Apples and Ectoplasm: A Review of The Right One for Roderic

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The Right One for Roderic
By Violeta Noy
July 9, 2019
Pre-K to 2nd Grade

Roderic is the smallest ghost in his family and longs to stand out. He often feels like his family doesn’t notice him, which makes him feel smaller than he already is. Everyone in Roderic’s family wears white sheets which makes them all look the same.  Reflecting on what he can do to make himself more noticeable to the other members of his family, Roderic decides to change how he looks. He tries wearing hats, scarves, and even taking off his white sheet and changing his wardrobe entirely, but his family does not approve of his fashion choices. Thinking that people in the city will appreciate his fashion sense, Roderic leaves to the city only to find that they don’t notice him either. When he returns home his family is relieved to see him and cover him in a white sheet. Not wanting to settle, Roderic finally finds the perfect outfit—a white sheet with apples on it. Roderic announces to his family that he does not care if his family wants to wear white sheets, he is going to be different. Roderic is not only accepted by his family, but his family follows his lead and starts to experiment with their fashion too.

The digital illustrations are simple and the use of color helps to highlight the loneliness that Roderic feels in the beginning of the story, and later the acceptance he feels at the end of the story. While the message itself is nothing new, the book is quite touching, once again reminding  readers that is okay to be yourself.

Butler Youth Services Scholarship

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

Are you starting your MLIS at Dominican this fall?

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YES — then the Butler Center is looking for you!

Applications are being accepted for the 2019 Butler Youth Services Scholarship until July 24th. Visit our website for requirements and application details.

 

 

At Last I See the Light: A Review of This Was Our Pact

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This Was Our Pact
Ryan Andrews
First Second
June 11, 2019
Grades 6 and up

In Ryan Andrews’s graphic novel, This Was Our Pact, the agreement Ben and his friends made was simple “No one turns for home”(1) and “No one looks back”(2) to follow the lanterns of the night of the Equinox Festival. Despite the arrangement, only Ben stayed along with the outcast Nathaniel as they traveled by following the river. Along the way, they meet a talking bear tasked with bringing back the fish for the feast. After the boys got lost they go on a side quest to obtain a star for the renowned chemist, Madam Majestic. Ben and Nathaniel discover more than they could ever dream on their journey. For now, Andrews leaves it up to his readers to decide where Ben and Nathaniel will wander to next. This graphic novel was illustrated in pen with a watercolor backdrop and layered using Photoshop. Andrews uses shades of blue, red, and yellow to create the whimsical magical realism environment, which brings the story to life and adds to the mood. These illustrations have an enchanting wondrous, effect with an unsettling undertone of creatures and monsters lurking in the pages. It is a relatively fast-paced book, but there is enough development to see the friendship between Nathaniel and Ben grow. Each of their personalities felt well-distinguished, helping the characters come to life and more natural to emphasize with them. This book is a phenomenal addition to any middle-grade collection, exploring themes of friendship all within an astonishing adventure.

ALA Recap–2019 edition

Flipping through the pictures from my weekend in DC for ALA Annual might lead one to think I’d spent all my time watching PowerPoint presentations. I won’t bore you with those pics–snooze! I’d prefer to think I was so present in all the book-ish excitement that I couldn’t be bothered with documentation.

That said, I did snap a few shots of the highlights…

opening session 1This year’s Opening General Session with Jason Reynolds was an awesome example of his ability to take a reader (or listener) down a series of winding paths (or several at once), then surprise you with the way they all converge. His multi-part speech led to a challenge to librarians: To create a generation of “walking, talking libraries” full of the stories and information they and others need. To be the architect that builds a “building that services the world.”

Watch out for his next twisty tale, Look Both Ways (Atheneum, October 8, 2019).

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards and ALA spent the weekend celebrating! From the anniversary gala to the awards breakfast, to panel discussions, podcasts, and programming ideas–CSK was everywhere. I was so lucky to participate in several of the sessions, hear from many of the celebrated authors and illustrators, and chat with the dedicated people that helped pull it all together. Stop by the Butler Center for a peek at The Coretta Scott King Book Awards: 50th Anniversary edited by Carole J. McCollough and Adelaide Poniatowski Phelps (American Library Association, 2019).

