Butler Bookshelf

We’re so excited about this week’s batch of new books, including Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story. A fry bread recipe comes at the end of this warm picture book–as well as an author’s note that provides history to this lyrical work.

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
Written by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Available now

Our Wayward Fate
Written by Gloria Chao
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now

Light It Up
Written by Kekla Magoon
Published by Henry Holt
Available now

From A Small Seed – The Story of Eliza Hamilton
Written by Camille Andros and illustrated by Tessa Blackham
Published by Holt Books for Young Readers
Available now

Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace
Written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan
Published by Atheneum
Available now

Butler Bookshelf

We received some tremendous new books this week, including just-released Parker Looks Up, the story of young Parker Curry and Amy Sherald’s portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery.

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment
Written by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry and illustrated by Brittany Jackson
Published by Aladdin
Available October 15, 2019

An ABC of Equality
Written by Chana Ginelle Ewing and illustrated by Paulina Morgan
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now

A World Full of Spooky Stories: 50 Tales to Make Your Spine Tingle
Written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Madalina Adronic
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now

My Kindergarten In 100 Words
Illustrated by Sophie Beer
Published by words & pictures
Available now

The Map Challenge: A Book about Dyslexia (SEN Superpowers)
Written by Tracy Packiam Alloway and illustrated by Ana Sanfelippo
Published by QEB Publishing
Available now

Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past & Present
Written by Arabelle Sicardi and illustrated by Sarah Tanat-Jones
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now

Mythologica: An Encyclopedia of Gods, Monsters and Mortals From Ancient Greece
Written by Steve Kershaw and illustrated by Victoria Topping
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now

The Rocking Book of Rocks: An Illustrated Guide to Everything Rocks, Gems, and Minerals
Written by Amy Ball and Florence Bullough and illustrated by Anna Alanko
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now

My Love Language is Snack Food: A Review of Permanent Record

Permanent Record
Written by Mary H. K. Choi
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Ages: 14+
Published: September 3, 2019

Nineteen-year-old Pablo Neruda Rind is a lot of things: snack food aficionado, NYU dropout, and deeply in debt. He’s working the night shift at a bodega when the stars align (or the pop stars align): superstar Leanna Smart comes in, picks out snacks, and sparks fly. Soon Pablo has two separate lives: the jet-setter life with Leanna and the one he’s avoiding back home. But you can only avoid debt collectors, parents, and roommates for so long.

Is this a love story? No. This is the story of a 19-year-old who simply cannot get it together. Pablo is whip-smart and talented and absolutely maddening. Why? Because author Mary H. K. Choi captures the haziness and frustration of almost-adulthood with perfect pitch. The romance between Pablo and Leanna isn’t that far-fetched on paper—her megastar life is paparazzi-ridden and exhausting, his life is debt-ridden and tiring.  This romance lets them both disconnect from what drains them. The difference is that Leanna is committed to her popstar life, whereas Pablo wants to check out of his. Which he does. It is not an easy feat, because, for all its complications, Pablo’s life is filled with people who love him. Watching him blow off his little brother or screen his mom’s calls aren’t easy for the reader. But it is possible for Pablo because he’s got his own script: his single mom is wedded to her work, she won’t even take them to Korea to visit their family; his dad is no role model, a Princeton engineer who now dabbles in playwriting? Please. And his little brother? Well, if his little brother knew about Leanna Smart, he would understand. The thing is, Pablo’s family and friends—heck, even his bosses at the bodega!—they do understand. But Pablo doesn’t hear it. At least, he doesn’t hear it, until finally, finally he does.

This is an excellent read for anyone who doesn’t know what they want to be when they grow up.

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.

