Butler Bookshelf

Van Dog, by Mikolaj Pa and illustrated by Gosia Herba, combines the features of a picture book with seek-and-find and comic. It is a thought-provoking story touching on the philosophy of art without being direct about the topic.

Check it out and the other titles we feature below!

All Through the Night: Important Jobs That Get Done at Night
Written by Polly Faber and Illustrated by Hobday Harriet
Published by Nosy Crow
Available November 1st!

Happy Llamakkah!
Written by Laura Gehl and Illustrated by Lydia Nichols
Published by Abrams Appleseed
Available October 13th!

Love From Mecca to Medina
Written by S.K. Ali
Published by Salaam Reads
Available October 18th!

A Path to the World: Becoming You
Edited by Lori Marie Carlson-Hijuelos
Published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Available October 18th!

Van Dog
Written by Mikolaj Pa and Illustrated by Gosia Herba
Published by Milkyway Picturebooks
Available November 15th!

Zara’s Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure
Written by Hena Khan and Illustrated by Wastana Haikal
Published by Salaam Reads
Available October 18th!

Spooky Season Titles For All: Halloween 2022 Recommendations

Whether sweet and silly or downright terrifying, ghosts and ghouls of all ages enjoy a good spooky story. And publishers did not disappoint this Halloween season, covering the gambit from gentle introductions to Halloween traditions to dark and twisty tales of the occult. So pick your favorite candy, pour yourself a mug of cider, and settle in for a read at your preferred level of spooky.

BOARD BOOKS: For the youngest ghosties!

The Monsters on the Broom
By Annemarie Riley Guertin
Illustrated by Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn
Simon & Schuster/Little Simon
July 2022
0-3

A group of young monsters delight in a midnight flight in this bouncy Halloween celebration to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus.” A rich and moody color scheme perfectly captures the feel of a crisp fall evening. Cheerful little monsters tour their town by broom, on die cut pages that build as they explore, leading up to a group ride and wishes for a “Happy Halloween!”

Halloween is a Treat!
By Sabrina Moyle
Illustrator Eunice Moyle
Abrams/Appleseed
July 2022
0-3

More sweet than spooky, this detail packed little book includes all the most fun Halloween traditions—costumes, candy, jack-o’-lanterns, and more! A gentle rhyme weaves together the various holiday amusements for little cats (and kids) to enjoy. Busy pages full of neon orange highlights may even include some Halloween costume inspiration.


PICTURE BOOKS: Choose your favorite—sweet or spooky?

Happy Owl-Oween!
By Laura Gehl
Illustrated by Lydia Nichols
Abrams/Appleseed
July 2022
3-5

Owlet friends partake in all the Halloween traditions their neighborhood has to offer. Simple text, a sweet rhyme, and vibrant geometric illustrations combine to gently introduce the less-than-scary side of the holiday, helping owls of all ages to get into the spirit. Gehl includes an author’s note explaining the origins of many Halloween traditions, but it’s a bit sophisticated for all but the most precocious kindergarteners.

If Your Babysitter is a Bruja
By Ana Siqueira
Illustrated by Irena Freitas
Simon & Schuster
August 2022
3-6

A new babysitter might spell big trouble for a mischievous girl with an oversized imagination. Imagining her parents left her with a witch turns an ordinary evening into a magical Halloween adventure of broomsticks, bubbling caldrons, and ghostly castles. Spanish words and phrases are incorporated throughout, yet easily interpreted in context. Vibrant and exaggerated illustrations and inventive text combine for a unique and whimsical addition to Halloween book collections.

The Most Haunted House in America
By Jarrett Dapier
Illustrated by Lee Gatlin
Abrams
August 2022
4-8

Invited by the First Lady to play at the White House Halloween celebration, the Skeleton Drummers answer the call, entertaining both the living and the long-dead with their spooky tunes. Even when they are scared silly themselves, the show must go on, and the band plays ‘til dawn. Sepia tones mute the illustrations, adding age and mood to the images, and enhancing the drama of the event. Smiling skeletons and rhyming text tempers what could be a scarier picture book tale. An author’s note includes some of the most popular ghost stories told about the White House as well as the author’s experience playing the drums for White House Halloween party dressed as a skeleton.


Middle Grade: Just the right amount of scare factor!

Crimson Twill: Witch in the City
By Kallie George
Illustrated by Birgitta Sif
Candlewick
July 2022
7-9

Who says witches need to be spooky? Perhaps all they have to be is themselves. A trip to the big city department store—Broomingdale’s—is Crimson’s change to find just what she needs. Maybe a cat or a new hat, if she can find one that suits her. What she finds instead are friends that like her just the way she is—unique. Reminiscent of The Worst Witch in tone and language, with lovely black and white illustrations, this sweet chapter book is full of charm and charms.

Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel
By James Howe and Andrew Donkin
Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Based on the 1979 novel by Deborah and James Howe
Simon and Shuster/Atheneum
August 2022
8-12

Harold the dog and Chester the cat must contend with a new pet in the Monroe family home, a peculiar bunny who just might be a vampire. Chester, with Harold as trusty sidekick, investigates just what’s making all the vegetables in the house white and juiceless. And just how their new roommate might be responsible. A graphic adaptation of the original story, the varied layout and muted color scheme uphold the melodramatic nature of the novel, while keeping just the right amount of humor to keep things light.

August of the Zombie (Zombie Problems Book 3)
By K.G. Campbell
Knopf
January 2022
8-12

August DuPont has an unusual, and undead, problem—he attracts zombies. And what started as one sidekick has turned into a horde. In the final installment of this trilogy, he must finally find the Zombie Stone to lay his followers and some family secrets to rest. Moody, yet humorous, illustrations provide levity and show the zombies to be more ridiculous than ravenous. Quirky and clever, a delightful middle grade introduction to supernatural stories.

Wildseed Witch
By Marti Dumas
Abrams/Amulet
May 2022
10-14

One fit of temper and Hasani goes from a summer of fun and family (drama) to a premier finishing school for witches to hone her newfound abilities. But being the newcomer isn’t easy, especially when everyone else grew up in a magical family, and you’re starting from scratch. Dumas has created an alternative New Orleans, with all the charm and spirit of the original, and an additional spark of magic. Perfect for Harry Potter fans who will cheer for this determined and charismatic heroine of color. A tribute to learning your own balance between fitting in and standing out, and how to most gracefully be yourself.


Young Adult: From a hint of magic to downright scary!

Fraternity
By Andy Mientus
Abrams/Amulet
September 2022
13+

Scandal sends Zooey Orson from his New York high school to an all-boys boarding school full of secrets, secret societies, and not-so-secret biases. He is taken in by the Vicious Circle, a group of gay students that become his found family in their fight against very human and supernatural secrets, and an occult text that could destroy them all. Set against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis, this story of brotherhood and belonging combines episodes of LGBTQ history with paranormal thrills.

The Monarchs
By Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige
Harper Collins/Clarion
January 2022
14+

The most popular sorority on campus hides many secrets—the rules of sisterhood, details of the death of their past president, and that they are actually a powerful coven of witches. New president Scarlett and new student Vivi balance schoolwork, love interests, and battling the ancient forces of evil in this sequel to The Ravens. An atmospheric college setting and emotionally charged relationships between the sisters add substance to this fast-paced and action-packed duology closer.

Spells for Lost Things
By Jenna Evans Welch
Simon and Schuster
September 2022
12+

Willow’s mom dragged her to Salem to sort out a family inheritance. Mason is in Salem with a foster care placement. And they both want to be nearly anywhere else. Drawn together by the mystery of Willow’s family history, they are kept together by a growing connection. YA romance with a dash of witchcraft combine for a charming story of finding family and finding yourself. Welch weaves in the thread of wanderlust that ties all her novels together, with Willow and Mason exploring all the lore and kitsch Salem, Massachusetts have to offer as they learn about life, family ties, and each other.

Butler Bookshelf

In Puffin, discover the intriguing world of this charming bird in a collaboration that pairs Martin Jenkins’s engaging, informative text with the warm energy of Jenni Desmond’s illustrations. Filled with interesting facts, this delightful introduction to the puffin offers young ornithologists more details in the back matter.

Check it out, along with the other picture book titles we are featuring below!

Berliners
Written by Vesper Stamper
Published by Alfred A Knopf
Available October 25th!

A Different Kind of Normal
Written and Illustrated by Abigail Balfe
Published by Crown Books
Available Now!

Just the Way You Are
Written and Illustrated by Emma Dodd
Published by Templar Books
Available October 25th!

My First Guide to Weather
Written by Camilla De La Bedoyere and Illustrated by Cinyee Chiu
Published by Big Picture Press
Available October 25th!

Puffin
Written by Martin Jenkins and Illustrated by Jenni Desmond
Published by Candlewick Press
Available October 25th!

Saturday AM Annual 2023: A Celebration of Original Diverse Manga-Inspired Short Stories from Around the World
Published by Saturday AM
Available Now!

