We’ve been accepted to the Explorer Academy!

nebula secret coverI was fortunate to spend my Wednesday afternoon with a lovely group of fellow book-lovers; professors, lit experts, book-sellers, and publishing industry insiders (oh, my!) at the lunch and launch of the new National Geographic Kids series Explorer Academy. The series will include seven fact-based fiction adventures for middle-grade readers that are inspired by the real scientists and explorers at the National Geographic Society. The first title in the series, The Nebula Secret, follows 12-year old Cruz Coronado and his fellow students as they travel the globe to become the next generation of explorers and possibly solve the mysterious death of Cruz’s mother. The blend of adventure, STEM topics, and world cultures is sure to appeal to a wide audience.

exp acceptance 2

trueitTrudi Trueit, the series author, is a weather forecaster turned writer that couldn’t help sharing her love for science with young readers. In our brief conversation, she proved to be a passionate advocate for readers, libraries, and scientists! She has tapped the knowledge of National Geographic Explorers (they are like the rock stars of the National Geographic Society) for the series to bring their real life discoveries, research, and innovations into the action-packed plots. Nizar Ibrahim, paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer, joined us to share his experiences with the NGS and a top-secret (sorry!) hint at some new discoveries.

Stop by the BCLC to check out the ARC in our signed books collection (as soon as I finish reading it) and keep your eye out for publication this fall by Under the Stars, the new fiction imprint of National Geographic.

Summer Open Hours

The Butler Children’s Literature Center will be open

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12-4 p.m.

during the Summer semester.

open access summer owl

Or email us to make an appointment at butler@dom.edu.

A Chat with Chitra Soundar

Last night the Butler Children’s Literature Center was thrilled to host Indian born British author, Chitra Soundar, for a discussion about diversity in publishing, the writing process, and sharing stories with young people.

Soundar with books 1

In a presentation titled Diverse Yet Unique: Confessions of a Global Author, Chitra shared her background in publishing and the differences she has encountered with publishers in India, the United Kingdom, and the US markets; her efforts to promote diversity in the children’s book publishing; her writing process and how she builds and researchers her stories; and how she goes about developing connections with readers, other writers, and publishers alike. It was interesting, yet disheartening, to learn that the UK publishing industry struggles with diversity issues even more than we do here. But as we are seeing in the US, the UK is also experiencing a growing number of authors, librarians, and supporters lending their voices (and social media feeds) to the movement toward more diversity in content and diversity in authors. Chitra recognized We Need Diverse Books and the inspiration the organization has provided to create a similar UK group to spark conversation and change.

After her presentation, Chitra kindly answered our numerous questions, filling in details about why she loves working with young people, who she follows for diverse book resources, and how she moves from her long, long, long list of ideas to a finished product like the newly published You’re Safe With Me (Lantana, 2018). She also gave us a sneak peek at future books in the series (keep your eyes peeled—they look and sound wonderful!).

Soundar groupThanks to all that attended for your curiosity and thoughtful questions. It is always lovely to spend an evening in conversation with those that love children’s books like we do!

Feel free to stop by the Butler Center to see the new additions to our signed books collection or find Chitra Soundar on your own at www.chitrasoundar.com

 

A Review of Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe

Neanderthal cover art

by Preston Norton (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)

Life at Happy Valley High School sucks — especially for Cliff Hubbard, a 6’6” 250 lb. outcast, nicknamed “Neanderthal.”

With an abusive and alcoholic father, a passive and over-worked mother, a cast of assorted high school bullies, and a dead brother, Cliff has a lot on his plate (along with his favorite chimichangas)! Add to the list one of his chief tormentors, HVHS golden boy Aaron Zimmerman, who recruits Cliff to help complete his coma-induced to-do-list from god.

Teenage stereotypes abound as Cliff and Aaron attempt to make HVSH a better place by taking on the bullies, drug-dealers, Jesus teens, disgruntled teachers, jocks, computer hackers, and mean girls that most high schoolers will recognize from their own experience. Some of these characters are better developed than others, making for a large and unbalanced ensemble that can detract from the unlikely, yet oddly believable and very funny friendship developing between Cliff and Aaron.

