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 firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements or you can still reach us at email@example.com.
This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’re reimagining the Tooth Fairy myth in Tyler Clark Burke’s The Last Loose Tooth. In Burke’s new picture book, Lou is the last baby tooth in the mouth, crowded out by the adult teeth. When it’s his time to leave and join his fellow baby teeth friends, he connects with the Tooth Fairy so he can make his way to the Land of Teeth. For more great reads, check out the list below!
The Last Loose Tooth Written and illustrated by Tyler Clark Burke Published by Random House Books for Young Readers Available now!
Starcrossed Written and illustrated by Julia Denos Published by HMH Books for Young Readers Available now!
Quiet Down, Loud Town! Written by Alastair Heim and illustrated by Matt Hunt Published by Clarion Books Available now!
Space Matters Written by Jacque Lynn and illustrated by Lydia Nichols Published by Clarion Books Available now!
Solid, Liquid, Gassy! (A Fairy Science Story) Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires Published by Crown Books for Young Readers Available now!
Night Walk to the Sea: A Story About Rachel Carson, Earth’s Protector Written by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Daniel Miyares Published by Schwartz & Wade Available now!
Yesterday Is History Kosoko Jackson Sourcebooks Available February 2, 2021 Ages 14-18
Angsty teenage romance plus medical drama plus time travel adventure. Uptight, African American, honor student, Andre Cobb is recovering from cancer and a life-saving liver transplant, when he passes out and wakes up standing in front of his own house—but not. It’s 1969, and the house belongs to the family of cute and charismatic Michael. Andre learns that his new liver has made him a time traveler and that his donor’s white, upper class family chose him knowing what would happen. Domineering and calculating Claire, her distant, workaholic husband Greg, and angry, heartbroken son Blake all have their own reactions to Andre and his new ability. Andre jumps through time, pushed by growing feelings for Michael and pulled back by new feelings for Blake, until he’s forced to choose between a past that doesn’t belong to him and a future that could be all he wants and needs. High personal expectations drive Andre to do what he thinks are the right things—fix Michael, support Blake, live his parents’ dream for him, and even save his donor’s life. Jackson’s primary characters are achingly complex and will have readers just as torn between love stories as Andre. The reality-based aspects of the plot and tension-filled relationships balance the intriguingly far-fetched idea of genetically driven time travel. A dramatic exploration of the things we can and can’t do. And if we can, should we?
This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’re looking forward to a new, winter picture book by Saumiya Balasubramaniam and illustrated by Eva Campbell. In Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White, a little girl and her mother walk home after school. It is snowy, and the little girl misses the colors of other seasons. What follows is a conversation between mother and child, exploring and appreciating all that winter has to offer. For more great reads, check out the list below!
Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White Written by Saumiya Balasubramaniam and illustrated by Eva Campbell Published by Groundwood Books Available now!
A Polar Bear in the Snow Written by Mac Barnett with art by Shawn Harris Published by Candlewick Available now!
Pretty Funny For A Girl Written by Rebecca Elliott Published by Peachtree Publishing Company Available now!
A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin Written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Matt Tavares Published by Candlewick Available now!
My Rainy Day Rocket Ship Written by Market Sheppard and illustrated by Charly Palmer Published by Denene Millner Books Available now!
The Bad Chair Written and illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova Published by Groundwood Books Available now!
This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’re eager to begin Legendborn, a new fantasy novel by Tracy Deonn. In this supernatural tale, following her mother’s death, high schooler Bree joins a residential program at her mother’s alma mater. What Bree finds there–a secret society, mystical attacks–reveal that there is more to her mother’s death than she previously thought. For more great reads, check out the list below!
Rent A Boyfriend Written by Gloria Chao Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Available now!
Legendborn Written by Tracy Deonn Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books Available now!
Shine Written by Jessica Jung Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Available now!
Facing the Sun Written by Janice Lynn Mather Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Available now!
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow Written by Laura Taylor Namey Published by Atheneum Available now!
Love & Olives Written by Jenna Evans Welch Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Available now!
