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.
Another Kind By Cait May and Trevor Bream HarperCollins/HarperAlley October 26, 2021 Ages 10+
This graphic novel centers on six not-quite-human kids who initially live in the safety of a secret government facility nicknamed the Playroom until a security breach disrupts their lives. They are forced to go on the run, fleeing from a mysterious being known as the Collector. While on the run, they meet other “irregularities” who live hidden from society. They realize, too late, that a sanctuary many irregularities have headed towards is a trap set by the Collector and come face to face with him. The group and their new allies must find a way to overcome the Collector’s leech-like powers. In the end, the group prevails, making a new home for themselves in a safe place they had been searching for all along.
Readers are sure to appreciate the diversity of the cast as characters come from different ethnic backgrounds and LGBTQ+ identities. Additionally, there is a great diversity in the types of cryptids depicted, with the main cast featuring a half-Yeti, a will o’ the wisp, a bear shifter (Nandi Bear), an alien (Reptilian), a selkie, and a sea monster. A varied cast of secondary characters includes other types of creatures which are sure to appeal to readers interested in the supernatural. The art highlights the diversity of the cast with the use of a broad range of colors. Various paneling and lighting styles efficiently show off action and shifting moods as certain parts of the story touch on darker themes. While the backstories of central characters include dark moments, yet they overcome past hardships by sticking together. The moments the young characters spend together feel authentic as they banter. The two older members of the group face the responsibility of caring for the rest, particularly the youngest, who is 6 years old. At times, she takes childish actions that jeopardize the group, yet those around her show her nothing but love and support as she struggles to fully understand why she must hide what makes her different from “normal” people. The primary messages of embracing one’s differences and the importance of found family are ones that every reader is sure to learn from.
Welcome to Butler Bookshelf’s mid-October spectre-cale! This week, we have collected a handful of spooky titles rife with ghosts and illusions. Ideal for elementary school readers, step into the world of The Nightmare Thief . Sisters Maren and Hallie work in their family’s dream shop. When Hallie gets into an accident that puts her in a coma, Maren breaks one of their most explicit rules: she slips Hallie a flying dream. A mysterious customer notices what Maren did, and blackmails her into creating nightmares. As the scheme gets more and more elaborate, Maren must make a choice: protect her town from the magic, or protect the magic itself. For more spectre-tacular titles, see the list below!
This Book Can Read Your Mind Written by Susannah Lloyd Illustrated by Jacob Grant Published by Francis Lincoln Children’s Books Available Now!
No Place for Monsters: School of Phantoms Written by Kory Merritt Published by Clarion Books Available Now!
William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Adapted by Georghia Ellinas Illustrated by Jane Ray Published by Candlewick Available Now!
Ferryman Written by Claire McFall Published by Walker Books US Available Now!
The Nightmare Thief Written by Nicole Lesperance Illustrated by Federica Fenna Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers Available Now!
Curse of the Divine Written by Kim Smejkal Published by Clarion Books Available Now!
Invasion of the Unicorns David Biedrzycki Charlesbridge October 19, 2021 Ages 4-8
Just past midnight, in a video arcade, there’s a burst of bright and colorful light. From it emerges Secret Agent Bubble07! Although he looks like a stuffed unicorn toy, he is actually an alien and a spy. His mission: collect data and decide if the alien unicorn army should invade Earth and make humans their servants. To do this, Agent Bubble07 allows himself to be captured by an Earthling family by posing as a stuffed animal in the claw machine. After three long days, a father outwits the machine and scoops up Agent Bubble07 for his daughter. Now, with a family to study, Agent Bubble07 will observe their every move. Will he tell headquarters that Earth should be invaded or will he discover that our planet is worth saving?
Invasion of the Unicorns is a fun and humorous picture book that shows that all people and ways of life are equal. It illustrates the importance of taking the time to learn about something or someone, rather than making judgements based on first impressions. If Agent Bubble07 attacked Earth based on how he felt on his 20th day here when the school kids were being rough with him, he wouldn’t have gotten to experience snow day on his 50th day. Each illustration has a grainy texture. There are also a few panels and full bleed pictures, adding variety and something unique to look at on each page. Biedrzycki starts the book with pictures in grayscale, only using limited color to represent Agent Bubble07’s presence. However, after the unicorn discovers the amazing things Earth offers, the pictures are filled with color. An excellent way to show how good things make life happy and vibrant. Biedrzycki’s unique story is a timeless reminder that, although we may have different cultures and traditions, they are all valuable.