The two effect an unrealistic amount of change in a very short time and tie up their happy-ish ending a bit too neatly. Despite this, you won’t be able to help cheering for sweet, smart, struggling Cliff to begin coming to terms with his brother’s suicide, make friends, find love, and open the door to the universe.

A Review of Mabel and Sam at Home by Linda Urban

Mabel and Sam at Home: One Brave Journey in Three Adventures                                           

Mabal and Sam cover art

By Linda Urban, Illustrated by Hadley Hooper, Chronicle Books  (2018)

It’s moving day for Mabel and Sam! How do two creative kids stay out of the way while the grown-ups work? Why a cardboard box and a vivid imagination, of course. In the grand tradition of bossy big sisters everywhere, Mabel leads little brother Sam on a brave adventure; part sea voyage, part museum tour, part space odyssey, and all fun.

The charming and funny text explores a new house as well as some of the anxieties that can come along with a move. Structured as three mini-chapters, each adventure gently delves into one of the possible causes of moving day jitters: the moving crew, finding your familiar things in a new place, and sleeping in a new bedroom. The printmaking techniques used in the illustrations, and the fluidity of the lines in Hooper’s drawings, create a soft and magical backdrop that complements the sweet relationship between the siblings and the emotion behind their adventure.

A fun and reassuring way to help kids process the emotions and uncertainty that can come with a move to a new house.

The Hoot: News from the Butler Children’s Literature Center, April 2018

Welcome to Spring!

Although it still feels like January, springtime is upon us and brave flowers are starting to emerge into the still chilly air (I sure hope my tulips survive). 3 owls


Butler Fun Fact

Did you know that the Butler Children’s Literature Center has already received 593 newly published or soon-to-be published titles in the first three months of 2018?

book shelves

Have you stopped by to see what’s new?


Butler Book Banter

 SCHEDULE CHANGE! We will postpone the April 25th B3 until May 2nd to include a special guest. Join us for an evening with children’s book author Chitra Soundar as we discuss Indian myths and legends, inclusivity in the publishing industry, and her love of cake.Chitra

As always, snacks (and maybe cake) at 5:30 p.m., with lively conversation to follow.

Please RSVP to this special Book Banter by dropping us a note at butler@dom.edu– Thanks!


Sixth Annual Butler Lecture

Last month we were honored to host Andrea Davis Pinkney for the sixth annual Butler Lecture. Her presentation of Behold the Road! The Writer’s Passage, The Reader’s Journey was a dynamic and inspiring look at diversity and inclusion as relate to children’s book creation and selection. Many thanks to all that joined in the evening!


Open Hours

The Butler Center welcomes teachers, librarians, booksellers, parents, grandparents, caregivers and anyone interested in literature for young people. We are open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 1-6 p.m., or by appointment with the curator; contact butler@dom.edu.

The Center is a non-lending library but our staff is here to assist you in locating books that address specific themes, age groups, or reading levels.

The Butler Center is located in the Rebecca Crown Library, room 214, on Dominican’s main campus at 7900 W. Division Street in River Forest, Illinois. Directions and a campus map are available here. The Butler Center is administered by Dominican’s School of Information Studies and is generously supported by the Butler Family Foundation. We hope you’ll want to visit us, or join us for an event, and stay tuned for our news and upcoming events. Please contact me with any questions you have. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Jen Clemons

Curator, Butler Children’s Literature Center
Dominican University SOIS
sois.dom.edu
butlerspantry.org
butler@dom.edu

A Review of Cycle City by Alison Farrell

cycle city cover art

Cycle City by Alison Farrell (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Bear on a bike—check! Turtles on a tandem—check, check! Pigs in a parade—you bet!

The Starlight Parade is tonight, but the invitations haven’t all been sent. Can Mayor Snail make it around Cycle City to find all the guests in time?

Fans of Where’s Waldo and the Richard Scarry Busytown books will be thrilled by this delightful ride through Cycle City street scenes in search of some special residents. The simple plot makes this sweet seek-and-find stand apart from the individual, and often unrelated, vignettes of others in the genre. Action-packed illustrations give plenty for kids to explore as well as a bit of humor for big kid readers in the shop names and conversation bubbles. Be sure to check out the “Hay There” food truck if you’re into Real Food for Herbivores!

While the illustrations may be too detailed for a storytime pick, this would be an excellent choice for a rainy-day couch cuddle. (Ages 3-5)