Welcome to the online presence of the Butler Children's Literature Center, housed in Dominican's SOIS and generously supported by the Butler Family Foundation. Here, we celebrate the best in books for youth and those who delight in sharing them. For Fall 2020, BCLC will offer collection access to the Dominican community by appointment only. Contact Jen Clemons at email@example.com to make arrangements or you can still reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are the little monsters in your library looking for not-so-spooky reads this season? Whether they want witches, ghosts, or some trick-or-treating fun—there’s a book for that! And check out Gustavo for a sweet Dia De Los Muertos ghost story.
Brooms Are for Flying Michael Rex Henry Holt/Godwin Books July 2020
In this board book adaptation, follow a little witch and her trick-or-treating friends as they dance through this introduction to traditional Halloween characters and symbols. A sweet treat.
Trick-or-Treat with Tow Truck Joe June Sobel, illustrated by Patrick Corrigan Houghton Mifflin Harcourt July 2020
Tow Truck Joe and his buddies are all dressed up for Halloween and ready to trick-or-treat, bob for apples, and have a frightfully-fun night on the town. Surprises under each flap are more friendly than scary, showing that even pirates and dragons can help a friend in need. A sweet treat.
Monsters 101 Cale Atkinson Random House/Doubleday August 2020
Everything you ever wanted to know about monsters and more! You’ll learn from top monster professors about monster names, habits, diet, history, and even their biggest fears—humans! A silly and spooky trick.
Gustavo the Shy Ghost Flavia Z. Drago Candlewick July 2020 Available in Spanish as Gustavo el Fantasmita Timido
Gustavo is shy and has a hard time making friends. In fact, the other ghosts and monsters see right through him. But he is also brave and invites them all to a Day of the Dead party to hear him play the violin. By sharing his talent he makes friends just by being himself. A sweet treat.
Bears and Boos Shirley Parenteau, illustrated by David Walker Candlewick July 2020
The bears are back and ready to create the perfect Halloween costumes. Chaos at the costume box ensues as the bears scramble for the perfect costumes. With one left out, the bears show their trademark kindness to outfit their friend just in time for the Halloween parade. A sweet treat.
This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’re reaching for The Suitcase, a new picture book by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros. In The Suitcase, a stranger arrives with just a suitcase, and everyone wants to know: why is the stranger here and where has the stranger come from, and what is in that suitcase? A story about kindness and perception, this picture book offers hope and empathy. For more great reads, check out the list below!
The Belonging Tree Written by Maryann Cocca-Leffler and illustrated by Kristine A. Lombardi Published by Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers Available now!
Catalyst Written by Sarah Beth Durst Published by Clarion Books Available now!
What Do You Do If You Work At The Zoo? Written by Steve Jenkins and Robert Page Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
First Prize for the Worst Witch Written and illustrated by Jill Murphy Published by Candlewick Available now!
The Suitcase Written and illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
The Con Code Written by Shana Silver Published by Swoon Reads Available now!
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15), here at the Butler Center, we’d like to highlight several publications from 2020 that we think are compelling, poignant, or dazzling stories about different Hispanic experiences! Our list is by no means all that has been published this year, nor could it ever encapsulate the many different Hispanic experiences. Instead, it is a sampling of several stories–from reimagined folk tales to navigating athletic ambitions to budding youth activists.
Federico and the Wolf Written by Rebecca J. Gomez and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion Books Available now! Ages 3-8 This joyful Mexican-American retelling of Little Red Riding Hood features vibrant artwork and a playful rhyming scheme. This tale features Federico, outfitted with a red hoodie and bicycle basket full of goodies, on his way to his Abuelo’s when he comes across el lobo. As Federico outwits the wolf, illustrator Elissa Chavarri’s artwork leaps off the page, with action and detail-work alike. Author Rebecca J. Gomez features food heavily in the story, with Spanish throughout. Gomez ends the picture book with a recipe for pico de gallo and a glossary of Spanish words.
Queen of Tejano Music: Selena Written by Silvia López and illustrated by Paola Escobar Published by little bee books Available now! Ages 5-9 In this picture book biography, Silvia López honors the late singer Selena in a descriptive account of the singer’s childhood and immersion in the music world. Starting at age nine, Selena Quintanilla began singing in her family’s band. The Tejano music world was dominated by men–not women or girls. Through hard work and talent, Selena became a superstar on the Tejano scene and later crossed over into mainstream American music. Illustrator Paola Escobar charts Selena’s rise with expressive artwork. While Selena’s career was tragically cut short, López focuses on her life. End matter explores Tejano music further, as well as provides a timeline for Selena’s life.
