lonely
By Sarah Everett
Knopf Books
February 5, 2019
Grades: 9 and up

No One Here Is Lonely follows high-school senior Eden as she navigates grief, loss, and change. Eden’s best friend Lacey has abandoned her for new friends. Eden’s family dynamics are shifting as well: she discovers that her mom has been cheating on her dad, and this changes her perspective on her parents and on love. In the midst of all this change, Eden takes comfort in speaking to a computer-simulated version of her crush, Will, who died earlier in the school year. She starts a new job at the grocery store, where she makes new friends and becomes closer with Oliver, Lacey’s twin brother. Ultimately, Eden decides that must let go of Will, that she can date Oliver, and, most importantly, that she can make decisions for herself. The story is told from Eden’s perspective, which allows the reader to feel sympathy for her as she processes her feelings of angst and uncertainty. These feelings might resonate with a teenage audience, especially readers who are facing the transition from high school to college and, like Eden, are unsure about what the future holds. When asked about her future plans, Eden is relieved to know that “it’s okay to be lost, that’s okay to not have [her] life plotted out, not to know what [she] love[s] or want[s]. It’s enough to simply be on the way to figuring it out” (209). As the book progresses, Eden develops the confidence to embrace this instability. Despite the book having romantic undertones, it is really about Eden’s self-discovery.

Finding Balance: Self-care for You and Your Team

As librarians and teachers serving youth, it’s in our jobs and in our natures to care for the kids in our communities. But how do we do that without burn-out and compassion fatigue? How do we stay at our best to give our best?

Join Regina Townsend, from the Forest Park Public Library, to discuss self-care strategies for individuals and organizations and ways you can create a culture of mental health in your library.

When: Saturday May 11, 2019 from 1pm-3pm

Where: Butler Children’s Literature Center–Dominican University–Crown 214

RSVP to butler@dom.edu to reserve your seat

 

 

A New Bird Joins the Nest–Kokila, the new Imprint from Penguin

Kokila Imprint Logo

Penguin has announced a new Imprint, Kokila which aims to bring together authors, illustrators, publishing professionals, and readers, from inclusive communities to share and celebrate stories that reflect the richness of the world. Kokila is the Sanskrit name for the koel bird, often found in the Indian subcontinent, China, and Southeast Asia. The koel bird is said to be the harbringer of new beginnings; just as Kokila is a new beginning for readers, creators, and publishers alike.

Namratha Tripathi, vice president and Publisher of Kokila, writes that, “[Kokila] was born out of the optimism and frustration I felt about the conversations around diversity and representation in children’s literature, My hope was to create an imprint where we could holistically address the three major ways in which we talk about diversity in our field 1) on the page, 2) in the creators, and 3) in the gatekeepers and staff”.

Kokila will publish works for children and young adults in a variety of formats an genres. Some of the books set to be released from Kokila includes Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison, My Papi has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña, Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya, among many other books.

A Burning Sky of Pain–A Review of The Weight of our Sky

the weight of our sky

The Weight of Our Sky
By Hanna Alkaf
Simon & Schuster
February 5, 2019
Grades:  9 and up

Melati Ahmad is a sixteen-year-old Malaysian girl of Malay descent who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)—however, Melati believes that her OCD is actually the work of a djinn. Since the death of her father, Melati’s greatest fear has been the death of her mother. She counts by threes—her compulsive behavior—to appease the djinn and save her mother, along with everyone else she loves, from dying. On May 13, 1969, Melati is thrown into a world of chaos when the race riots between the Chinese and Malays begin. While at the movies with her best friend Saf, men with weapons break into the theater. Although Melati is saved by a Chinese-Malaysian stranger, she is forced to leave Saf behind if she wants to survive. Overcome with guilt, Mel teams up with Auntie Bee’s son Vince to try and find her mother who see she has not seen since the beginning of the riots. Melati is forced to confront her djinn and find her inner strength in order to stand up for what she believes in, find her mother, and protect the people she loves.

Alkaf is unafraid to make a book that is completely and utterly of her homeland. Alkaf’s note at the beginning of the book is spot on, letting readers know of the many possible triggers within the book and lets readers know that it is okay if they are not ready to read the book at this time. This is a powerful and brutally honest book that provides a very real look at what OCD looks like in a high-stress situation, which help builds the tension within the book.  It is thoughtfully and beautifully written, vividly capturing a time of terror from the eyes of a teenaged girl who just wants her mother.

Headed to IYSI?

Will you be at the Illinois Youth Services Institute next week?
We will – lets chat!

IYSS_Logo

You can find the Butler Center at Booth #3 in Redbird CD during the following exhibit hours:

Sponsor Exhibit Hours
Thursday, March 21
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.                Sponsor Exhibit Reception
Friday, March 22
8:00 – 10:00 a.m.              Sponsor Exhibits Coffee
10:00 – 12:30 p.m.            Concurrent Sponsor Exhibits

Stop by for a chat and a chance to win a signed book from an Illinois author!  

Haven’t registered for IYSI yet? Find out more at ILA

CommUnity Building
Illinois Youth Services Institute
March 21-22, 2019
Marriott Bloomington-Normal Hotel & Conference Center