A Review of The Book of Mistakes

By Alena Rivers

In just a couple of days, I will be attending the Bologna Children’s Book Fair with 11 other Dominican University SOIS students as part of a Special Topics in Youth Services course led by adjunct instructor and the Butler Center’s former curator, Thom Barthelmess. Through this course, and at the fair, we will have the opportunity to explore the international children’s book publishing industry. I am particularly excited to see the Bologna Illustrator’s Exhibition and I was inspired to write today’s post on a picture book we recently received titled, The Book of Mistakes by Corrina Luyken featuring an illustrator’s creative journey.

We continue to select books featuring ALSC Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness. The Book of Mistakes represents excellence and innovation. Visit the Butler Center to see this galley proof scheduled for release April 18, 2017. We also invite you to visit the Butler Center Facebook and Twitter pages over the next few days to see highlights from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and an upcoming blog post featuring some picture books collected from the fair.
The Book of Mistakes

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken (Penguin, 2017)

“It started…” as a simple shape on a two-page spread. Young readers may notice that it is the beginning shape of a child’s face. However, the illustration on the following page shows, “…one mistake” where one eye on the child’s face is drawn bigger than the other. No worries, our illustrator can fix that by adjusting the image and adding glasses. Over several pages, this drawing becomes a girl on roller skates and readers are invited to share the illustrator’s experience in the happenstance technique of developing a drawing. Smudges on the paper become leaves flying through the air while an accidental splotch on the girl’s face turns into a cap on her head. By the final pages readers see the compilation of these images in an elaborate and playful scene of several children playing and building forts in a large tree.

Luyken gives readers a sneak-peak behind the artistic process and simultaneously creates an illustration that tells its own story. She keeps readers engaged as she plays with perspective and encourages exploration of the creative process.  Limited text brings focus to the illustrations that evolve from a simple shape into a complex image. Illustrations were created using black ink, colored pencils and watercolors in muted yellow, green and pink. The Book of Mistakes reminds readers to see mistakes as opportunities and would make a great addition to any picture book collection.

Connect with the Butler Center in March 2017!

By Alena Rivers
The Butler Center is buzzing this month with lots of exciting events! Please consider joining us for one or more of these upcoming opportunities.

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B3 – Butler Book Banter –  Our next B3 is tonight, March 6th from 6-7 p.m. Snacks and books will be out at 5:30.  We will be exploring gender identity, from picture books, to graphic novels, to young adult fiction. You can find a list of the books for this evening’s discussion at https://butlerspantry.org/2017/02/08/march-b3-butler-book-banter/. You do not have to read the books to come!
IYSS_Logo
Illinois Youth Services Institute – Create Your Adventure! at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, IL on March 10-11. The Butler Children’s Literature Center is an event sponsor and exhibitor. Visit us in the exhibits to learn what’s happening on campus, and enter our raffle to win a free set of Holly Black’s books.
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The Butler Lecture 2017 featuring Holly Black, renowned children’s and teen author of the Spiderwick Chronicles, the Newbery Honor Book, Doll Bones, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, among many other titles. The Lecture will take place March 16th at 6 p.m., with a reception and book signing to follow. The event is free and open to the public, with registration required at  http://sois.dom.edu/butler2017.  We expect a capacity crowd, so register ASAP!
 
We look forward to seeing you!

Birds and Bugs: Informational Picture Books

By Alena Rivers

Some recent additions to the Butler Center’s 2017 nonfiction collection include picture books for young children exploring birds and insects. In keeping with our review of books that highlight ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), the books selected for this week’s post exemplify integrity and respect for the learning needs of young children. Both books are published by Holiday House; a publisher known for their strength in delivering informational books of this nature.

birds-make-nests      my-awesome-summer

Birds Make Nests by Michael Garland (Holiday, 2017)

More than 20 birds and their nests are featured in this illustrated picture book for young children. Readers will enjoy exploring birds of all sizes in a variety of habitats that will prompt discussion about the various colors of birds, their environments and the materials birds use to build their nests. Short sentences describe the location, materials, shape or other special features of each nest type.Large illustrations done in woodcut and digital tools give images of the birds and their environment an etched and slightly, textured feel. The color pallet is realistic and respectful of the blue, green and brown tones found in nature’s color pallet while highlighting the variety of colors found in a myriad of bird species.

