Butler Bookshelf

This week, the Butler Bookshelf features All Kinds of Other by James Sie. Follow the coming of age love story of Jules and Jack. Jules has just come out as gay and wants to remain under the radar while he tries to understand his new identity. Jack, a transgender male, is still reeling from the lost of his best friend and is not ready to open himself up. However, when the two boys meet, sparks fly. Now they must choose whether to play it safe, or take a risk and face the world together. For more LGBTQ themed titles, check out the list below!

Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman
Written by Sharice Davids & Nancy K. Mays
Illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley
Published by HarperCollins
Available now!

Choose Your Own Adventure: Eighth Grade Witch
Written by Andrew E.C. Gaska, E.L. Thomas, & C.E. Simpson
Illustrated by Valerio Chiola
Published by Oni Press
Available August 24, 2021

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating
Written by Adiba Jaigirdar
Published by Page Street Kids
Available now!

Both Can Be True
Written by Jules Machias
Published by Quill Tree Books
Available now!

All Kinds of Other
Written by James Sie
Published by Quill Tree Books
Available now!

No Way, They Were Gay?: Hidden Lives and Secret Loves
Written by Lee Wind
Published by Zest Books
Available now!

How Do You Feel?: SEL Picture Books for All Ages

Managing emotions can be hard, whether you’re 4 or 44, but successful social emotional learning can help all of us learn how to identify and express our feelings, and support others in handling theirs. Fortunately, 2021 picture book authors are here to help with this roundup of titles just waiting for their chance to shine in an SEL themed story time or a lesson for older kids.

A Cat with No Name: A Story About Sadness
What a Feeling Series
Kochka, Illustrated by Marie Leghima
Parent notes by clinical psychologist Louison Neilman
Quarto/words & pictures
Ages 3-6

Olive cares for a lost kitten that she quickly comes to love. When he doesn’t return one day, a neighborhood search proves he’s been reunited with his owners. Olive’s dad helps her realize that it’s ok to be sad about missing him and how to find peace in remembering. Originally published in France, the line drawings limited color palette have a European sensibility. End notes from a psychologist provide information and tips on recognizing and supporting a child handling sadness.

Big Feelings
Alexandra Penrose, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
Penguin Random House/Alfred A. Knopf
Ages 4-8

A diverse group of children have big plans for the day, but when things don’t go as planned, frustration, anger, and fights get in the way. As they work through their differences and work together on a new plan, respect, kindness, and excitement bring them together as a team. Bright mixed media illustrations and expressive little faces show a range of emotions and illustrate some great ways to express them in healthy and productive ways.

How to Apologize
David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Ages 3+

It’s not always easy to say “I’m sorry,” but this sweet instruction manual is a specific and silly how-to guide. Whether you’ve made a mistake, been mean to a friend, or had an accident, this step-by-step guide shows the do’s and don’ts of apologies. Hilarious illustrated oops-moments help soften the instructions on how, when, and why we should all learn to apologize.

It Could Be Worse
Einat Tsarfati, translated by Annette Appe
Ages 4-8

Albertini and George have been shipwrecked. Albertini is upset, but George keeps looking on the bright side and after each new misadventure (storms, flying fish, ghost pirates, and a hungry whale) declares “It could always be worse!” Vibrant digital illustrations and outrageous situations provide levity in this silly series of catastrophes, proving that attitude is everything and even a bad day can feel better when you face it with a friend.

The Power of Yet
Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Ages 3-6

A small piglet knows the frustration that comes with being a kid. You’re not big enough, strong enough, experienced enough—yet. But trying and growing and practicing leads to learning and success. Pen and ink drawings with pastel watercolors gently follow piglet’s persistence and celebration as yet turns to now.

The Smile Shop
Satoshi Kitamura
Ages 3-6

The market is an exciting place when there is pocket money just waiting to be spent. When a sudden collision sends a small boy’s change down the drain, his hopes of a treat are dashed. But in the Smile Shop, the kindness of a shopkeeper proves that money can’t buy happiness, but human connection sure can. Soft-focus line and watercolor illustrations shift palettes as the boy goes from excited to despondent to hopeful and finally cheerful as he discovers all the smiling faces that surround him.

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf you will find The Girl from the Sea, a graphic novel by Molly Knox Ostertag. We are eager to dive into the story of 15-year-old Morgan, a young girl with many secrets and an itch to leave the island where she lives and start a new life. However, when a mysterious girl named Keltie saves her from drowning one night, Morgan begins to feel that the island is not so bad. The two girls become friends and soon fall in love–their deep dark secrets bubbling to the surface along the way. For more LGBTQ themed titles, check out the list below!

Love is for Losers
Written by Wibke Brueggemann
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Ghosts We Keep
Written by Mason Deaver
Published by PUSH
Available now!

Llama Glamarama
Written by Simon James Green and Illustrated by Garry Parsons
Published by Orchard Books
Available now!

