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

I’m not sure how it’s possible, but it’s already mid-summer! They say time flies when you’re having fun and I can’t think of anything more fun than spending my days surrounded by books and by people that love them like I do.


Butler Fun Fact

geod owlDid you know that there are 460 owls in the Butler Center collection? Part of a generous donation by the estate of librarian and literacy champion, Effie Lee Morris, they represent the importance of the wisdom of the child in the consideration of books for young people. Our collection is currently being cataloged for research and preservation by Steven Szegedi, Dominican University archivist. Feel free to stop by and visit our parliament of Butler owls any time!


ALA Annual Conference

 NOLA signI was fortunate to attend the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans in June. With millions of books to see and what felt like millions of people to see them (ok – maybe it was closer to 20,000), it was quite an event! I heard some amazing and inspiring speakers, collected more books than I could reasonably carry home, and got the chance to meet and thank many of the generous publishers that contribute to the Butler Center’s review collection. Check out the Butler’s Pantry for a recap of the weekend and some photos of the event.


Fall Programs

Is there an event you’ve always wanted to see the Butler Center host? Do you have a professional development interest you’d love to share with local librarians and teachers?

We are in the midst of fall program planning and want to hear from you!

What types of events would you love to attend in the Butler Center?

  •      B3/book clubs
  •      author/illustrator talks
  •      professional development topics

When would you love to attend them?

  •     weeknights: 4-6 pm or 6-8 pm
  •     weekends 10 am-noon or noon-2 pm

We would love to hear your ideas. Your input helps build a stronger BCLC community! Please drop us a note at


Open Hours

The Butler Center welcomes teachers, librarians, booksellers, parents, grandparents, caregivers and anyone interested in literature for young people. Beginning August 27th, the Butler Center will be open Monday – Thursday from noon-4 p.m., or by appointment with the curator; contact to make special arrangements.

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

ALA Recap (a bit behind schedule)

I’m back from a lovely extended visit to the Gulf Coast, first to ALA Annual in New Orleans then some vacation time in the Florida Panhandle! Amazing and rejuvenating all the way around.

NOLA sign

I promised a quick recap when I returned, so here are some of the highlights:

The Opening Session with Michelle Obama was awesome! She was warm, funny, and inspired a great conversation about work/life balance and the importance of building a supportive community for yourself. Excited for her upcoming memoir Becoming (Penguin, 2018) to hit stores in November.michelle-obama.jpg


jason reynolds

I was this close (HA!) to Jason Reynolds.

Had an amazing morning at the Coretta Scott King book awards breakfast. The award and honor book winners were as eloquent as expected, but surprised me with their humility and respect for their readers. I was also fortunate to find myself at a table full of smart and resourceful women who reminded me why I love librarians so much!

emilio estevez


I was convinced (without much arm-twisting) to abandon my plans for a couple hours to attend a screening of The Public (which will come out this fall) and a Q & A with the movie’s writer/director/star Emilio Estevez and Ryan Dowd, author of The Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness (ALA, 2018). The movie was both heartwarming and heartbreaking– I highly recommend!

brangwain spurge

Was so lucky to be invited to lunch with M.T Anderson and Eugene Yelchin to discuss their new book The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge (Candlewick, 2018). Eugene and Tobin were smart and charming, and lunch was delicious— I couldn’t ask for more! The book is next up on my to-be-read list and with its elfin historian and goblin archivist promises to be as delightful as lunch!

And no New Orleans recap would be complete without a restaurant recommendation, so if you find yourself near the NOLA convention center, might I suggest:milkshake

  • Cochon Butcher—The roast beef sandwich was perfect and marinated brussels sprouts—WOW!
  • Auction House Market—This entire place is cool, but I highly recommend the vegan mint and brownie milkshake at Mac & Moon, it’s extra cool (and sweet)!




We’ll be at ALA this weekend, will you?

I’m so happy to be heading to New Orleans this weekend to attend the 2018 American Library Association Annual conference.

ala badgeYou’ll be able to find Dominican University and Butler Center info at the ALISE booth (#3641) at the convention center.

You’ll be able to find me (or not find me) running around to all the amazing speakers and sessions that I have on my to-do list. Some of the places I’ll likely be found:

  • The Opening Session with Michelle Obama
  • Doris Kerns Goodwin’s Auditorium Speaker Series session
  • Bullying, Trolling, and Doxxing Oh My! Protecting our Advocacy and Public Discourse around Diversity and Social Justice
  • The Coretta Scott King Books Awards breakfast
  • 2018 ALSC Awards Presentation
  • ALSC Charlemae Rollins President’s Program: Considering All Children: A New Ideal in Evaluating and Engaging around Books for Youth
  • Anywhere and everywhere our generous publishing partners can be found in the exhibit hall. We have lots of people to thank for our amazing collection!

And, of course, enjoying some (ok—lots) of the amazing food and music to be found in NOLA!

Hope to see some of you there, but if not, I’ll post a quick recap next week—stay tuned.

Jen Clemons

Curator, BCLC



#OWNVOICES Recommendations

Though I pay for it in the morning, lately I have happily been staying up way too late reading. And while I’m making an admirable dent in my to-read list, my to-be-reviewed list is getting longer and longer and longer! So instead, here is a list of some of the powerful, sweet, funny, and very-highly recommended #ownvoices MG and YA titles I have read (and LOVED!) this spring. Check them out and judge for yourself!


amal unboundAmal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (Nancy Paulson Books, 2018) –Pakistani

Amal’s dreams of becoming a teacher are interrupted by an accident that lands her as the indentured servant of a cruel and corrupt landlord. She must learn to work with the other unhappy inhabitants of his household to expose the truth of his misdeeds and return to her family.


blood and boneChildren of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt and Co., 2018) –West African

As a descendant of the maji, Zélie will use the power of family, will, and the magic of her clan to fight a brutal and oppressive monarchy bent on destroying her people, and magic, forever.


hurricane childHurricane Child by Kheryn Callendar (Scholastic, 2018) –US Virgin Islands/LGBTQ

Abandoned by her mother and bullied by nearly everyone else, Caroline finds comfort in a new classmate—Kalinda. She will fight her community, her emotions, and Mother Nature herself to find her mother and save her friendship.


Marcus vegaMarcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya (Viking, 2018) –Latin cultures

When a school suspension sends Marcus, his mother and brother to Puerto Rico to “hit the reset button,” his mishap-filled search for his father helps him discover that fatherhood and family can look different than he ever imagined.


parker inheritance

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (Arthur A. Levine, 2018) –African American/US South

Two inquisitive kids spend the summer solving a mystery from the past, facing racism then and now, in a small South Carolina town that hides both terrible secrets of racial violence and a multi-million dollar treasure.


So until the next list (picture books, maybe?)… Here’s to late nights with a good book and early mornings with a big cup of coffee!

Planning a trip to BCLC in June?

Call ahead to make an appointment!

Our Butler Center schedule is full of fun and travel in June. We’ll be out and about at ALA Annual in New Orleans, vacationing (ok– one of us is lucky enough to be on vacation next month, but it’s not me!) and visiting a group of budding book reviewers. Our open hours will be limited from June 18-29. We’ll still be here to chat on Thursdays from noon-4 p.m. with other hours by appointment.

Image result for public domain images of reading on the beach

We don’t want to miss you in all the excitement, so drop us a note at if you’d like to visit and we’ll make special plans just for you!

Happy summer!

Jen Clemons

Curator, BCLC


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