Stella Díaz Never Gives Up Written by Angela Dominguez Published by Macmillan/Roaring Brook Available now! Ages 7-10 The second in the Stella Díaz series, author and illustrator Angela Dominguez’s chapter book gets deeper into Stella’s development as a young environmental activist. Set during the summer, Stella is excited about her family trip to Mexico, where she’ll see the ocean, and eager to begin camp at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium. But soon Stella learns how the ocean is threatened by pollution–and she wants to do something about it! As Stella leans into her community and inspires friends and family alike to care about the ocean, readers will latch onto Stella’s enthusiasm. Dominguez’s note at the end offers more resources for helping with ocean conservation, as well as explains her choice to italicize the Spanish phrases throughout the book.
Ghost Squad Written by Claribel Ortega Published by Scholastic Press Available now! Ages 8-12 In this middle-grade fantasy, Dominican-American Lucely Luna and her family know ghosts–and they should! Lucely’s ancestors are part of their lives, appearing to them as fireflies or cucuyos. In the days leading up to Halloween, one of Lucely’s cucuyos fades. Worried and desperate, Lucely and her best friend Syd cast a spell to awaken the spirit–however, instead, they awaken evil spirits. As the evil spirits set on the city of St Augustine, Florida. To fight back and protect the city against the evil spirits, Lucely and Syd turn to Syd’s grandmother Babette. This action-packed read is filled with Dominican culture. The supernatural spookiness is juxtaposed with family love and warmth, making for a ghost story with heart.
Furia Written by Yamile Saied Méndez Published by Workman Publishing/Algonquin Young Readers Available now! Ages 14-18 Seventeen-year-old Camila Hassan has a secret. To her parents, she is a respectful daughter living under her family’s rules and her father’s hard temper. What her parents do not know is that Camila is also “la Furia,” a talented fútbol player who has just won their local league championship. Instead of playing in Rosario, Argentina, Camila and her team have qualified for a South American tournament. Before this, Camila has not let herself dream–but now she is thinking about what the future could hold, including a sports scholarship to a North American university. But for that dream to become a reality, she needs her parents’ permission to play. And now, her old love Diego–now a famous international futboler–has moved back home. This coming of age story has Camila balancing her own desires as an athlete with her feelings of love, all against the backdrop of an abusive family.
This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’re transported back to World War II with Kiku Hughes’ latest graphic novel. In Displacement, a contemporary teenager finds herself pulled back in time to the Japanese-American internment camp her grandmother was forcibly relocated to. The time travels keep recurring until she becomes stuck in the past, learning about a history she was never taught in school. For more great reads, check out the list below!
Displacement Written and illustrated by Kiku Hughes Published by First Second Available now!
Mad About Plaid Written and illustrated by Jill McElmurry Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
We Were Restless Things Written by Cole Nagamatsu Published by Sourcebooks Fire Available now!
Even If We Break Written by Marieke Nijkamp Published by Sourcebooks Fire Available now!
The Big One: The Cascadia Earthquakes and the Science of Saving Lives Written by Elizabeth Rusch Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
Test This Book!: A laugh-out-loud picture book about experiments and science! Written and illustrated by Louie Zong Published by Imprint Available now!
The Butler Children’s Literature Center is celebrating the recognition of Dr. Janice Del Negro as a 2020 Library Luminary.
The ILA Executive Board approved Del Negro as a new Illinois Library Luminary on September 24, 2020. The “Illinois Library Luminary” title honors those who have made a significant contribution to Illinois libraries and whose nomination is approved by the ILA Board. Subsequently, supporters of the nomination raise at least $2,000 for the ILA endowment for excellence in library service in Illinois. As an award-winning storyteller, author, educator, and coach, Del Negro’s nomination from late spring quickly raised the requisite funds in her name in support of her nomination. Library Luminaries named in 2020 will be recognized at the 2020 virtual ILA Awards Ceremony on Thursday evening, October 22, 5:30 p.m. Attendance is free, although registration is required.
Congratulations, Janice, on this well-deserved honor! Your dedication to your students, IL libraries, and BCLC is a gift.
This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’re excited to read Amy Tintera’s new YA novel, All These Monsters. Tintera’s heroine is Clara, a teenage girl who joins an international monster-fighting squad. As Clara goes through training, she discovers the less glamorous side of monster fighting–and learns that sometimes monsters are not who you think. For more great reads, check out the list below!
A Place At The Table Written by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan Published by Clarion Books Available now!
A Pinch of Magic Written by Michelle Harrison Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
Splinters of Scarlet Written by Emily Bain Murphy Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
Secrets of the Silver Lion (Carmen Sandiego) Written by Emma Otheguy Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
When Villains Rise (Market of Monsters Book 3) Written by Rebecca Schaeffer Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
All These Monsters Written by Amy Tintera Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
Mañanaland Written by Pam Muñoz Ryan Published by Scholastic Press Ages 8-12 Available now!
