Butler Bookshelf

Any book about an aspiring trapeze artist has our full attention–that’s why we’re so eager to leap into Harley in the Sky, a new read in teen fiction by Akemi Dawn Bowman. Oh, and did we mention it features a traveling circus named named Maison du Mystère? For more great reads, check out the rest of the Butler Bookshelf for new publications and info on ALA’s National Library Week, which runs from April 19-25!

Harley in the Sky
Written by Akemi Dawn Bowman
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now!

Spindle and Dagger
Written by J. Anderson Coats
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Mermaid Moon
Written by Susann Cokal
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Houndsley and Catina at the Library
Written by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

The Degenerates
Written by J. Albert Mann
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Available now!

A Wish in the Dark
Written by Christina Soontornvat
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

For more on ALA’s National Library Week:

ALA National Library Week

The theme for National Library Week, “Find your place at the library,” was chosen months ago before the emergence of a global pandemic forced most libraries to temporarily close their buildings.

While most libraries have closed their buildings to the public in the interest of community health and safety, they are open for business online, providing the virtual services and digital content their communities need now more than ever. Many libraries have expanded their access to digital content and found innovative ways to continue their programming virtually.

To highlight these efforts, we decided to build on the original National Library Week theme by flipping the text to “Find the library at your place.” For more tools for librarians, please check out the site.

Teddy-pocalypse: A Review of Spark and the League of Ursus

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Spark and the League of Ursus
By Robert Repino
March 24, 2020
Published by Quirk Books
Grades 5-7

The code of the League of Ursus states, “Bears serve. Bear watch. Bears protect. Always and forever” (Repino, 35). After the beast Jakmal enter Loretta’s room and tries to kidnap her, it is up to her teddy-bear Spark and the other members of the League of Ursus to uphold the code and stop this beast from stealing their owners. Loretta’s older brother Matthew and their friend Sofia have already been kidnapped by Jakmal; can Spark save the kids and Loretta before it’s too late? Teaming up with Matthew’s teddy-bear Sir Reginald, Loretta’s sock-monkey Zed, and neighborhood toys Ozzie, Lulu, and Rana, Amazon Princes ™, Spark prepares for the most important battle of her life. Though they may look cute, these teddy-bears can be deadly when trying to protect the ones they love.

Repino masterfully blends whimsy and horror in this thrilling middle grade novel. There are some particularly gruesome battle scenes that describe the mutilation of some of the teddy-bears. Of course, being teddy-bears, they can patch themselves up with relative ease helping to alleviate some of the horror being described. Intense from the start, this book poignantly deals with issues of growing up, loss, and finding one’s purpose. A perfect novel for those who wished that Toy Story was more action packed.

Exquisite Eels: A Review of The Superpower Field Guide: Eels

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The Superpower Field Guide: Eels
By Rachel Poliquin
Illustrated by Nicholas John Frith
July 23, 2020
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Grades 4-7

The latest entry into The Superpower Field Guide series is just as electrifying as the last three! In this Superpower Field Guide, Poliquin does a deep dive into the mystery of the European Eel that has baffled scientists for centuries. Following one such eel named Olenka, Polquin reveals the ten different superpowers of the European Eel, the life cycle of these eels, and uncovers the mystery of their birth. Sprinkled with fun facts, quizzes, and 50’s style illustrations, Poliquin will completely change how you see and think about European Eels!

It’s clear from the start that Poliquin has done her research on all things eel, informing readers of the difference between imposter eels like the electric eel and true eels like the European Eel. Backmatter includes a glossary, list of books for further reading, and videos for interested readers. Frith illustrations give the field guide a retro style, reminiscent of field guides made by the boy scouts. Interesting and entertaining this is book can be enjoyed by everyone—not just marine biologists!

Mind Over Matter? A Review of The Edge of Anything

41ijEI30ipL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe Edge of Anything
Written by Nora Shalaway Carpenter
Published by Running Press Kids
Available March 24, 2020
Ages 13+

Sage is going places: she’s a varsity senior on her school volleyball squad, scouted by Penn State and UNC. But when a court accident leads to a medical disqualification, she’s sent reeling. Her family isn’t helping, and her teammates just don’t get it. But then she meets high school loner Len. Len isn’t going places: Len’s stuck. Ever since a family tragedy, her photography has lacked life and Len has been picking up strange fears: most recently, dirt and the diseases it holds—even though she used to hike the Asheville mountains every day. As Sage and Len’s friendship grows, so does their willingness to face their inner turmoil.

In some ways, this is a tough read. Len, a gifted artist, struggles with grief and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder amidst a troubling family backdrop—a family of free thinkers who believe the mind is enough to cure what ails. Sage, faced with devastating and scary news of a genetic medical condition, also struggles and shuts out her family and friends. Both teenage girls exhibit scary signs that something is wrong, but families, teachers, coaches, and teammates are unable to get through to either girl. Despite the serious topics (mental health, grief, genetic conditions), both Sage and Len are fully realized teenagers—and their big deal topics are imbued with adolescent attitude. Sage doesn’t mean to ice out her teammates, but she thinks that they should be able to intuit what kind of support she needs. Len does not want anyone to feel pity for her family, so she doesn’t seek help or confide in anyone about their financial circumstances. Author Nora Shalaway Carpenter writes the girls’ stories with great care. Her author’s note details her own experience with trauma-induced Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In addition to her own story, she spotlights mental health resources at the close of the book.

 

Butler Bookshelf

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Top on our TBR list? A story about a girl, her grandmother, and an alternate reality–steeped in magic. Diana Abu-Jaber’s Silverworld has us longing to cast spells and learn from our elders. For more great reads, check out the list below!

Silverworld
Written by Diana Abu-Jaber
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Awesome Dog 5000 vs. Major Bossypants (Book 2)
Written by Justin Dean
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Golden Arm
Written by Carl Deuker
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available on April 7, 2020

On The Horizon
Written by Lois Lowry and illustrated by Kenard Pak
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available on April 7, 2020

Bloom (The Overthrow Book 1)
Written by Kenneth Oppel
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Twin
Written by Natasha Preston
Published by Delacorte
Available now!

Brave (American Dog)
Written by Jennifer Li Shotz
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Available on April 7, 2020

Taking the Reins (An Ellen & Ned Book)
Written by Jane Smiley
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Stargirl (Movie Tie in Edition)
Written by Jerry Spinelli
Published by Ember
Available now!

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
Written by Jeff Zentner
Published by Ember
Available now!

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.