Welcome to the online presence of the Butler Children's Literature Center, housed in Dominican's SOIS and generously supported by the Butler Family Foundation. Here, we celebrate the best in books for youth and those who delight in sharing them. For Fall 2020, BCLC will offer collection access to the Dominican community by appointment only. Contact Jen Clemons at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements or you can still reach us at email@example.com.
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!
Grow Written by Theodore Henry and Illustrated by Hsulynn Pang Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Available now!
Mommy/Mami 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!
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.
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!
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
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!
Too Many Bubbles: A Story about Mindfulness Christine Peck and Mags DeRoma, Illustrated by Mags DeRoma Sourcebooks 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster Written by Rachelle Delaney Published by Penguin Random House Canada Ages 10-14 Available May 11, 2021
Twelve-year-old Alice Fleck likes to help her food historian father cook everything from pigeon pies to blancmange. It’s their favorite pastime, along with watching CulinaryChronicles, a sweet reality cooking show where contestants whip up historical goodies. They have a good time together, but it’s getting complicated ever since Hana came into the picture. Hana is her father Jim’s new girlfriend, and it’s not been an easy adjustment with all the changes to their routines, including the trio’s upcoming trip to a Victorian festival. The latest surprise is a doozy: Hana entered the father-daughter duo into Culinary Chronicles and they were accepted as contestants—and it’s taking place at the very Victorian festival they were going to attend! But Alice is in for a bigger surprise—the kindhearted Culinary Chronicles has been rebranded as Culinary Combat, featuring infamous judge Tom Truffleman and on a premium channel to boot. Alice will start middle school soon and doesn’t want to be splashed across her new classmates’ TV sets. If sharing her break with Hana and critical Tom Truffleman weren’t bad enough, it looks like there is a saboteur in the cooking contestants’ midst. Will Alice and her new friends crack the mystery, or will the saboteur ruin Alice’s cooking chances on national television? Rachelle Delaney’s delightful mystery tackles jealousy, parents’ dating, and middle school growing pains. Alice is a precocious tween who rarely realizes what she’s feeling until she’s in the thick of it, especially when it comes to Hana. The reader sees Alice’s initial skittishness around children her own age and watches her confidence grow as a friendship develops between with fellow middle schooler Octavia Spencer over their mutually unique interests (Octavia is into Victorian ghosts). Alice’s friendship with Octavia gives her an outlet to talk about Hana and the reality show performance pressures, both things that are hard for her to discuss with her father. Alice’s growing maturity also translates into a more open and comfortable relationship with Hana—one where they can even cook their own contemporary fare, like mochi ice cream. This lighthearted book primarily takes on evolving families with a secondary backgrounded mystery; the true star of the book is the changing dynamic between Alice, Hana, and Jim.