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!

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

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Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but we’ve still got love stories on our mind. This week’s Butler Bookshelf includes some star-crossed couples, like those in If You Only Knew by Prerna Pickett and Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon.

In The Shadow of the Sun
Written by Em Castellan
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Available now!

The Ocean Calls
Written by Tina Cho and illustrated by Jesse X. Snow
Published by Kokila
Available August 4, 2020

With A Star In My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero
Written by Margarita Engle
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written and illustrated by Anna Kim
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
Available July 7, 2020

In A Garden
Written by Tim McCanna and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro
Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Available now!

Of Curses and Kisses
Written by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now!

If You Only Knew
Written by Prerna Pickett
Published by Swoon Reads
Available now!

Butler Bookshelf

A graphic novel that centers women’s health and female friendship? Yes, please! Go With The Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann is just one of the fabulous books we received at the Butler Center this week. Check out the list below for more!

Snakes on the Job
Written and illustrated by Kathryn Dennis
Published by Feiwel and Friends
Available now!

Catching a Russian Spy: Agent Leslie G. Wiser Jr. and the Case of Aldrich Ames
Written by Bryan Denson
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Available now!

Hostile Territory
Written by Paul Greci
Published by Imprint
Available now!

Baby Shark!
Illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Published by Henry Holt and Company
Available now!

My So-Called Superpowers: All the Feels
Written by Heather Nuhfer and illustrated by Simini Blocker
Published by Imprint
Available now!

Go With The Flow
Written and illustrated by Karen Schneemann and Lily Williams
Published by First Second
Available now!

You’ve Got Great Taste!

As Thanksgiving nears and the weather turns colder, we want to highlight what brings us togetherwhat better combination than food and books? Please enjoy this delectable selection of food-inspired reads, many of which include recipes to share!

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Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by Kat Zhang and illustrated by Charlene Chua
Published by Aladdin
Available now
Ages 4-8
Amy Wu loves bao, a filled dumpling with fluffy dough. But for Amy, even though her entire family makes excellent bao—she cannot. The picture book is an energetic run-through of a family coming together and preparing a treasured food. Charlene Chua’s images leap off the page—so much energy! Kat Zhang writes of a kiddo with an affinity for food and a resilient spirit. Zhang also includes pronunciation help for those unfamiliar with how to pronounce the word “bao” plus a recipe for them. Very delicious.

bilal-cooks-daal.jpgBilal Cooks Daal
Written by Aisha Saeed and illustrated by Anoosha Syed
Published by Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster
Available now
Ages 4-8
This is a charming picture book introducing the South Asian dish daal to Bilal’s friends—and perhaps the reader. Illustrator Anoosha Syed depicts the children’s wide-eyed facial expressions—and her depiction of the pantry is excellent, featuring the traditional names for the types of lentils used in the daal. A very sweet and familiar portion of the picture book comes when Bilal’s two friends, speaking to themselves, confide to each other that daal looks and smells funny—it’s not familiar to them! Bilal overhears and worries. Aisha Saeed’s choice to include this moment is important and telling and helpful for any youngster to hear that those feelings are normal. In the end, though, the daal is delicious. Author Aisha Saeed included a contextual note about daal in South Asian, specifically Pakistani, cuisine—and includes a recipe for Chana Daal.

CookingWithBear.jpgCooking with Bear: A Story and Recipes from the Forest
Written by Deborah Hodge and illustrated by Lisa Cinar
Published by Groundwood Books/ House of Anansi Press
Available now
Ages 4-7
Cooking with Bear is a combination picture book and cookbook populated with Lisa Cinar’s water-color illustrations. The pictures are accessible and curious, much like Bear’s woodland friends who want nothing more than to learn how to cook as Bear does. Deborah Hodge’s cookbook implicitly encourages eating whole, natural foods that are available seasonally. The recipes – a few include nuts and dairy – are nourishing and are a lovely opportunity for child-and-adult cooking. Many recipes call for food processors, chopping or dicing with knives, as well as simmering and sautéing on a stovetop. This cooperative cookbook is a lovely way to introduce children to eating seasonally.

FryBread.jpgFry Bread: A Native American Family Story
Written by Kevin Noble Maillard and Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by Roaring Book Press
Available now
Ages 3-6

Fry bread is community, history, and love. The work by Kevin Noble Maillard, with warm illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, tackles the history of indigenous people in what is now the United States. Fry bread is distilled to its emotional essence—art, time, place. The story invites the reader to learn about the history, both through its lyrical telling and through the author’s note at the book’s end; the note contains often-ignored, vital information about the history of Native Americans. Finally, Fry Bread concludes with an eponymous recipe that readers will be eager to try.