Space Synaesthesia: A Review of Tasting Light

Tasting Light: Ten Science Fiction Stories to Rewire Your Perception
Edited by A.R. Capetta and Wade Roush
MiTeen Press
October 11th, 2022
Ages 14 and up

Editors A.R. Capetta and Wade Roush use the preface of Tasting Light to outline the goals of their collection. To serve as a gateway into science fiction for those who don’t usually get into the genre, to show that YA SF is a place for conversations about identity, and to describe a hopeful future. The collection succeeds on two of its three points. However, it falls short of its third goal, as Roush describes, “there’s a central feeling (in the stories) – that the future is going to be better than the present, as long as we make it that way.” All the stories exist in dystopian worlds, and when characters find solutions, they are individual solutions that allow the characters to exist within systemic problems. These stories follow the tradition of using science fiction writing to describe reality in a way that cannot be done through a direct statement. They are thought experiments about current problems of identity and autonomy instead of predictions of how children will save the future.

In Junauda Petr-Nasah’s “Melanitis,” there is a medication that can give children an incredible intelligence boost. One of the side effects is the chance of their skin creating enough melanin to be perceived as Black when they reach adulthood—causing them to face discrimination similar to those born Black. This story follows Amari, a young Black person, as they are figuring out their own identity. They are breaking away from their parents’ expectations and the cultural expectation of what it means to be Black. This is shown through Amari’s change in their hair from Locs, like her parents, to a significant style for Amari and Amari breaking up with their white friend who has Melanitis. Amari’s friend only sees Blackness as a problem to be talked through now he is affected by it. The medication that causes Melanitis is theoretically possible, but it is not an extrapolation of a modern medical phenomenon, and this is not the point. It is used as a thought experiment to explore what it means to be Black. While this type of metaphor isn’t present in all stories, it enhances the already strong writing that is present in each of the ten stories. The collection feels cohesive. The primary themes are not present in every story, but the stories with them are spread out in a way to weave the book together. All are accessible for new Sci-Fi readers as well. As most are set in near future Earth, the reader only has to allow one significant difference in the world per story.

Tight writing, paired with themes relevant to teens, and a diverse group of authors and characters, makes Tasting Light a perfect place to start for a teen who wants to know what science fiction is all about.

Butler Bookshelf

In The Woman Who Turned Children Into Birds by David Almond and Illustrated by Laura Carlin, Nanty Solo is new in town and claims she can turn children into birds. Terrified parents forbid the idea, but the children want to fly.

Check it out, along with the other picture book titles we are featuring below!

Ballet Kids
Written and Illustrated by Holly Sterling
Published by Candlewick Press
Available October 18th!

Bella & Blue
Written and Illustrated by Berrie Torgan-Randall
Published by Blue Bronco Books Jr.
Available Now!

Embassy of the Dead: Destiny Calling
Written by Will Mabbitt and Illustrated by Taryn Knight
Published by Walker Books
Available October 18th!

Too Small Tola and the Three Fine Girls
Written by Atinuke and Illustrated by Onyinye Iwu
Published by Candlewick Press
Available October 18th!

The Woman Who Turned Children Into Birds
Written by David Almond and Illustrated by Laura Carlin
Published by Candlewick Studio
Available October 18th!

Butler Bookshelf

Beginning is a poetic picture book where a father and child see all the wonders and connections in nature and life as they go about their day. A child and father observe the cycles of nature and come to see that as each journey ends, new adventures begin.

Check it out, along with the other picture book titles we are featuring below!

Beginning
Written by Shelley Moore Thomas and Illustrated by Melissa Castrillon
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

Case of the Zaps
Written by Alex Boniello & April Lavalle and Illustrated by James Kwan
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Dragon Noodle Party: A Story of Chinese Zodiac Animals
Written by Ying Chang Compestine and Illustrated by Paula Pang
Published by Holiday House
Available December 6th!

Our Story Starts in Africa
Written by Patrice Lawrence and Illustrated by Jeanetta Gonzales
Published by Magic Cat Publishing
Available now!

Spells for Lost Things
Written by Jenna Evans Welch
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

Vegetables in Pajamas
Written and Illustrated by Jared Chapman
Published by Abrams Appleseed
Available January 10th!

Butler Bookshelf

Leopold the goat has the gift of being able to match readers with their perfect book at his bookstore. But when a goat comes in and begins to eat the books, Leopold must find the book this hungry goat would rather read before the whole collection is gone!

Check it out, along with the other picture book titles we are featuring below!

Books Aren’t for Eating
Written by Carlie Sorosiak and Illustrated by Manu Montoya
Published by Walker Books
Available today!

The Circles in the Sky
Written and Illustrated by Karl James Mountford
Published by Candlewick Studio
Available September 27th!

Granny and Bean
Written by Karen Hesse and Illustrated by Charlotte Voake
Published by Candlewick Press
Available September 27th!

I’m a Unicorn
Written and Illustrated by Helen Yoon
Published by Candlewick Press
Available today!

