Island Adventure: A Review of Lost Beast, Found Friend

butler lost beast found friend

Lost Beast, Found Friend
By Nick Kennedy
Illustrated by Josh Trujllo
June 9, 2020
Published by Oni Press
Grades Pre K-1

Keelee is tired of picking fruits everyday to feed her village. One day while picking fruit Keelee is surprised to find a friendly, big, purple buffalo-looking beast trying to eat her fruit. Realizing that the beast is lost, Keelee sets out with the beast to find his home. The two have fun on their journey and agree to stay in touch even after the beast returns home. Keelee is now excited to pick fruit since it means getting a visit from her new friend.

This sweet story about making friends is whimsical and light-hearted. Vibrant colors are evocative of the island setting, and the non-human characters, like beast and Keelee (who is a bald, blue, creature), make the story all the more fantastical. The story itself is rather basic, but the illustrations really bring to life the words on the page. The story sticks to a simple rhyme scheme giving it a sing-song quality perfect for a bedtime read.

 

Make Some Noise! A review of Noisemakers

butler noisemakersNoisemakers: 25 Women Who Raised Their Voices & Changed the World
Edited by Erin Bried
January 29, 2020
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Grades 3-7

Those who enjoyed Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu will love this similar title geared towards a younger audience. Without going into too much detail about each woman’s life, each illustrator gives readers a taste of the accomplishments and hardships these history-making women went through. Each illustrator has a different art style that wonderfully matches with the subject they are depicting. The 25 women are separated into six different groups: Grow, Tinker, Play, Create, Rally, and Explore showing how women from different times, places, and backgrounds can still have things in common. Expanding on this idea, the beginning of each new chapter introduces the subject of the chapter and asks readers to “Count all the things you have in common with …”. For example, Hedy Lamarr’s introduction page includes some of the following things that she might have in common with the reader:

  • I love watching movies—and making them too.
  • I like to play dress-up.
  • I love thinking up inventions.
  • Even in my sleep, I dream about what I could make.
  • Some stuff I’ve made has worked, some hasn’t, but I’ll never stop building (59).

This is an engaging way for child readers to interact with the text and help them see themselves in these inspirational women. A vibrant and empowering book that children and adults alike will enjoy.

 

Bryan Collier–Save the Date!

bryan collier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Eloise Martin Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building
Reception and book signing will follow the lecture

Bryan Collier is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient for Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. (2001), Rosa (2005), Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave (2010), and Trombone Shorty (2015), as well as many other awards including six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. Known for his unique style of combining watercolor and detailed collage, Collier’s work is instantly recognizable and visually stunning. Collier has said that one of the biggest reasons for wanting to become a part of children’s books was because of an experience he had at a bookstore in 1995 where he noticed that none of the books he looked, sounded, or felt like him or his children. Collier’s newest titles set to be released this year are By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, The Father of Gospel Music (January 2020), and All Because You Matter (October 2020).

Registration for the Butler Lecture with Bryan Collier has closed. Contact the Butler Center at butler@dom.edu to be added to the waitlist for the event.

If you would like to learn more about this brilliant illustrator and his work before the lecture, please feel free to follow the links provided below:

Bryan Collier Website

School Library Journal: The Power of Pictures: A Visit With Bryan Collier

Behind the Scenes of Between the Lines

Book Chat with the Illustrator: Bryan Collier on Hey Black Child

Kennedy Center: A Conversation with Illustrator Bryan Collier start video at 0:32 second mark to skip the intro music.

Reading Rockets: A video with Bryan Collier, Process for “Rosa”

Library of Congress: Bryan Collier, 2014 National Book Festival start video at 2:55 minute mark to skip opening introductions

Iowa Public Library: Visiting Author 2018: Bryan Collier start video at 0:10 second mark to skip intro music

A Home Run Debut! Review of Get A Grip, Vivy Cohen

get a gripGet A Grip, Vivy Cohen!
By Sarah Kapit
February 25, 2020
Published by Dial Books
Grades 3-8