GrandpaCacao.jpgGrandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, From Farm to Family
Written and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Published by Bloomsbury
Available now
Ages 3-6
On a little girl’s birthday, a father and daughter bake a cake together, and he tells her the story of Grandpa Cacao, a farmer on the Ivory Coast. Zunon juxtaposes past with present, connecting the child to Grandpa Cacao despite their geographic distances.  After the cake is baked, there is a surprise at the door that truly connects the two. Zunon describes the difficult, community work of harvesting cacao, and her note on the current cacao trade is a thoughtful inclusion.  Also included is a Chocolate Celebration Cake Recipe.

WhatYouEat.jpegWhat You Eat: Pictures and Answers for the Curious Mind
Written and illustrated by Valorie Fisher
Published by Orchard Books/Scholastic
Available now
Ages 4-7
Creative photography with a mathematical twist details the complexity of what’s in everyday foods (vanilla ice cream, dill pickle, honey, apple, corn, peanut butter and jelly, pizza). Accessible language and photography diagram how basic food comes to fruition. The conclusion of the book uses MyPlate language and features a breakdown of the vitamins and minerals present in many foods. The back of the book also features a “words to know” vocabulary section. This nonfiction picture book is a nice investigation into how we get the foods we know so well.

LittleLunch.jpegLittle Lunch: Triple Treats
Written by Danny Katz and illustrated by Mitch Vane
Published by Candlewick
Available now
Ages 6-9
The latest from the Little Lunch series is a trio of snack-sized tales with jaunty illustrations. Oversized emotions and situation comedy rule these vignettes set during a typical elementary school day. Little Lunch: Triple Treats is an excellent entry into early chapter books, with simple storylines but plenty of action to keep momentum going. The book series is also the inspiration for a mockumentary-style television program now on Netflix.

PieintheSky.hpeg.jpgPie in the Sky
Written by Remy Lai
Published by Henry Holt
Available now
Ages 8-11
Jingwen is 12-year-old stuck in grief following his father’s death and a move to Australia, far away from his grandparents’ bakery. Isolated and lonely in a classroom where he doesn’t speak the language, Jingwen turns his attention to baking cakes, something he and his father did together. Now Jingwen does this alone—or almost alone, he includes his little brother while his mother works nights (it’s their secret). But Jingwen’s confectionery-focused mind ignores two big facts: 1) he’s not allowed to use the oven or stove unsupervised and 2) he has no money for fancy ingredients. What ensues is a bittersweet tale of a kid who’s hungry for something to assuage his sadness—and doesn’t always go in the best way to get it.

HungryHearts.jpgHungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love
Edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now
Ages 12+
These thirteen interconnected stories tell about what happens on Hungry Heart Row, a street chock full of the best restaurants you can imagine. Familiar themes with some occasional supernatural elements populate this tremendous collection. The stories feature a mix of rom-com (a teenage love columnist decides to take her own advice in “The Grand Ishq Adventure” by Sandhya Menon), family and community lore (Charlie’s and his grandmother’s ghost-seeing burden in “The Slender One” by Caroline Tung Richmond), and true terror (Rebecca Roanhorse’s eerie tale “The Missing Ingredient” about a mother, daughter, and a middling restaurant). Whatever you do, don’t read this #OwnVoices anthology hungry—your mouth will soon be watering.

 

Fear Of The Unknown: A Review of How We Became Wicked

How We Became Wicked
By Alexander Yates
Atheneum
July 23rd, 2019
Grades 8 and above

Several decades have passed since the outbreak of a virus know as “wicked” which has devastated the world, leaving few survivors. Contracted from mosquito like bugs known as “singers”, the “wicked” turns people into homicidal maniacs. The town of Goldsport has built a glass dome around their community to prevent singers from entering and spreading the “wicked”. Astrid, the only person in the town who is immune to the singers, is desperate to leave Goldsport and go to Puffin Island where a mysterious lighthouse shines. Yet, every time she brings up the lighthouse or the island, the people in her town dismiss her, clearly trying to hide something. Meanwhile, on Puffin Island, Natalie and her family struggle to survive with their dwindling resources and constant vigilance of her “wicked” grandfather. When her mother gives birth, Natalie must go to the mainland by herself to try to get her sister “vexed” a type of immunization that would make her newborn sister immune to the “singers”. While on the mainland she meets other people for the first time in her life, people who seem a little too fascinated by her purple glowing “vexed” eyes. Told through intersecting adventures, both girls eventually learn that ordinary people can be just as wicked as the “wicked”; they can even be worse.
Yates creates a world that is constantly teetering on the brink of collapse, where the slightest push could destroy everything. This book grapples with questions of morality, asking who gets to decide who survives? Is survival worth letting others die? A gripping book from front to cover, this book is perfect for the spooky season.

Spooky Stories If You Dare!