Classified: The Secret Career of Mary Golda Ross, Cherokee Aerospace Engineer Written by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Natasha Donovan Published by Lerner Publishing Group/Millbrook Press Available on March 2, 2021 Ages 6-10
Author Traci Sorell and illustrator Natasha Donovan team up to tell the story of Mary Golda Ross, an aerospace engineer who infused her Cherokee values into her work. Sorell and Donovan begin Ross’s journey in the 1920s when she was the lone girl in her math class in northeastern Oklahoma. When boys refused to sit next to her, she was even more determined to do well. As she continued on to college, she majored in mathematics and became a math and science teacher. Ross was later hired to be an adviser at the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ coed boarding school in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Ross infused her teaching with “the Cherokee value of instructing in a gentle, thoughtful way” as she taught Pueblo and Navajo girls at the school. (10) Following the United States entrance into World War II, Ross began work as a mathematician for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, working on design problems affecting fighter planes. Ross found acceptance and career growth at Lockheed, becoming their first female engineer, and she helped other women join her in the field. After World War II ended and the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union began, Ross accepted an invitation to join the Skunk Works division, a top-secret group at Lockheed. Ross designed initiatives for space travel, and her work helped send astronauts to the moon. Despite her tremendous achievement, Ross did not seek the spotlight, and instead focused on recruiting women and American Indians to study math and science. Sorell’s straightforward prose illuminates how Ross’ technical work and Cherokee heritage combined for a powerful force. Donovan blends Ross’ imaginative and conceptual work through graph paper mockups and designs; these images populate the picture book and reference specific projects Ross worked on. Ross’ proximity to others within each page gauges how accepted Ross is in her field: near the beginning of the book, she is alone; at the end she is surrounded by colleagues and future leaders. This picture book biography starts with “A Note on Cherokee Values,” contextualizing the values and ideals that shaped Mary Golda Ross’ life. The back matter includes a detailed timeline of Ross’ life, and an author’s note and a section on Cherokee Values, a resource list and bibliography. Traci Sorell’s note explains her connection to Mary Golda Ross as a member of the Cherokee Nation; the “Four Cherokee Values” section offers readers a guide to the direct syllabary, transliteration, pronunciation of each value, as well as an English definition.
This week on the Butler Bookshelf, we’re turning to stories to help build math skills. In Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum, Natasha Yim and Violet Kim give readers a problem to solve: on Luna’s birthday, her family go out for dim sum to celebrate, but they cannot agree on how to share their pork buns. How can they divide them fairly? This sweet exploration of division and fractions is a delicious treat. For more great reads, check out the list below!
Love is Powerful Written by Heather Dean Brewer and illustrated by LeUyen Pham Published by Candlewick Available now!
The Clockwork Crow Written by Catherine Fisher Published by Walker Books Available now!
One of a Kind: A Story About Sorting and Classifying Written and illustrated by Neil Packer Published by Candlewick Available now!
Rocket Science: A beginners guide to fundamentals of spaceflight Written by Andrew Rader and illustrated by Galen Frazer Published by Candlewick Available now!
What Will You Dream of Tonight? Written by Frances Stickley and illustrated by Anuska Allepuz Published by Nosy Crow Available now!
Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum (Storytelling Math) Written by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Violet Kim Published by Charlesbridge Available December 22!
I find I’m turning to books even more (than usual) this year; for edification, entertainment, and just plain escape from the real world. If that sounds like you, or someone you know, books could be a better-than-ever holiday gift. Or maybe a “just because you need a break from doom-scrolling” gift!
Between books, I’ve been working extra hard to feel like I am helping others, both in my immediate community and our bigger, book-ish community. Here are some of my favorite ways to contribute. I hope they’ll inspire you to help too!
From their website: Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores.
We believe that bookstores are essential to a healthy culture. They’re where authors can connect with readers, where we discover new writers, where children get hooked on the thrill of reading that can last a lifetime. They’re also anchors for our downtowns and communities.
As more and more people buy their books online, we wanted to create an easy, convenient way for you to get your books and support bookstores at the same time.
If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on our map and they’ll receive the full profit from your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop).
Fun Fact: To date, they have raised almost $8 million for independent bookstores.
Our experience: The site is user friendly, shipping was fast, and the price was less than that other online option.
From their website: Liberation Library provides books to youth in [Illinois] prisons to encourage imagination, self-determination, and connection to outside worlds of their choosing. We believe access to books is a right, not a privilege. We believe books and relationships empower young people to change the criminal justice system.
Fun Fact: The Liberation Library has partnered with 5 Chicago bookstores (City Lit Books, Open Books, Pilsen Community Books, Semicolon Books, and Women and Children First Bookstore) to engage in a form of mutual aid. You can purchase a gift card from a partner store, and the organization will buy books specifically requested by the kids.
Our experience: They also take donations of new or gently used paperbacks from your personal collection. BCLC is keeping an eye out for the titles on their current wish list.