 

Woman on the Mountain: A Review of At the Mountain’s Base

download

At the Mountain’s Base
By Traci Sorell
Illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre
Kokila September 17, 2019
Ages Pre K-8

In At the Mountain’s Base, Traci Sorell shares the story of a Cherokee family tucked in a cozy cabin, preparing a daily meal as grandmother weaves nearby. As the family works, they sing, focusing their thoughts on a loved one, a US Air Force pilot “protecting and defending” far away. The family’s love and worries unfold in this simple, lyrical poem. Every sentence in the poem starts with a prepositional phrase, “On that stove,” “Around that grandmother,” “Within their song.” This consistent, cohesive pattern draws the reader in and pulls them gently through the family’s actions, those centered around a warm stove and those performed far off in the sky. Weshoyot Alvitre’s realistic illustrations clearly capture the different family members’ emotions, showing their love, worry, and pride. The Cherokee family highlighted in the poem is fictional. However, Sorell’s author’s note provides factual notes on the role of women from American Indian and Alaska Native Nations within the US Armed Forces. She specifically details the role of Ola Mildred “Millie” Rexroat, the only Native woman to serve as a Women Airforce Service Pilot during World War II. As a registered citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Traci Sorell reveals the American Indian experience in a voice as authentic and respectful as in her previous picture book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga (Charlesbridge, 2018). At the Mountain’s Base is a wonderful homage to Native veterans everywhere.

Many thanks to local author, SCBWI-IL member, and guest reviewer, Michelle Schaub. Schaub is a children’s poet and teacher from Downers Grove, Illinois. Her second poetry collection, FINDING TREASURE: A COLLECTION OF COLLECTIONS (Charlesbridge, 2019), shares a release date with AT THE MOUNTAIN’S BASE on September 17th. Learn more about Michelle and her books at http://www.michelleschaub.com

Apples and Ectoplasm: A Review of The Right One for Roderic

81dqpmXCxML

The Right One for Roderic
By Violeta Noy
July 9, 2019
Pre-K to 2nd Grade

Roderic is the smallest ghost in his family and longs to stand out. He often feels like his family doesn’t notice him, which makes him feel smaller than he already is. Everyone in Roderic’s family wears white sheets which makes them all look the same.  Reflecting on what he can do to make himself more noticeable to the other members of his family, Roderic decides to change how he looks. He tries wearing hats, scarves, and even taking off his white sheet and changing his wardrobe entirely, but his family does not approve of his fashion choices. Thinking that people in the city will appreciate his fashion sense, Roderic leaves to the city only to find that they don’t notice him either. When he returns home his family is relieved to see him and cover him in a white sheet. Not wanting to settle, Roderic finally finds the perfect outfit—a white sheet with apples on it. Roderic announces to his family that he does not care if his family wants to wear white sheets, he is going to be different. Roderic is not only accepted by his family, but his family follows his lead and starts to experiment with their fashion too.

The digital illustrations are simple and the use of color helps to highlight the loneliness that Roderic feels in the beginning of the story, and later the acceptance he feels at the end of the story. While the message itself is nothing new, the book is quite touching, once again reminding  readers that is okay to be yourself.

A Burning Sky of Pain–A Review of The Weight of our Sky

the weight of our sky

The Weight of Our Sky
By Hanna Alkaf
Simon & Schuster
February 5, 2019
Grades:  9 and up

Melati Ahmad is a sixteen-year-old Malaysian girl of Malay descent who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)—however, Melati believes that her OCD is actually the work of a djinn. Since the death of her father, Melati’s greatest fear has been the death of her mother. She counts by threes—her compulsive behavior—to appease the djinn and save her mother, along with everyone else she loves, from dying. On May 13, 1969, Melati is thrown into a world of chaos when the race riots between the Chinese and Malays begin. While at the movies with her best friend Saf, men with weapons break into the theater. Although Melati is saved by a Chinese-Malaysian stranger, she is forced to leave Saf behind if she wants to survive. Overcome with guilt, Mel teams up with Auntie Bee’s son Vince to try and find her mother who see she has not seen since the beginning of the riots. Melati is forced to confront her djinn and find her inner strength in order to stand up for what she believes in, find her mother, and protect the people she loves.

Alkaf is unafraid to make a book that is completely and utterly of her homeland. Alkaf’s note at the beginning of the book is spot on, letting readers know of the many possible triggers within the book and lets readers know that it is okay if they are not ready to read the book at this time. This is a powerful and brutally honest book that provides a very real look at what OCD looks like in a high-stress situation, which help builds the tension within the book.  It is thoughtfully and beautifully written, vividly capturing a time of terror from the eyes of a teenaged girl who just wants her mother.