Every October, libraries host a nationwide celebration of teens called TeenTober! TeenTober promotes year-round teen services and the innovative ways these services help teens learn new skills. To celebrate, we are featuring all Teen/YA stories this week on the Butler Bookshelf! Dive into Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon. For her own personal gain, Caterina Lavalle gives Rahul Chopra a mysterious hair gel with the power to alter the wearer into whatever his heart desires. The gel transforms Rahul into a much more handsome, charming version of himself. But will this new persona change Rahul completely and take away everything he’s ever known? For more amazing titles, check out the list below!
The Wild Ones Written by Nafiza Azad Published by Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books Available now!
Muted Written by Tami Charles Published by Scholastic Press Available now!
Battle of the Bands Edited by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith Published by Candlewick Press Available now!
As if on Cue Written by Marisa Kanter Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Available now!
Of Princes and Promises (Rosetta Academy 2) Written by Sandhya Menon Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Available now!
Simone Breaks all the Rules Written by Debbie Rigaud Published by Scholastic Press Available now!
Pencilvania by Stephanie Watson Illustrated by Sofia Moore Sourcebooks/Sourcebooks Young Readers October 5th, 2021 Ages 8+
Twelve-year-old Zora Webb has always loved to draw, encouraged by the support and kind words of her mother—she calls her wish to draw the “Voom.” But when Zora’s mom dies after a months-long battle with leukemia, the Voom disappears completely. All Zora wants to do is scribble over the drawings that her mother had loved so much. When she does, they come to life, dragging Zora and her sister, Frankie, into the magical realm of Pencilvania, a land filled with everything Zora has ever drawn—including the scribbles, which are wreaking havoc on all the other drawings. When a scribble captures her sister, Zora goes on a quest across Pencilvania. With the help of a seven-legged horse, hamsters in pajamas, and a collection of her past self-portraits, Zora saves her sister, her love of drawing, and the rest of the realm.
Pencilvania is an insightful middle-grade fantasy novel chronicling the journey of Zora Webb through a land of her own making. Written in simple text supplemented by onomatopoeia interjections and visual renditions of Zora’s drawings, Pencilvania is an accessible and oftentimes humorous look at grief and healing. Complicated emotions are conceptualized using color and shapes, allowing young readers to visually track the changes in Zora’s drawings and emotion, and inviting them to look at their own emotions in a new way. The copious illustrations—a combination of childlike pencil drawings, more sophisticated illustrations, and collage-like renderings—faithfully detail Zora’s story. Though she is writing for an elementary school audience, Watson does not shy away from difficult topics; she represents and resolves anger, fear, and hopelessness truthfully and completely, while still leaving room for humor and joy. The human cast is presumed white with a varied (and oftentimes silly) group of living drawings that help Zora on her way back to hope and, ultimately, forgiveness.*
Spooky season is here! Let’s celebrate by diving into Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things by Margie Fuston. Victoria and her dad have been fascinated with the undead since the first vampire revealed his existence on live television. They dream of finding one together some day. But that dream is ripped from them when Victoria’s dad is diagnosed with terminal cancer. To save her dad’s life, Victoria must find a vampire and become one herself. But convincing a vampire to turn her won’t be easy. She must prove that she loves life enough to live forever. Will she be able to push passed her grief, reap the joys of life, and keep her father from dying? For more fantastic titles, check out the list below!
The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun’s Tomb Written by Candace Fleming Published by Scholastic Focus Available now! Check out our review!
Wilderlore: The Accidental Apprentice Written by Amanda Foody Published by Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books Available now!
Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things Written by Margie Fuston Published by Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books Available now!
My World in 100 Words: Halloween Written by Happy Yak and Illustrated by Sophie Beer Published by The Quarto Group/Happy Yak Available now!
Shadowghast Written by Thomas Taylor and Illustrated by Tom Booth Published by Candlewick Press/Walker Books Available now!
Twitchy Witchy Itch Written and Illustrated by Priscilla Tey Published by Candlewick Press Available now!
The Heartbreak Bakery A. R. Capetta Candlewick Press October 12, 2021 Ages 14-17
After being dumped by a longtime girlfriend, Syd, who has always used baking to express feelings, bakes a batch of brownies that seem to magically break up everyone who eats them. This effect even reaches Vin and Alec, owners of the queer Proud Muffin bakery where Syd works and feels truly at home. With the owners’ relationship threatened, Syd worries that the Proud Muffin itself is in danger. Syd teams up with the Proud Muffin’s delivery person, Harley, to fix the mess, hoping to use newfound magical baking powers to bring all the broken-up couples together.