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ALA Exhibit Floor

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fangirl at meeting a few authors in DC, but not quite enough to ask for selfies. You’ll have to take my word for it that I talked to Christopher Myers about Effie Lee Morris and the Butler Center collection. To Don Brown (The Unwanted, HMH) about Brooklyn vs Chicago real estate prices. And Ngozi Ukazu (Check, Please! Book 1: # Hockey, First Second) about how she never has a business card with her when she needs it.

 

It has taken a week to get my books unpacked and my thoughts together on a whirlwind weekend in DC, but it was a wonderful and rewarding trip. Now on to summer vacations with some of those lovely ARC’s!

 

Roses Have Thorns: A Review of Girl’s With Sharp Sticks

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Girl’s With Sharp Sticks
By Suzanne Young
Simon Pulse
March 19, 2019
Grades 9 and up

Welcome, investors, to Innovations Academy. Here girls are created and controlled to be perfect. Although there are problems with Philomena Rhodes. She has been acting up despite her impulse behavior therapy. Philomena has recently become distraught because her friend, Lennon Rose, has gone missing. Lennon Rose had been reading poems that encouraged ideas. She began to question the school’s teachings, and it started affecting the other girls: Sydney, Annalise, Brynn, and Marcella. No longer willing to be brainwashed by the men, they escape the dreaded school with the help of their new friends, Jackson and Quentin. Now, they’re on they are on their way to uncover the mysteries at Innovations Corporation. This dystopian nightmare of a novel is the first book in Suzanne Young’s Girls with Sharp Sticks series. Young takes her time to show the disturbing world that these girls live in. The men in the novel are possessive, dominating, and obsessed with the girls. Controlling what they wear, eat, and learn. Women’s rights are being taken away, and the girls discover that what these teachers, administrators, and investors are doing is wrong. The tone is creepy and unnerving. However, the book is empowering, especially in terms of sisterhood. Young writes, “They manipulate us with lollipops and guilt…and now, we can choose to be better than these men. We choose to love each other. We choose to be free” (278/353). The girls have a strong connection that is constant throughout the book. It’s not one girl fighting to escape; it’s all of these girls who  have formed a bond. A good addition to any library because it deals with fundamental human rights and why we need them.

Pride Month Book List!

June is Pride Month! The LGBTQIA+ experience is vast, no one book can define what the experience is like for any one person. With the political climate pushing for policies that would deny those who fall within the LGBTQIA+ umbrella rights, it can be comforting to read books that extol the LGBTQIA+ experience. To celebrate Pride, we would like to share with you some of our favorite LGBTQIA+ books that have come out so far this year. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the LGBTQIA+ books that have come out this year, but it is a start for those who wish to read more books with LGBTQIA+ protagonists.

Happy reading everyone!

61auCUPW94L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_It Feels Good to be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity
Theresa Thorn
Illustrated by Noah Grigni
Henry Holt and Company, June 4 2019
Ages Pre K-8

Ruthie is a Trans girl; when she was born people thought that she was a boy but she is actually a girl. When Ruthie was five years old, she corrected her family, telling them that she was a girl and not a boy like they thought. Ruthie has a gender fluid friend named Alex, and a non-binary friend named JJ. Ruthie’s brother Xavier is cisgender. Even though they all have different gender identities they are all still valid. The book is thoughtfully written and educates children and adults alike about various gender identities and what they mean. The book also includes resources at the end of the book for both children and parents to learn more about gender identity. The illustrations are colorful and beautifully complement the topic of the book. The book is illustrated by Noah Grigni who themselves is non-binary.

810WSYBncdLStonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution.
Rob Sanders
Illustrated by Jamey Christoph
Random House, April 23, 2019
Ages Pre K-10

The Stonewall Inn has changed over the course of the 20th and 21st century. In the 1960’s, the Stonewall Inn began to attract the LGBTQIA+ community. As the inn began to attract more and more LGBTQIA+ people, police officers began to raid the building and arrest people for being LGBTQIA+. On June 28, 1969, police once again raided the inn and began arresting people; only this time the people resisted beginning the Stonewall Uprising. Following the events of the Stonewall Uprising, each June people around the world celebrate LGBTQIA+ rights. Written from the perspective of the Stonewall Inn rather than those who participated in the Uprising, this book does a great job of simply explaining the events that led to the Stonewall Uprising. The illustrations are gorgeous and make the book come to life. Resources at the back of the book provide a more in depth history of the Stonewall Inn and the Stonewall Uprising, as well as books and websites to learn more.