From their website: Being able to read is the most critical skill for anyone who wants to fully claim and realize the freedoms America promises; this is why Freadom exists. Freadom is a social enterprise created to accelerate and amplify the awareness of and advance the cause for literacy. Freadom designs and sells high-quality, responsibly made apparel and products from which 100% of the net profit supports literacy initiatives throughout America.
Fun Fact: Founded by Brian Floriani, Bernie’s Book Bank Founder & Chief Advancement Officer, Freadom aims to invest $100 million in literacy initiatives like BBB.
Our experience: Each year, the Butler Center donates books to Bernie’s Book Bank to support their goal of getting books to children in low-income homes. And my new t-shirt is in the mail—can’t wait!
On the Butler Bookshelf, we’re celebrating Fall Children’s Book Week! Every Child A Reader’s Fall 2020 celebration (November 9-15) will feature some exciting new resources to connect kids with books and reading at home. For more check out the website here, or follow the hashtag #BookWeek2020atHome for more content.
This week, in addition to celebrating Fall Children’s Book Week, we’re diving into Flying Paintings, a biography of the Zhou Brothers. Illustrated by the artists and written by Amy Alznauer, this picture book bio tells the story of their childhood and their grandmother Po Po, whose stories of flying paintings in the mountains inspired their budding artistry. The bio describes China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, and explores how the brothers began painting together on the same canvas. For more great reads, check out the list below!
Flying Paintings: The Zhou Brothers: A Story of Revolution and Art Written by Amy Alznauer and illustrated by ShanZuo Zhou and DaHuang Zhou Published by Candlewick Available now!
Ella’s Night Lights Written and illustrated by Lucy Fleming Published by Candlewick Available November 24!
Joy Written by Yasmeen Ismall and illustrated by Jenni Desmond Published by Candlewick Available now!
Birrarung Wilam: A Story from Aboriginal Australia Written by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelley, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy Published by Candlewick Available now!
The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World Written by Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts Published by Candlewick Available now!
Wheels Written by Sally Sutton and Illustrated by Brian Lovelock Published by Candlewick Available now!
Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America Edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter Published by Candlewick Press Available now Ages 14-18
In the introduction to this new collection, editor Nora Shalaway Carpenter recounts a childhood experience in which a stranger, upon learning she was from West Virginia, made a comment that instilled shame in her, based on where she lived. That comment stuck with her, and the feeling of being “less than” runs throughout this #OwnVoices anthology. The intention behind the anthology is to counteract the stereotypes of rural America, showing that it is not a monolith. The authors create stories, verse, and images that contain a multitude of states, ethnicities, sexualities, and economic realities—common to all is a question of what belonging, acceptance, and justice really mean. Self-acceptance is at the heart of the collection, where in so many of these stories, the protagonist must grapple with who they are and who the world assumes them to be. David Bowles’ “A Border Kid Comes of Age” is a free verse exploration of one young man’s attempt to claim his bisexual identity and still remain part of the family that he loves. Bowles’ poetry is linear and heavy, resonating beyond the bounds of the lead character’s geography. Tirzah Price’s “Best in Show” gives its narrator Molly the romantic-comedy outcome of her dreams—a date with her crush Amoreena—only it’s against the backdrop of the Mekawnee County Fair while she’s bathing her prize pig, Herbert; definitely not how she envisioned their romance blossoming. Molly struggles to reconcile her different worlds, and be noticed in a way that is not in her control. Many stories embrace their hometown while others grapple with finding their place in it. Rural Voices captures the different specifics of rural teen life, while embracing how belonging and identity are common lived experiences; this is a beautiful addition to any teen collection.
On this week’s Butler Bookshelf, we’re excited for The Purple Puffy Coat, a picture book by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Daniel Duncan. This read features the fashionable Beetle and his good friend Stick Bug. On Stick Bug’s birthday, Beetle knows just what to give him: a fabulous, attention-drawing coat–but does Stick Bug really want this? For more great reads, check out the list below!
1789: Twelve Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change Edited by Marc Aronson and Susan Campbell Bartoletti Published by Candlewick Available now!
Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! Written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones Published by Candlewick Available now!
The Purple Puffy Coat Written by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Daniel Duncan Published by Candlewick Available November 10!
You Should See Me in a Crown Written by Leah Johnson Published by Scholastic Press Available now!
This Is A Book Of Shapes Written and illustrated by Kenneth Kraegel Published by Candlewick Available now!
Three Keys (A Front Desk Novel) Written by Kelly Yang Published by Scholastic Press Available now!