Every night, Maximiliano’s Buelo weaves him stories of mystical bridges and a magical gatekeeper who aids travelers on their journey into tomorrow. During the day, Max’s head is full of his father’s rules, his bridge-building apprenticeship, and fútbol. Now that he is eleven, he is eligible to try out for Santa Maria’s village team. Maybe he can play professionally, just like his Papá and his Buelo. But when a new policy mandates a birth certificate for eligibility to join the team, Max’s hopes fade. His birth certificate vanished years ago, just like his mother. Max’s mother left the family when he was a baby. No one speaks of her; there are not even any photographs to remember her by. When Max’s Papá leaves to request a new birth certificate from a nearby city, Max sets out to find the truth about his mother. What he discovers is that the stories his Buelo told him are based in reality: Max’s comes from a line of guardians who help those fleeing the dictatorship of a neighboring country, Abismo. Those who fled the terror of their homeland are called the hidden ones. They sought refuge in La Reina Gigante, a tower set amidst the ruins near his home. What’s more Max’s mother was one of them. As Max seeks his mother, he joins his family in the guardian tradition when he is called on to ferry a girl only a few years younger than him to safety. Pam Muñoz Ryan immerses the reader into Santa Maria life: the village council, the local gossip, and the meddlesome families. Ryan blends typical middle grade woes such as jealousy over a best friend’s wandering attention or being too young to do anything funwith heightened stakes. The mystery of Mañanaland and where Max’s mother has vanished are the same, and their answer is inconclusive. Mañanaland is hope, a dream to keep the weary pressing onwards to tomorrow. Mañanaland’s exploration of morality, self-knowledge, and family make this a worthy addition to a children’s or middle grade collection.
For this week’s Butler Bookshelf, J. Albert Mann’s new historical novel The Degenerates has captured our attention. Mann portrays four young women in the early twentieth century whose lives intersect when they are locked up by a world that took the poor, the disabled, the marginalized-and institutionalized them for life. For more great reads, check out the list below!
The Mysterious Messenger Written by Gilbert Ford Published by Henry Holt and Co. Books For Young Readers Available now!
Backward Science Written by Clive Gifford and illustrated by Anne Wilson Published by QEB Publishing Available now!
The Kitchen Pantry Scientist: Chemistry for Kids Written by Liz Lee Heinecke Published by Quarry Books Available now!
Joy Written by Yasmeen Ismail and illustrated by Jenni Desmond Published by Candlewick Available now!
TheDegenerates Written by J. Albert Mann Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers Available now!
Wheels Written by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock Published by Candlewick Available now!
The Environment: Explore, Create and Investigate! (What On Earth series) Written by Jonathan Litton and illustrated by Pau Morgan Published by Quarto Publishing Available September 22, 2020 Ages 6-12 years
This introduction to the earth’s environment blends foundational information on biodiversity and the ozone layer, with how humans play a part in the planet’s safekeeping. Jonathan Litton divides the nonfiction picture book into different learning-focused pages (Explore, Investigate, and Create) with themed pages that go deep into topics such as carbon dioxide and its role in global warming. Explore pages impart fact-based information against colorful, educational illustrations. Pau Morgan prominently features humans in their artwork, reinforcing humanity’s effects on the world around them. Color-coded topic tagging, factoid bubbles, and illustration-based puzzles draw readers into the surprisingly dense subject matter. Investigate pages offer observation-based science activities, such as recreating an oil spill with common kitchen ingredients or tracking animals that frequent a bird feeder. Create pages invite readers to put what they have learned into action, such as making a personal microhabitat; some of the Create activities are more labor intensive and require adult supervision. The Environment: Explore, Create and Investigate! features a glossary, index, and templates for activities featured in the book.
This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we turn to a new picture book written by Farhana Zia and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, Lali’s Feather. In this story, Lali finds a feather in a field–but is the feather lost? Lali sets out to return the feather to its owner, but no bird accepts it. Soon, Lali makes use of the feather for herself and the birds see its usefulness. For more great reads, check out the list below!
Be Amazing: A History of Pride Written by Desmond is Amazing and illustrated by Dylan Glynn Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers Available now!
NoodleBear Written and illustrated by Mark Gravas Published by Candlewick Available now!
Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention Written by Pip Jones and illustrated by Sarah Ogilvie Published by Simon & Schuster Available now!
Secrets of the Witch: An Initiation Into Our History and Our Wisdom Written by Julie Légère and Elsa Whyte, illustrated by Laura Pérez Published by Wide Eyed Editions Available now!
Not An Alphabet Book The Case of the Missing Cake Written by Eoin McLaughlin and illustrated by Marc Boutavant Published by Candlewick Available now!
Lali’s Feather Written by Farhana Zia and illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman Published by Peachtree Publishing Company Available now!