This Little Rainbow: A Love-Is-Love Primer
Written by Joan Holub and Illustrated by Daniel Roode
Published by Little Simon
Available August 31, 2021

All Our Hidden Gifts
Written by Caroline O’Donoghue and Illustrated by Stefanie Caponi
Published by Walker Books US
Available now!

The Girl from the Sea
Written and Illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag
Published by GRAPHIX
Available now!

A Tale of Crossing Fates: A Review of The Other Side of Luck

The Other Side of Luck 
Ginger Johnson 
Bloomsbury Children’s Books 
July 6, 2021 
Ages 8-11

Una and Julien could not be more different. Una is a Princess while Julien is a pauper, barely getting by day to day with the profits made from selling plants he forages with his ailing father. Yet both have something the other lacks. Una, wealth and comfort that Julien could only imagine. Julien, his father’s love. Una longs for parental love after her mother’s death leads her father into a depressive spiral. Even after he remarries, he only seems interested in his male children, leading Una to resent her gender. Una’s father then decrees that anyone who can bring him the rare Silva Flower will get a grand reward. This sets the events of the story in motion, eventually leading Una and Julien to each other and ultimately to the Silva Flower. 

Johnson crafts her setting carefully, with the start of the book rarely featuring dialogue amidst lyrical prose. The setting has a medieval feel, though the descriptions focus more on the physical setting – wildlife and nature that the protagonists spend much of the story trekking through – than the time period. Alternating viewpoints focus on a variety of characters beyond Una and Julien, providing insight once multiple things are happening at once. Character names as chapter headings help to keep track of the shifting point of view. As the story progresses, Julien and Una’s goals change as Una comes to terms with the loss of her mother and focuses on the present, prompted by Julien to realize that she can use her talents to show her father what she can do, despite her gender. While at times plot points are conveniently resolved, the theme of luck interwoven throughout the text make this believable and it allows for the plot and goals of the protagonists to shift unpredictably, leading to great moments of suspense. 

Review based on Advance Reading Copy 

Butler Bookshelf

Father’s Day is June 20th and it’s time to celebrate! Fathers come in all shapes and sizes, which is why we are eager to dive into Tuesday is Daddy’s Day by Elliot Kreloff. Kreloff tells us the story of a young girl’s routine living with separated parents. Some days she stays with Mommy, while other days she stays with Daddy and his partner Henry. The little girl loves her busy routine and hates change. So when Mommy comes to pick her up from school on Tuesday (Daddy’s day), the young girl is upset. However, Daddy’s amazing surprise shows her that change isn’t all bad. Tuesday is Daddy’s Day celebrates LGBTQ+ parents and the many forms of family. Check out the list below to kick off the celebration of Dads everywhere!

Tuesday is Daddy’s Day
Written and Illustrated by Elliot Kreloff
Published by Holiday House
Available now!

What is Daddy Going to Do?
Written by Carly Madden and Illustrated by Juliana Perdomo
Published by Quarto Publishing/words & pictures
Available now!

Written and Illustrated by Leslie Patricelli
Published by Candlewick Press
Available now!

My Dad
Written by Susan Quinn and Illustrated by Marina Ruiz
Published by Quarto Publishing/words & pictures
Available now!

On the Trapline
Written by David A. Robertson and Illustrated by Julie Flett
Published by Tundra Books
Available now!

Global Play: A Review of Soccer Atlas

Soccer Atlas: A Journey Across the World and onto the Soccer Field
James Buckley Jr.
Illustrated by Eduard Altarriba
QEB Publishing
June 15, 2021
Ages 7-11

Step into the world of fútbol with James Buckley’s Soccer Atlas! Buckley introduces the reader to all things soccer, starting with how professionals play the game. Top professionals play for club teams in a league, as well as for the national team of their homeland. He then explains the make-up of the field and the rules of the game, pointing out that the penalty area is the most important part of the pitch. We also get a look into the history of soccer, including how it started on each continent, and the design of the ball. Another thing readers will find in this book is information on FIFA, the men and women’s World Cups, and national competitions. The bulk of this book is dedicated to the individual histories of each continent, with two-three pages explaining the growth of the sport and highlighting the achievements of each region’s top professionals, past and present.

Buckley and Altarriba produced a comprehensive and engaging book for kids interested in soccer. With book dimensions of 9.5×11.5, Altarriba gives us full-bleed illustrations. The colorful pages and titles with large, bold lettering are sure to capture the reader’s attention. The illustrations and text mix together throughout the page, incorporating vivid charts and maps for easily accessible information. Buckley includes a chart with the different words for soccer used around the world. This speaks to inclusion and diversity, helping kids connect with different cultures or see their own culture represented. Along the same lines, “Other Ways to Play” shows how those who are wheelchair bound or visually impaired can still participate in the game. Whether the reader’s interests are to play professionally or to become a more informed fan, Soccer Atlas will provide the answers!

Butler Bookshelf

It’s World Oceans Day! A great way to celebrate is to learn more about these majestic bodies of water. This is why we are eager to dive into Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas by Elizabeth Shreeve and Frann Preston-Gannon. With Preston-Gannon’s vivid illustrations and Shreeve’s engaging prose, learn how creatures developed and emerged from the ocean into the animals we know today. Check out the list below for more books about our oceans, and of course some LGBTQ themed titles!