Told in the first person by Syd, who from time to time reflects on the experience of being agender, with a preference for no pronouns at all. There is additional representation of people from across the spectrum of gender identities. For example, Harley uses either he or they pronouns, depending on the day, with the day’s preference indicated by a pin. Syd and Harley have instant chemistry, leading Syd to open up about identifying as agender, despite an inability to express this identity to others. Capetta clearly incorporates personal experience into various aspects of the novel, describing its setting of Austin with love and delving into their baking experience by including recipes throughout the book. Filled with romance, heartache, and a touch of magical realism, The Heartbreak Bakery provides a chance for those with gender uncertainty to feel seen, a window into the agender experience, and a sweet treat for all.
This week on the Butler Bookshelf you will find Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister? by Chitra Soundar and Jen Khatun! Sona has always enjoyed being an only child in house full of people and laughter. Then one day Amma tells her that she will soon have a brother or sister. Sona is not very fond of the idea. She isn’t sure she wants to share everything–including her family–with a new baby. But, when Sona hears that there will be a naming ceremony, she puts all her effort into finding the perfect name for her new sibling. Sona is determined to be the very best big sister she can be! For more great titles, check out the list below!
Zion Unmatched Written by Zion Clark and James S. Hirsch Published by Candlewick Press Available now!
When Langston Dances Written by Kaija Langley and Illustrated by Keith Mallett Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Available now!
Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen Written by Kate McGovern Published by Candlewick Press Available October 12, 2021
How to Have a Birthday Written by Mary Lyn Ray and Illustrated by Cindy Derby Published by Candlewick Press Available now!
Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister? Written by Chitra Soundar and Illustrated by Jen Khatun Published by Candlewick Press Available now!
Drawn That Way Written by Elissa Sussman Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Available now!
¡¡Manu!! Kelly Fernández Scholastic/Graphix October 19, 2021 Ages 8-12
Manu and Josefina have been best friends since their first day at La Academia de Santa Dominga—a magical boarding school for girls. Manu is the most powerful witchling the school has ever seen. But her affinity for pranks gets her into troublesome situations. Everyone sees Manu as a terror, except Josefina and Mother Dolores. That changes when a prank goes terribly wrong. Josefina is incredibly upset and wishes for the Saints to take away Manu’s magic. The wish comes true! So, Manu resorts to extreme measures. She uses black magic to restore her abilities. Will using such a dangerous spell change Manu forever?
¡¡Manu!! is a heartwarming graphic novel about what it means to be a true friend and being there for them no matter the circumstance. When consequences of the black magic cause Manu to attack the school, Josefina is convinced that there is something wrong. Unlike her classmates, Josefina gives Manu the benefit of the doubt. Even though she doesn’t understand why Manu attacked the school, she trusts Manu wouldn’t do it willingly. LGBTQ representation is present throughout the narrative with the revelation that Josefina isn’t attracted to boys. A relationship between Manu and Josefina is also hinted at towards the end of the novel. The panels are plentiful and expressive. Body parts are replicated and superimposed on each other to indicate movement. There’s a decrease in color as the story progresses. Panels go from full color to black and white, with some placed atop fully black pages to signify the past. Fernández pays homage to her Dominican roots with a story based on witchcraft and Roman Catholic traditions. She also includes some Spanish text throughout. Her creative adventure shows that even when we feel different, we always have someone to lean on.
Tomorrow is the official commencement of the Fall season! So this week on the Butler Bookshelf, we are featuring some spooky and autumnal books! Follow twelve-year-old Billie in The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young. Every year, Billie grows a thousand pound pumpkin, hollows it out, and races across the bay in the annual Madeline Island pumpkin race. Last year she was cheated out the win by her best friend Sam and now she wants revenge. Will Billie be able to cross that finish line, winning fame, fortune, and free ice cream? For more fantastic titles, check out the list below!
The Nature of Witches Written by Rachel Griffin Published by Sourcebooks Fire Available now!
Fangs for Having Us! (Ms. Frogbottom’s Field Trips #3) Written by Nancy Krulik and Illustrated by Harry Briggs Published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin Available now!
Return of Zombert (The Zombert Chronicles #2) Written by Kara LaReau and Illustrated by Ryan Andrews Published by Candlewick Press Available now!
Owl has a Halloween Party Written by Nosy Crow and Illustrated by Jannie Ho Published by Candlewick Press/Nosy Crow Available now!
How to Help a Pumpkin Grow Written and Illustrated by Ashley Wolff Published by Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books Available now!
The Pumpkin War Written by Cathleen Young Published by Random House Children’s Books/Yearling Available now!