A Sea of Memories: A Review of When Life Gives You Mangos

cover190381-medium.pngWhen Life Gives You Mangos
Written by Kereen Getten
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Ages 10-14
Available September 15, 2020

Clara lives in a small village on a tourist-destination Caribbean island, but to Clara, it’s not a destination—it’s just home. This summer, she is twelve, and she’s struggling. Her former best friend Gaynah does not want to play in their secret dugout anymore; she is more interested in Calvin and being grown up. Also, Gaynah teases her about last summer. Even though Clara tries, she cannot remember what happened. All she knows is that her parents will not let her surf anymore, and she can never go into the water alone. Sometimes she has nightmares that she does not understand. Her parents explain the imagery, but they tell her not to worry. Clara finds that she angers and frustrates easily, but she does not understand why. Now, a mysterious new girl named Rudy is living on the island and wants to be friends with Clara. But Rudy does not know the rules of the island, and what spots are off-limits. Clara does not want to lose another friend, so she follows along, even though she could get in trouble. Kereen Getten’s When Life Gives You Mangos begins slowly, unfolding the story of Clara’s memory loss. The calm pace and beautiful landscape exacerbate the scary and obscure reason behind the amnesia. The book takes time to reveal what happened, and the grief behind the loss is significant. Newcomer Rudy serves as a stand-in for the reader at times, as she is learning how the village of Sycamore operates. Religion is an important factor in how Clara’s memory loss is dealt with by the community; ultimately Getten reveals that pastors and bishops, no matter how well-intentioned they are, are ultimately human and can make mistakes. The reveal behind Clara’s amnesia involves grief, but also reconciliation as her family makes room for members that have been long shunned in the village. This read emphasizes the power of love and community.

Sharing Languages and Stories: A Review of The Day Saida Arrived

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The Day Saida Arrived
Written by Susana Gómez Redondo, illustrated by Sonja Wimmer, and translated from Spanish into English by Lawrence Schimel
Published by Blue Dot Kids Press
Available Sept 15, 2020
Ages 3-7

When Saida arrives, she does not speak any English. In fact, she does not speak at all. Sad and silent, the young narrator wants to find words that will help Saida alleviate her sadness. She cannot find them anywhere. So instead, she draws a welcome; in return, Saida draws a smile. The young narrator continues to search and search for Saida’s words, and she learns that Saida is from Morocco. Her mother shows her on a globe. Her father explains that Saida’s words and language are different; she speaks Arabic. The next day, she and Saida write to each other in their native languages. They touch objects in their classroom and write their own version of the name on the blackboard. They work on their “B” sounds and rolling their “Rs” and differentiating between “E” and “I.” They laugh and giggle through their mistakes. As the two friends share their languages, their snacks, and their stories, they plan for when they will travel to Morocco together.

Susana Gómez Redondo spins a beautiful tale. The words curl and warm themselves around the two young strangers and glow as their bond develops. Repetition of the phrase, “The day Saida arrived,” gives the story a timeless quality that is rooted only in the pair’s friendship. The artwork by Sonja Wimmer is exquisite and vivid. Drenched in emotion, Wimmer conjures up the emotions felt by Saida when she is unable to express herself. The illustrations are fantastical: the friends climb onto a hippopotamus, walk a clothesline as a high wire, and sail away on a hot air balloon. Words in English and Arabic dance around the pages. Some Arabic letters sprout wings and fly. The illustrations create a magical and otherworldly exploration of the friends’ journey to understanding one another. The picture book’s backmatter contains a chart of both the Arabic and English alphabet.

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we meet Jabari! Jabari is so, so ready to jump off the diving board. He’s done everything he is supposed to: finished swimming lesson, passed the swim test, plus he is an excellent jumper! Despite this, he is still nervous. With his father’s encouragement, Jabari takes on his fear.  Written by Gaia Cornwall and translated into Spanish by Georgina Lázaro, Jabari Salta is a sweet picture book that is perfect for Father’s Day. For more great reads, check out the list below!

BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself To Freedom
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Michele Wood
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Jabari Salta (Spanish edition)
Written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall, translated by Georgina Lázaro
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Madame Badobedah
Written by Sophie Dahl and illustrated by Lauren O’Hara
Published by Walker Books
Available now!

Don’t Worry Little Crab
Written and illustrated by Chris Haughton
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Cats in the Crater: My FANGtastically Evil Vampire Pet
Written by Mo O’Hara and illustrated by Marek Jagucki
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Available now!

Big Ideas For Young Thinkers: 20 questions about life and the universe
Written by 
Jamia Wilson and illustrated by Andrea Pippins
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

 

Beloved Book Events – Now Virtual!

Instead of cancelling, many of our favorite events are going virtual! If you’ve ever wanted to go to an event like BookCon or the Bronx Book Festival, here’s your chance. Check out the list below for some exciting events, including opportunities for continuing education credit.