A list of additional resources is not included but would be helpful for further exploration of the subject. Birds Make Nests is a clear and understandable introduction to birds and their distinctive nests.  Recommended for ages 3-8.

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by Paul Meisel (Holiday, 2017)

Young children are introduced to P. Mantis, a praying mantis who shares the daily habits that characterize it as an intriguing insect. The lifecycle of the praying mantis is portrayed over a 5-month period from mid-May to mid-October in a first-person, diary format describing selected days’ events. Through the narrative, readers will feel they are getting to know P. Mantis as they learn interesting facts about the praying mantis’ birth, eating habits, living environment, predators and tricks used to keep predators at bay.

Colorful and realistic illustrations are done with acrylic ink and digitally enhanced.End papers are used to provide additional facts about the praying mantis that are supportive of the text and should not be overlooked. Web resources and a short glossary are included on the end papers as well. Recommended for ages 3-8.

 

 

March B3 – Butler Book Banter

After a great group discussion on our featured Mock CaldeNott books for the February B3, we are already preparing for our upcoming March B3. It’s right around the corner on March 1st and we will be exploring gender identity. All of the books we are recommending were either featured on the 2017 Rainbow Book List or are part of our 2017 collection. You can also check out a couple of our past blog posts featuring Newsprints and If I Was Your Girl.

Join us in the Butler Center on Wednesday, March 1st from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. (books and snacks out at 5:30 p.m., discussion at 6pm). We look forward to seeing you in March!

Picture Books

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Big Bob, Little Bob by James Howe, illus. Laura Ellen Anderson (Candlewick, 2016)

Graphic Novels
newsprints     princess-princess-ever-after
Young Adult
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Forthcoming from Past Award Winners

By Alena Rivers

Hot on the heels of this week’s ALA Youth Media Awards announcement, this week we are looking ahead to two forthcoming books from award-winning authors and illustrators. These awards, including the Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Sibert, Geisel, Printz, awards, are the gold standard of excellence in children’s media.  In keeping with our review of books that highlight ALSC’s Core Values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness), these books represent first of all excellence, and also collaboration and integrity and respect.

life-on-mars   dad-and-the-dinosaur

Life on Mars by Jon Agee (Penguin, 2017)

An astronaut arrives on Mars confident in his search for life on the barren planet. The reader follows the astronaut as he walks the planet carrying a gift to share with whomever he discovers. In the meantime, a creature reveals itself to the reader but remains unseen by the astronaut. Young children will delight in watching the creature follow the unknowing astronaut who grows more doubtful of finding life on the planet. Just as the astronaut gives up his search and leaves behind his gift, he finds life on the planet, but it is not the creature who has been quietly and curiously watching the young astronaut. Satisfied with his discovery, the astronaut makes his way back to his ship, which presents a new challenge. He no longer remembers where he left it.The remaining pages reveal clues of the creature’s existence that the astronaut overlooks but are obvious to young readers.

Agee’s text is clean, straightforward and engages readers in the astronaut’s search for life on Mars. The easily discernible illustrations are done in muted grays and browns depicting the barren planet which is contrasted by a black background highlighting the infinite space beyond. Life on Mars is an entirely amusing story perfect for a humorous read-aloud to children ages 3-8.