Creature Features: Ocean
Written by Big Picture Press and Illustrated by Natasha Durley
Published by Big Picture Press
Available now!

Jacob’s School Play: Starring He, She, and They
Written by Ian & Sarah Hoffman and Illustrated by Chris Case
Published by Magination Press
Available now!

Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope
Written by Jodie Patterson and Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Plasticus Maritimus
Written by Ana Pego & Isabel Minhós Martins and
Illustrated by Bernado P. Carvalho
Published by Greystone Kids
Available August 24, 2021

Andy Warhol (Little People, Big Dreams)
Written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Illustrated by Timonthy Hunt
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Out of the Blue: How Animals Evolved from Prehistoric Seas
Written by Elizabeth Shreeve and Illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
Published by Candlewick Press
Available now!

Destination India: A Review of Word Travelers: The Mystery of the Taj Mahal Treasure

Word Travelers: The Mystery of the Taj Mahal Treasure
Raj Haldar
Illustrated by Neha Rawat
Sourcebook Kids
October 5, 2021
Ages 7-12

When best friends Eddie and MJ’s Super Saturday Sleepover goes from blanket forts and movies to magic books and teleportation, they are totally up for the adventure. At mom’s suggestion, they open Eddie’s etymologist grandfather’s Awesome Enchanted Book (AEB). Whisked away to India by the AEB, they help Dev, grandson of the maharaja of Jaipur, find a hidden treasure and rebuild the local school. Using creativity, curiosity, and the AEB, they race a comically sinister mustache-twisting villain to solve the maharaja’s clues and find the treasure before the school is replaced with a department store.

This fast-paced and adventure-packed early chapter book (first in a series) is equal parts Magic Treehouse and National Treasure. Raj Haldar (No Reading Allowed: The Worst Read Aloud Book Ever) brings his signature wordplay with a twist—exploring the derivation of some common (and not so common) words. The Mystery of the Taj Mahal Treasure focuses on Indian origins (Hindi, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Marathi), while future installments will explore other places and languages. Some holes in the plot and inconsistencies between the text and art are minor enough not to detract from the fun. Neha Rawat’s delightful and architecturally detailed illustrations, coupled with a map and full glossary of highlighted words, make for a well-rounded adventure, sure to appeal to word nerds and world travelers alike.

Review based on Advanced Reader’s Copy.

Butler Bookshelf

June is Rainbow Book Month! We look forward to highlighting LBTQ+ titles for young readers. This week on the Butler Bookshelf you will find The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass. Douglass tells the story of 16-year-old Jake Livingston. Jake is a medium who sees dead people everywhere. He must juggle the pressures of this along with those caused by the racism he faces as one of the few Black students at a private school. Things begin to look up when he meets the handsome Allister, a new Black student. However, life as a medium worsens, as Jake becomes haunted by the vengeful ghost of a troubled teen who shot and killed six teens at a local high school before taking his own life. Suddenly, high school becomes a different kind of survival game. For more riveting titles featuring LGBTQ+ representation, check out the list below!

Written by Tanya Boteju
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Daddy & Dada
Written by Ryan Brockington & Isaac Webster and Illustrated by Lauren May
Published by Brown Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Taking of Jake Livingston
Written by Ryan Douglass
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Available July 13, 2021

How to Save a Queendom
Written by Jessica Lawson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Fire with Fire
Written by Destiny Soria
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Available June 8, 2021

Grandad’s Camper
Written and Illustrated by Harry Woodgate
Published by little bee books
Available now!

Perfectly Imperfect: A review of Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea

Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea
Linda Ashman
Illustrated by Alea Marley
Candlewick Press
June 1, 2021
Ages 3-7

This is a big day for Abby! The perfect, smart, and creative Phoebe Dupree is coming to her tea party. Everything has to be exactly right. So, Abby bathes the dog and tells him what he can and cannot do. She sets the table with china and flowers and seats the other guests (one doll and two teddy bears). The décor is flawless. When Phoebe arrives, the dog is pleasant, and the tea is poured without a hitch. However, when Abby carries out the sweets, she trips! This sets off a terrible chain reaction, causing disaster at what’s supposed to be the perfect tea party.

Ashman begins this picture book with Phoebe’s invitation to the tea party, which invites the reader as well. After inviting them, she engages them with rhyming text, making this an ideal book for Storytime. The couplets on each page render a fun, smooth, and easy read for both reader and listener. Marley’s soft-focus illustrations are expressive and vivid. You can visibly see the dog shaking off water with faded images of each stage of the shake superimposed on the drawing of the dog. And the splatter of blue across the page gives us a sense of chaos. Also, the drawings of Abby and Phoebe are enlarged, making them tall and the feature of each page. Yet the surrounding objects show their true size. These elements demonstrate the brilliance of the illustrator at using scale and adding movement to still pictures. This lyrical and vibrant tale proves that life is still perfect, even when things don’t go according to plan.