BookExpo Online
Dates: May 26-May 28
Schedule: Check out online sessions schedule here. Most events will take via Facebook Live, with more details on the individual session pages.
Cost: Free
About: Normally in person, 2020’s BookExpo will now be online! The first day will feature a full slate of education sessions geared toward libraries and librarians; later sessions feature the event’s popular Adult and Children’s Book Breakfasts (now converted to dinners!) where literary giants and celebrity authors gather in conversation. Also on the schedule are the beloved BookExpo Buzz sessions (Adult, YA, and Middle Grade), where they’ll explore the breakout titles slated to become bestsellers.

School Library Journal Day of Dialog
Dates: May 27
Schedule: Available here with more details upon registration
Cost: Free with registration
Important to note: Certificates of completion will be provided to submit for CE credits. Upon completion of a course/session, attendees will receive a certificate of completion that will include the # of continuing education hours.
About: More than 40 authors and publishers will participate in this Day of Dialog, talking about the latest and most exciting forthcoming titles for children, tweens, and teens, ranging from picture books and nonfiction to graphic novels and YA. There will be a virtual exhibit hall to network with leading publishers, enjoy additional author chats, and download digital galleys as well as other free resources and giveaways.

BookConline (virtual BookCon)
Dates: May 30-31
Schedule: Online sessions schedule available here, many of which will take place via Facebook Live
Cost: Free
About: BookConline will feature sessions throughout each day with different authors and publishers to give participants a front-row look at debut books and behind-the-scenes peeks at favorite titles. Most events will be run through BookCon’s Facebook page, including trivia and ARC giveaways.

Bronx Book Festival 2020
Dates: June 6
Schedule: Forthcoming, speakers and panelists available here
Cost: Free with registration
About: The Bronx Book Festival, curated by The Bronx is Reading, will be online this year. The festival aims to promote literacy and foster a love of reading among children, teens, and adults. The festival will cover a wide range of topics relevant to the Bronx community through panels, workshops, and more with award-winning and bestselling authors, illustrators, and creators. Join keynote speakers Jason Reynolds and Gabby Rivera for this event that spotlights the local book community.

The More The Merrier? A Review of Alya and the Three Cats

51YQcMBalhL._SX388_BO1,204,203,200_Alya and the Three Cats
Written by Amina Hachimi Alaoui, illustrated by Maya Fidawi, and translation by Mehdi Retnani
Published by CrackBoom! Books
Available June 16, 2020

Minouche, Pasha, and Amir have the perfect, lovely life. They are three cats who live a pet-filled life with Maryam and Sami. But one day, Maryam’s belly begins to grow, and soon there is a new addition to the family. What will the cats do with the arrival of a new baby?

This darling picture book by Amina Hachimi Alauoi is filled with specificity: in the personalities of cat trio and the particularities of their worries and adjustment to life with a newborn. These specifics are matched by Maya Fidawi’s intricate illustrations, which have soft and appealing cats as well as beautiful textiles and architecture. The author and illustrator depict the fear and unknown that can accompany a new sibling: parental time can be focused elsewhere, there are new sounds and people afoot, and unexpected changes can disrupt routines. This delightful read reassures even the most fretful mind, “to love is to share.”

Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2020—Online Special Edition

 

BCBF 2019 Jen entry

Butler Center Curator (that’s me!) at BCBF 2019

Since the decisions were made to first postpone, then cancel, the in-person BCBF event this spring, organizers have been hard at work transitioning all possible events and content to online activities. And from the opening session to awards presentations, digital exhibits to discussion panels they have made quite a pivot in the last few weeks. So if you have always wanted to attend the Fair, but haven’t gotten the opportunity, well here’s your chance to get a taste of Bologna (then head to Italy next year to taste the tortellini and gelato as well!).

 

The Details:

When: May 4-7, 2020

Where: Bologna Children’s Book Fair (this should take you to the English language site, but if not there is an option for English at the top right of the page)

Who: While BCBF is essentially a rights fair, there is a wide variety of content for books lovers of all sorts.

Why: Books—of course!

Get a sneak peek of what to expect on the Live Events preview page.

Some of what I’m most excited about:

OPENING SESSION: NEW NORMAL: HOW CHILDREN’S PUBLISHERS ARE ADAPTING TO A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD—Monday, May 4th at 11 am (*Central European Summer Time or 7 hours ahead of Chicago’s Central Daylight Time)—Focusing on children’s publishing during the worldwide lockdown and the perspectives of the industry in a world redesigned by this global experience.

IBBY VIRTUAL PRESS CONFERENCE 2020—Monday, May 4th at 2:30pm (Central European Summer Time)—Announcements and awards presentations.

BCBF GALLERIES—Artwork and Book Exhibitions 

*Unless you’re a very early riser, you‘ll be checking these out after the fact, like me.

Check out the Digital Kit for hashtags, fun filters, and social channels for finding BCBF events.

After you’ve seen just some of the wonderful fair content and amazing new books, and dreamed about attending, save the date for next year’s fair April 12-15, 2021. And stay tuned for how you might join the Dominican SOIS course next spring!