911GEL0JZ1LBloom
Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau
Illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau
First Second, January 29, 2019
Ages 12 and up

Ari wants to move away to the city with his friends and bandmates, but is stuck at home working at his family’s bakery. Looking to find someone to take his place at the bakery, Ari meets Hector who is studying to be a baker. As Ari tries to find himself and move away, he realizes that Hector may be one good reason to stay. A sweet, slow-paced, graphic novel about falling in love and finding oneself. The illustrations are entirely in shades of blue, creating a calming atmosphere for the story. The end of the book included a recipe on how to make the Kyrkos Family Bakery’s Famous Sourdough Rolls, (which looks delicious).

51lH-OCV+oL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Weight of the Stars
K. Ancrum
Macmillian, March 19, 2019
Ages 13 and up

Since the death of her parents, Ryann has become the sole provider for her brother James and his son Charlie. With the weight of the responsibilities she now has, Ryann is forced to give up her dreams of going to space. When Ryann meets and befriends the Uninaut’s daughter Alexandria, her dreams of space re-awaken. As the two girls spend more time together, they begin to develop feelings for one another, which makes Ryann wonder, is going to space worth leaving Alexandria and her family behind? A poignant and nuanced book, it explores what it means to take care of others, and what it means to pursue your dreams knowing that those dreams may make it so that you can never see your loved ones again.

31681158._UY762_SS762_Starworld
Amy Coulthurst and Paula Garner
Candlewick Press, April 16, 2019
Ages 13 and up

Sam Jones is loves to draw, and dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer. Sam is nerdy and only has one friend, until the day Zoe Miller walks into her life. Sam and Zoe begin to text each other regularly about the world they created together—Starworld—where they can escape the problems that they face in their lives. As Starworld expands, so too do Sam’s feelings for Zoe. The only problem is that Zoe has a boyfriend. Written in the perspectives of both Zoe and Sam, this book shows that people’s lives are not always what we assume them to be and that the problems we face can be lessened with support.

 

41Lq87sSB7L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_Carmilla: The Novel
Adapted by Kim Turrisi
KCP Loft, May 7, 2019
Ages 13 and up

Laura has just begun her freshman year at Silas University when her roommate Betty goes missing. When Laura goes looking for answers, she is met with hostility by the dean of the university. It seems as though no one will take this seriously. To make matters worse, her new roommate, Carmilla seems to be actively antagonizing Laura. Despite this, Laura finds herself inexplicably attracted to Carmilla. Could it be because Carmilla is a vampire? Could Carmilla be behind Betty’s disappearance? Based on the web series of the same name, Carmilla is a fun, fast-paced, vampire story.  While making references to other well-known vampire novels, this one still feels original and fresh.

41473872I Wish You All the Best
Mason Deaver
Scholastic, May 28, 2019
Ages 13 and up

Ben recently came out to their parents as non-binary and was kicked out of their house. Desperate, Ben calls their estranged sister Hannah for help. After moving in with Hannah and getting enrolled at North Wake high school, Ben meets Nathan. Nathan is beautiful, funny, and kind, and becomes one of Ben’s closest friends. Scared of being rejected by Nathan, Ben decides not to tell him that they are non-binary. Still dealing with the fallout of coming out to their parents, Ben begins to learn that not everyone will reject them due to their gender orientation. Written by Mason Deaver, who themselves is non-binary, this is a touching story about coming to terms with your gender identity.

Celebrating 50 Years of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards

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CSK9Experts say a lack of diversity in children’s books can be harmful to the social and identity development of children. Join the Butler Children’s Literature Center as we celebrate equity, diversity and inclusion during the observance of the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Visit the Butler Center to explore the Effie Lee Morris Collection of African American children’s books, including more than 40 CSK winners and honor books.

For more information about the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, including award winners, anniversary celebrations, and ways to get involved with the CSK Committee visit http://www.ala.org/rt/emiert/cskbookawards.

Photos from Own Voices: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award during the exhibition at the 2019 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.