Ever since VJ Capello showed Vivy how to throw a knuckleball three years ago at a fundraiser for autism, Vivy has been dreaming of the day when she will get to play as a pitcher for a baseball team. As luck would have it, after playing catch with her brother Nate, a coach notices Vivy’s talents and recruits her to play for his little league team. Things get even better when VJ responds to the letters Vivy has been sending him, updating her progress as a knuckleballer! Although she began writing to VJ as an assignment for her social skills class, the more the two write, the more they bond over their love of baseball and the challenges that they face in the game. For Vivy, challenges occur when kids on her team bully her because of her autism. Making matters worse, Vivy’s own mother questions Vivy’s ability to play the sport because of her autism. With the support of her dad, brother, and pitcher Alex, Vivy is able to prove once and for all what an amazing knuckleballer she is to everyone.
This epistolary novel vividly and honestly captures Vivy’s growth out on the field and in her personal life. As she grows confidence as a knuckleballer, she also becomes more confident in herself and in making friends. The novel has a diverse cast of characters– from Vivy, who is a young Jewish girl with autism, VJ who is African American, Alex who is Latino, and her brother, Nate, who comes out as gay. Kapit’s writing is thoughtful and nuanced, capturing the unique struggles that each of these characters faces in their day to day lives. As a chairperson for the Association for Autistic Community, Kapit writes knowledgeable about autism and perfectly depicts Vivy as a child on the spectrum. Kapits debut novel is a home run for sure!

Most Anticipated 2020 Middle Grade Titles

We’ve been getting a few advanced copies of 2020 titles and we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites titles so far. Make room on your tbr list for these middle grade titles and make sure to grab them off the shelves when they come out!

get a grip.jpgGet A Grip, Vivy Cohen!
By Sarah Kapit
Published by Dial Books
February 25th, 2020
Ages 8-12
Vivy Cohen is determined to pitch for a real baseball team, but her mom is worried about Vivy being the only girl and only autistic kid on the team. Vivy writes to her hero, major-league pitcher VJ Capello, who writes back to her! As if this wasn’t already too good to be true, Vivy gets invited to join a team where she uses the advice she gets from VJ to be the best pitcher she can be. When an accident benches Vivy, she is forced to fight to stay on the team. Written by Sarah Kapit, chairperson of the Association for Autistic Community, this is an own voice title worth checking out.

blackbird girls

The BlackBird Girls
By Anne Blankman
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
March 10th, 2020
Ages 9-12
When Chernobyl collapses in an explosion, rivals Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko are forced to escape and find safety while their government tries to keep the disaster a secret. Can the two rivals learn to trust one another long enough to survive? Told from three different perspectives, this book shows that even a nuclear disaster is no match for the power of friendship.

stand up.jpg

Stand Up, Yumi Chung!
By Jessica Kim

Published by Kokila
March 17th, 2020
Ages 9-12
Yumi dreams of being a stand-up comedian, even if she is shy and gets called “Yu-MEAT” by the kids at school because she smells like her family’s KBBQ restaurant. Instead of spending her summer watching and studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to try and qualify for a private school scholarship. An unexpected opportunity arises one day after class when Yumi stumbles upon a comedy camp taught by her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that everyone at the camp thinks she’s a girl named Kay Nakamura, and Yumi doesn’t correct them. This debut novel by Jessica Kim is a stellar and hilarious entry into middle grade fiction.

ghost squad Ghost Squad
By Claribel A Ortega
Published by Scholastic Press
April 7th, 2020
Ages 9-12
Right before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend Syd cast a spell that accidentally awakens an evil spirit that wrecks havoc all across St. Augustine. The two girl’s join forces with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and her cat, Chunk, to reverse the curse and save the town before it’s too late.  Inspired by Ortega’s Dominican heritage and all things 80’s, this book blends nostalgia with the supernatural beautifully and puts a refreshing spin on this familiar tale.

place at the table

A Place at the Table
By Saadia Faruqi & Laura Shovan

Published by Clarion Books
May 12th, 2020
Ages 10-12

Sara feels completely lost at her new middle school, which is totally different from the small Islamic school she’s gone to her entire life. Elizabeth has problems of her own: her best friend seems to be pulling away and her British mom is struggling with depression. When the two girls are thrown together at an after school South Asian cooking class they don’t really hit it off. But when they learn that both of their mom’s are applying for American citizenship, they form a shaky alliance and make plans to win a spot on a local food show. They may make great cooking partners, but could they make great friends too?