 

 

Don’t Trust Your Cravings: A Review of When We Vanished

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When We Vanished (Call of the Crow Quartet, Book One)
Written by Alanna Peterson
Published by Rootcity Press
Available June 2, 2020

After Andi Lin’s family record store goes bust, her dad enlists in a clinical trial run by food corporation Nutrexo that promises big bucks. But when Andi cannot get in touch with him, she starts to worry—especially when she learns that Nutrexo’s involved in a harmful research study. Andi’s next-door neighbor Cyrus is also wary of Nutrexo; his mom worked for them years ago, and he knows she’s keeping secrets from her family.

Alanna Peterson writes a complex and compelling mystery that indicts the U.S. food industry. Even the most innocent-seeming things take on a scary new meaning in When We Vanished. Take Blazin Bitz, that delectable chip from Nutrexo: no one can resist them! And soon enough Andi, Cyrus, and Cyrus’ siblings know why when the break into SILO, Nutrexo’s  top-secret research facility. What they discover there is not for the squeamish. These instances of violence, medical experimentation, and animal cruelty—while crucial to the plot—may upset readers. But there is also plenty for readers to enjoy: wonderful recipes and food imagery, teenage crushes, and unyielding family bonds. These enjoyable parts don’t play second fiddle to the action—the relationships and personalities that make up the characters’ world drive this thriller into unexpected places. With so many overlapping plots, even one concerning the main villain’s background, you’d think the reader would lose track. Not so—every single story sucks you in. Good thing When We Vanished is the only the first installment of the Call of the Crow Quartet. There is plenty of material here for a series.

 

Butler Bookshelf

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This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’ve delving into breakups. Friend breakups. In When Your Were Everything, Ashley Woodfolk explores what happens when a teenage friendship implodes, going from nourishing to destructive. For lighter fare, there are also some great new reads like My Life As A Potato and The Third Mushroom, check out the list below for more!

Amelia Fang and the Rainbow Rangers
Written by Laura Ellen Anderson
Published by Delacorte Books For Young Readers
Available March 31, 2020

My Life As A Potato
Written by Arianne Costner
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

What Matters Most
Written by Emma Dodd
Published by Templar
Available now!

The Third Mushroom
Written by Jennifer L. Holm
Published by Yearling
Available now!

Superhero Mom
Written By Timothy Knapman and illustrated by Joe Berger
Published by Nosy Crow
Available now!

The Fabled Life of Aesop: The extraordinary journey and collected tales of the world’s greatest storyteller
Written by Ian Lendler and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available now!

When You Were Everything
Written by Ashley Woodfolk
Published by Delacorte Press
Available now!

The Period Manifesto We All Need: A Review of Go With The Flow

9781250143174.jpgGo With The Flow
Written by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann; illustrated by Lily Williams
Published by First Second
Available January 14, 2020
Ages 10+

Imagine you’re the new girl at Hazelton High, just trying to figure out her locker combination when all of a sudden everyone is staring at you, pointing at you, laughing. You have no idea what’s going on until a friendly face, no three friendly faces, appear and whisk you to the restroom. There you learn you got your period, and that it bled through onto your pants. Oh, yeah, and everybody saw. That’s what happens to Sasha, Hazelton High’s newest sophomore. She was feeling alone before, but now? Well, now she has three new buds—Abby, Brit, and Christina—who have her back. But while Abby freely hands over her emergency pad, the girls realize: all the pad and tampon machines are out of supplies. Always!

The main story revolves around this diverse friend group fighting for female health and empowerment, but it’s about much more: questioning your sexuality, the boundaries of friendship, and finding your place in the world. This graphic novel, with images depicted in spot-on red hues, is warm and appealing. Folks mess up, and conflict between friends is explored with “calling in” and understanding rather than shame and exclusion. Moreover, this graphic novel normalizes menstrual talk and posits that openness about menstruation is necessary for women’s wellbeing. In their authors’ note, Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann say they wanted to create the story they needed when they were growing up, and they deliver. Williams and Schneemann share their own experiences with period pain and fluctuating menstrual cycles; they offer readers valuable resources for their own health and changing bodies, aimed at pre-teens and teens alike.

Butler Bookshelf

bookshelf 3.3.2020.jpgOn this beautiful March day, we’re so blessed with this bevy of picture books. Check out our list below!

On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson
Written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
Published by Chronicle Books
Available now!

Like the Moon Loves the Sky
Written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Saffa Khan
Published by Chronicle Books
Available March 10!

Barkus: Dog Dreams (Book 2)
Written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Marc Boutavant
Published by  Chronicle Books
Available April 7, 2020

My Friend Earth
Written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Francesca Sanna
Published by Chronicle Books
Available now!

My Brother The Duck
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Published by Chronicle Books
Available April 21, 2020

Unstoppable
Written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Laura Park
Published by Chronicle Books
Available May 5, 2020

How to Put an Octopus to Bed
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
Published by Chronicle Books
Available March 31, 2020