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).

ALA exhib floor

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.

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.

 

 

My TBR List Celebrates APHM (Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month)

One benefit of a mile-long TBR list is that there is always a themed booklist hiding within. This month, as luck (and publishing trends) would have it, my list contains a lovely selection of titles in celebration of Asian/Pacific American Heritage month. As we honor Asians and Pacific Islanders in the US, this May, and celebrate the diverse traditions, tastes, and identities they represent, I can’t think of a better way to appreciate their varied experiences than through stories, can you?

Here’s what’s had me turning pages well into the night this month…

Ojiichan's Gift

Ojiichan’s Gift
Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated by Genevieve Simms
Kids Can Press, April 2019
Ages 5-8

Mayumi grows up and grows close to her grandfather as he teaches her to care for the garden he’s built her. But when her Ojiichan is no longer able to work in the garden, Mayumi must learn to accept the change in their relationship and give a gift of her own. Gentle and quiet, an explanation of aging and the changing relationships between grandparents and grandchildren.

Pie in the Sky by Remi Lai

Pie in the Sky
Remy Lai
Henry Holt, May 2019
Ages 8-11

Jingwen is struggling. Moving to Mars (aka Australia) is hard. Learning to speak English is hard. Making friends is hard. Losing his father is hard. But making cake is easy and making the cakes he made with his father seems to make the rest a bit easier too. The juxtaposition of prose and comic-style illustrations complement the honest mixing of humor and grief in Jingwen’s world.

I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

I Love You So Mochi
Sarah Kuhn
Scholastic, May 2019
Ages 14-17

Fleeing a fight with her mother over her future plans, Kimi Nakamura impulsively accepts an invitation to spend spring break in Kyoto, Japan with the grandparents she’s never met. But her journey of self-discovery takes a turn for the romantic when a cute boy (dressed as a mochi) volunteers to help her figure out what she’s meant to do. As they explore the sights in Kyoto, Kimi comes to value her true artistic vision, her budding relationships with Akira and her grandparents, and her mother’s concern for her future. Adventure, flirtation, and delicious treats on the path to enlightenment.

The Beauty of The Moment by Tanaz Bhathena

The Beauty of the Moment
Tanaz Bhathena
MacMillan, February 2019
Ages 14-17

Susan is a recent transplant from India to Canada, by way of Saudi Arabia—book-smart, artistic, and driven by a desire not to disappoint her parents. Malcolm was born and raised in Canada by an angry father and deceased mother—street-smart, hurting, and trying to figure it all out. As their relationship evolves (and devolves) and each deals with their own family struggles, they will learn how to be friends and to be themselves. Full of all the heartaches, headaches, and struggles of growing up, with just enough humor to balance the weight.

And a summer publication worth waiting for…

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

The Downstairs Girl
Stacey Lee
Penguin Teen/Putnam, August 2019
Ages 14-17

Orphan, turned hat designer, turned ladies maid, turned secret advice columnists, Jo Kuan is used to blending into the background as a form of self-preservation. But now her unconventional advice about challenging societal norms in 1890s Atlanta and a desire to challenge her own family’s troubled history, may just be the things that push her into the spotlight. A thoughtful commentary on race, gender, and being true to one’s self.

 

Moving Forward: A Review of I Don’t Want To Be Crazy

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I Don’t Want To Be Crazy 
by Samantha Schultz
Scholastic Inc.
March 29, 2019
Grades 9 and up

In the memoir I Don’t Want To Be Crazy, Samantha Schultz describes her journey with anxiety disorder. The memoir is written in verse and split into five sections. In the book, Schultz begins with her senior year in high school and continues one year beyond college. She describes her relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. During this period of transition, she begins to identify that she is having panic attacks and to understand what her anxiety disorder entails. At the end of the book, Schultz includes an Author’s Note explaining why she wrote the memoir, noting that she was motivated to “provide comfort for others” by sharing her story and that others have opened up to her about their experiences with mental illness after reading the book. She also includes backup resources on how to talk to one’s family about mental illness and offers steps that readers can take to address mental illness. With clear and believable descriptions, Schultz provides the reader with insight into what her panic attacks feel like and how she manages her anxiety. Furthermore, she also involves family members’ reactions to her mental illness, which include questioning her about it. She writes, “My mother must think I’m blaming them, / but that’s not what I tried to say…./ We have given you everything/ you ever needed, ever wanted…./ What could possibly be so wrong with your life?” (62-63). She internalizes this questioning and feels guilty about her anxiety. Because Schultz speaks directly about mental health in this book, she provides a valuable perspective, letting the readers know that it’s okay to be mentally ill. While she is talking about her personal experience with mental illness, she also provides her readers with a way of moving forward.