This fall season, Butler Center turns its attention to the things that go bump in the night. Ghosts, goblins, and the neighbors next door. We’ve handpicked some spooky tales for all ages and all scaredy-cat levels. We rated the books on a zero to five pumpkin scale (zero pumpkins means not scary at all; five pumpkins means prepare for the fright of your life). Grab some hot cider and settle down with one of our picks!

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Click, Clack, Boo! A Tricky Treat
Written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Published by Little Simon
Age range: 0-3 years
Available now
This board book has plenty of sound effects and emotive illustrations. This lighthearted Halloween tale is not scary, except for one mysterious and spooky character wearing a cape.
Scary Rating: Half a pumpkin out of five pumpkins

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Pick a Pumpkin
Written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis
Published by Candlewick
Age range: 3-8 years
Available now
This picture book is saturated with sunset colors and family outings. Not at all frightening, this is the book to read to get children in the mood for fall.
Scary Rating: zero pumpkins out of five pumpkins 

The Forgotten Girl.jpgThe Forgotten Girl
Written by India Hill Brown
Published by Scholastic Press
Ages 8-12 years
Available November 5, 2019
The Forgotten Girl is a tale about the ghosts of segregation and racism. When Iris happens upon an unmarked grave during the first snowfall of the season—her curiosity is sparked, but so is her imagination. Real-life ghosts and family peril are supplemented by disturbing historical accuracies. This book is not lighthearted, but it is meaningful and scary all at the same time.
Scary Rating: 4 pumpkins out of 5 pumpkins 

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Guest: A Changeling Tale
Written by Mary Downing Hahn
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Ages 8-12 years
Available now
Veteran scary storyteller Mary Downing Hahn elicits frights and dread with her folkloric tale of switched infant boys. Mollie sings praises on her beautiful baby brother Thomas, a mistake if the Kinde Folke hear, which they do and soon enough her brother is stolen and replaced by a changeling child from another world. As Mollie and her family turn on this changeling, Mollie vows to return this “guest” and get her brother back. An eerie atmospheric tale, you can feel the fog and dread seep into your bones as Mollie traverses to the deep, deep wood. The cruelty in the book is not terrifying, but it is unsettling. This is a spooky book well-suited for reading under blankets.
Scary Rating: 3 pumpkins out of 5 pumpkins 

Scary Stories for Young Foxes.jpgScary Stories for Young Foxes
Written by Christian McKay Heidicker and illustrated by Junyi Wu
Published by MacMillan/Henry Holt
Ages 8-12 years
This story-within-a-story is downright frightening. Family loss, turmoil, gore, with the backdrop of survival of the fittest make for a thrilling read. Young readers will grapple with death and consequences, but the affection throughout makes it downright endearing, too. This is a tale that begs to be read aloud.
Scary Rating: 3 pumpkins out of 5 pumpkins 

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The Okay Witch
Written and illustrated by Emma Steinkellner
Published by Aladdin
Age Range: 10-14 years
Available now
The Okay Witch is a fast-paced adventure that summons generational legacies and hurtful histories. Moth Hush takes on a lot for a thirteen year old: bullying at school, a complicated family life, and new witching abilities. Witch-hunting and execution are balanced by a charming cat and a budding friendship.
Scary Rating: 1 pumpkin out of 5 pumpkins 

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Life Is Short and Then You Die: Mystery Writers of America Presents First Encounters with Murder
Edited by Kelley Armstrong
Published by Imprint
Ages 14+ years
What makes this collection of short stories so eerie is that many of these stories are too relatable— online message board run amok and the danger of “nice guys” to name a few.  This anthology blends contemporary fare with a few historical stories with very little paranormal activity. The collection’s main focus is the horror of the everyday. Teens can browse around to find stories that suit their mood.
Scary Rating: 4.5 pumpkins out of 5 pumpkins

Butler Bookshelf

Some new titles we’re eager to read!

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Slay
Written by Brittney Morria
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now

What Makes Us
Written by Raffi Mittlefehldt
Published by Candlewick
Available October 15, 2019

The Tornado
Written by Jake Burt
Published by Macmillan / Feiwel and Friends
Available now

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue
by Karina Yan Glaer
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Available now

Maybe He Just Likes You
Written by Barbara  Dee
Published by Aladdin
Available October 22, 2019

Cursed
Written by Thomas Wheeler and illustrated by Frank Miller
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available now

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by Kat Zhang and illustrated by Charlene Chua
Published by Aladdin
Available now

Butler Bookshelf

 

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Here are a few titles we received this week that we’re excited to read!

The Tenth Girl
Written by Sara Faring
Published by Macmillan / Imprint
Available now

Suffragette : The Battle for Equality
Written and Illustrated by  David Roberts
Published by Walker Books US
Available October 8, 2019

Explorers
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Published by Macmillan / Feiwel and Friends
Available now

A World of Discovery
Written by Richard Platt
Illustrated by James Brown
Published by Candlewick Studios
Available now