Meow-velous Felines from History! A Review of Fearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cats

71k2iypH6QLFearless Felines: 30 True Tales of Courageous Cat
By Kimberlie Hamilton
Illustrated by Allie Runnion and friends*
November 5th, 2019
Grades 3-8

Everyone’s heard of Balto, Lassie, and Laika–famous dogs that have changed the world–but has anyone heard of any famous cats? Well, now they have! Hamilton describes the lives of thirty kitties who have definitely earned their place in history. From library cats, space cats, ballerina cats, and war hero cats, these cats have done it all. Between passages on specific cats, Hamilton includes cat facts and trivia,  and refutes some popular myths about our feline friends. Hamilton does a fantastic job of explaining how and why these cats became famous, and why these cats are so beloved by the humans around them.
Different illustrators take on the task of depicting these famous felines. Each illustration perfectly captures the personality of the cat being described, with the colors in all of the illustrations popping off the page. The purrfect book for the cat lover or history buff in your life.

*Andrew Gardner, Becky Davies, Charlotte Archer, Emma Jayne, Holly Sterling, Hui Skipp, Jessica Smith, Katie Wilson, Lily Rossiter, Michelle Hird, Nan Lawson, Olivia Holden, Rachel Allsop, Rachel Sanson, Bonnie Pang, and Sam Loman

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15th-October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month! The Hispanic experience is vast, with different cultures, languages, and races all falling under the Hispanic umbrella—therefore, no one book can define what the experience is like for any one person. With the political climate and rhetoric often disparaging Hispanic people and pushing forward policies that deny Hispanic people rights, it can be comforting to read books that extol the Hispanic experience. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we would like to share with you some of our favorite 2019 books about the Hispanic experience. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the Hispanic books that have come out this year, but it is a start for those who wish to read more books where Hispanic culture and people are the focus.

Happy reading everyone!

other sideThe Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border
Juan Pablo Villalobos
Translated by Rosalind Harvey
Farrar Straus Giroux, September 10, 2019
Ages 12-18
This is a non-fiction novel that depicts the experiences of ten Central American teens who crossed the border. To protect their identities, the names of the teens have been changed. Each experience is written in a narrative format that highlights the struggles that the teens had to endure in their home countries, traveling across the border, and in immigration detention centers. Reading about the challenges that these teens faced is heartbreaking. The back matter provides further details about what happened to each teen after crossing the border, as well as a list of resources and readings for those who want to learn more about the migrant crisis.

moon withinThe Moon Within
Aida Salazar
Arthur A. Levine, February 26, 2019
Ages 8-13
Celi is an eleven-year-old Afro-Latina living in Oakland who is dreading the day that she gets her first period. Her mother wants her to have a traditional ‘moon ceremony’ when Celi finally starts to menstruate to celebrate her transition from childhood into womanhood. If that wasn’t enough, the boy she has a crush on, Ivan, has been cruel to her best friend Mar who recently came out as genderfluid. Celi is forced to navigate the emotional waters of puberty, what it means to be a good friend, and who she wants to be. The back matter contains an author’s note discussing the cultural traditions of Mesoamerican peoples and a poem entitled “A Flower Song for Maidens Coming of Age” written in 1440. It is the only Mesoamerican precolonial document written about a moon ceremony. To accompany the poem, there is a moon calendar for those who are interested in tracking their menstrual cycles with the moon.

juana y lucas big problemasJuan & Lucas: Big Problemas
Juana Medina
Candlewick, May 14, 2019
Ages 5-8
Juana lives in Bogota, Colombia with her Mami and her dog (and best friend) Lucas. Juana grows worried as she begins to notice that her Mami is changing. She’s wearing makeup, perfume, changing her hair, and going out more often. Then one day, Juana meets Mami’s new friend Luis. Is Luis going to take Mami away from Juana? The illustrations are simple and vibrant, showing the things that are the most important to Juana. The book contains some Spanish words throughout the text, making it feel more like Juana herself is speaking.

a new homeA New Home
Tania de Regil
Candlewick, April 9, 2019
Ages Pre K-6
A little boy and a little girl are moving to a new city. The little boy is moving to Mexico City while the little girl is moving to New York. Each of them reflects on the things that they will miss about their city, each hoping that they will enjoy their new homes. The illustrations are phenomenal. The colors and details showcase the differences and similarities between the two cities. The last two pages of the book describe some of the locations within the book, explaining their significance to their respective cities.

vamos¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market
Raul the Third
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2, 2019
Ages 4-8
Little Lobo and Bernabe have to deliver supplies to the people at the market. At the market, Little Lobo and Bernabe run into many different people, each new person more interesting than the last. The illustrations are reminiscent of a comic, with the color palette evocative of the desert. Spanish is used throughout the text, with a glossary at the end of the book that translates Spanish words into English. Mexican culture is prevalent throughout the book, not just in the foreground but in the background as well.