Dad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko, illustrated by Dan Santat (Penguin, 2017)

Wishing to be as brave as his father, young Nicholas secretly finds comfort from his fears of the dark, giant bugs and hidden creatures by keeping with him a constant companion in the form of a small, toy dinosaur. Nicholas knows dinosaurs are not afraid of the dark and other unknowns so, with his dinosaur in tow, he finds the courage he needs to conquer a climbing wall, sleep in the dark and score a winning soccer goal against a tough goalie. That courage disappears as soon as he discovers he has lost his dinosaur on the soccer field. After a fruitless search, Nicholas finds himself vulnerable to the fears that have been kept away by his dinosaur. A touching moment is shared between father and son when Nicholas reveals the secret source of his strength to his father who offers to take Nicholas to the soccer field to find his missing dinosaur.

Choldenko’s text is vivid and astutely balances the ideas of fear and courage. Santat’s illustrations are done in deep blue, green and orange tones that span each two-page spread building a fully immersive depiction of every scene. Young readers will identify with the sense of security a special object can provide and the comfort in sharing its secret existence with someone special. Dad and the Dinosaur is a compelling read-aloud and provides opportunity for discussion with children ages 3-8 about their fears and how they overcome them.

CSMCL Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2016

This week we are pleased to share the 4th annual list of the “Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2016,” just released by the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL). The CSMCL is an educational research center that works to “…preserve the richness of the many cultures in the field of children’s and young adult literature” and  “… to provide children, teachers, parents, educators, students, and librarians access to multicultural children’s books with high literary and artistic standards”. CSMCL also houses a non-circulating collection of recent and historically significant, multicultural children’s and young adult books, art works and manuscripts.
 
For the last few weeks the Butler Center has been highlighting books that strongly support ALSC’s core values (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness). This list represents a collection of books that embody each and every one of these core values and is a valuable guide for thoughtful, purposeful gift-giving  for children (and kid lit loving adults).
The “Best Multicultural Children’s Books of 2016” was officially released on the CSMCL website at http://www.csmcl.org/best-books-2016 and is also available as a Pinterest board.
 

A Review of Same But Different by Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete and RJ Peete

By Alena Rivers

The Butler Center continues to feature books from our collections that highlight one or more of the core values of children’s librarianship (collaboration, excellence, inclusiveness, innovation, integrity and respect, leadership and responsiveness). This week’s book, Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express embodies “inclusiveness”, “collaboration” and “responsiveness”.

same-but-different

Same But Different: Teen Life on the Autism Express by Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete and RJ Peete (Scholastic, 2016)

Callie and Charlie are the fictional representations of real-life teenage twins, Ryan and RJ Peete. They share their story, which resembles those of many other teenagers on the autism spectrum and their families, to let readers into the intimate thoughts of Charlie, who is autistic and his twin sister, Callie, who is not. Each chapter is told in the alternating voice of each twin as they explore the range of challenges and triumphs typical of young adults but complicated by the life-altering effects of autism.

The story begins with their reflection on how they feel about their first day of school where the twins are separated for the first time as Callie enters 10th grade and Charlie repeats 9th grade. Their separation is met with both a sense of freedom from their constant partnership and trepidation as they experience school without their twin. Callie, who has been a perpetual supporter and advocate for her brother worries that, without her help, Charlie will be too vulnerable and taken advantage of by less sensitive classmates. Charlie is anxious about starting a new routine and being placed in a special education class which comes with its own negative stigma. The Peetes take turns lending their perspective to what it is like to attend school, date, eat meals and vacation together. Both of their voices provide insight into their actions and reveal the rationale behind them, giving readers two sides of the story to consider.

Members of the Peete family have taken on a follow up to their picture book, My Brother Charlie (Scholastic, 2010), told from Callie’s perspective about her 10-year old brother Charlie’s autism. Same But Different is an honest and courageous exploration of the thoughts and feelings shared by their now teenage counterparts. Their story is straightforward and engaging. Their experiences can be appreciated by readers with and without autism. A substantive resource guide on autism and transitioning through adolescence with autism is included with links to websites, guides, fact sheets, education and training opportunities, and videos.