The Lodge that Beaver Built
Written by Randi Sonenshine and Illustrated by Anne Hunter
Published by Candlewick Press
Available September 27th!

What are Words Really? 
Written by Alexi Lubomirski and Illustrated by Carlos Aponte
Published by Candlewick Press
Available September 27th!

Dance Like No One’s Watching: A Review of Freestyle

Freestyle
Gale Galligan
Scholastic Inc. / Graphix
October 18th, 2022
Ages 8 – 12

Cory Tan wants to do things his way. As a member of his freestyle dance crew, 8-bit, he improvises when he should follow the choreography. In science class, his experiment creates a baking soda and vinegar bomb, ruining a backpack, and angering his smart but isolated new hijabi lab partner, Sunna. But this brashness is coming back to bite him. His arguments with the 8-bit’s leader are causing stress among all its members, and Cory’s grades are slipping, causing Cory’s mom to hire a tutor. That tutor, Sunna, is still upset with his unthinking action in class. When Cory finds that Sunna does something as unexpected and cool as competitive yo-yo, his perception of her changes from annoying, aloof, and overbearing to someone more complete. This change is presented to the reader through a splash panel of Sunna doing yo-yo tricks in an unrestrainedly detailed flower garden. The splash panels are packed with detail, and the scenes of dancing and yo-yo are chaotic but still readable; the characters feel like they are dancing. The creative composition of panels draws the eyes, making it easy to follow, even if the pattern changes from time to time. The exaggerated punch-in on successive panels as Cory’s mom pinch zooms on his grade report elevates the moment from a necessary story beat to one of the best jokes in the graphic novel. Sunna bribes Cory to study by teaching him yo-yo tricks. Even when Cory’s grades improve, his shortsighted selfishness and poor communication with his friends cause the plates he’s been trying to keep spinning all school year to crash around him during the Halloween dance, focusing on the moment’s drama and highlighting the range of Galligan. The expressiveness of the characters is a standout element of the book, with each character’s emotion always on their sleeve. The exaggerated cartoon style allows for fun bugging eyes of surprise or silly excited faces and the distraught expressions of friendships breaking up. The pages in the more dramatic section are dark for the night setting and the sad events to come. This is contrasted with the sunset introductory dance scene with 8-bit. The colorist, K Czap, uses the environmental elements to enhance the feelings already clear from character design and dialog, building tension in some spaces and bringing out the happy fun in others.

Freestyle is a bright, beautifully illustrated story about a young man learning to be a good friend.

Butler Bookshelf

Designed to motivate girls to learn more about the field of botany and see how one person’s creativity and determination can change the world, Science Wide Open: Women in Botany, written by Mary Wissinger and illustrated by Danielle Pioli, has been peer-reviewed by an extensive team of scientists, science educators, and parents. The highlighted women hail from all over the world, span from the 16th Century to the present day, and include Waheenee, Ynés Mexía, Dr. Janaki Ammal, Elizabeth Coleman White, Loredana Marcello, and Wangari Maathai.

Check it out, along with the other titles we are featuring below!

Curve & Flow: The Elegant Vision of L.A. Architect Paul R. Williams
Written by Andrea J. Loney and Illustrated by Keith Mallett
Published by Alfred A. Knopfs
Available this September 27th!

Dinosaur Atlas: A Journey Through Time to the Prehistoric World,
Written by Tom Jackson and Illustrated by Maggie Li
Published by QEB Publishing
Available now!

Illumibugs
Written by Carnovsky and Illustrated by Barbara Taylor
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available today!

Memories and Life Lessons from the Magic Tree House
Written by Osborne, Mary Pope
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Science Wide Open: Women in Botany
Written by Mary Wissinger and Illustrated by Danielle Pioli
Published by Science Naturally
Available this September!

This is the Sun
Written by Elizabeth Everett and Illustrated by Evelline Andrya
Published by Science Naturally
Available this October!

Butler Bookshelf

When the king of Norway gifts a bear to the king of England, it starts poorly. Little feels like home to the bear, trapped in a cage far away from where it grew up. But when King Henry III requires the bear to be brought to the Thames River to swim and fish, giving the bear a bit of freedom and joy, the bear can feel a bit more at home in their new strange land.

Check it out, along with the other titles we are featuring below!

A Bear Far From Home
Written by Susan Fletcher and Illustrated by Rebecca Green
Published by Anne Schwartz Books
Available September 27th!

Even Robot Can Be Thankful!
Written and Illustrated by Jan Thomas
Published by Beach Lane Books
Available today!

Friends
Written and Illustrated by Daniela Sosa
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

It’s Diwali!
Written by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal and Illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan
Published by Beach Lane Books
Available today!

Little Red and the Bid Bad Editor
Written by Rebecca Kraft Rector and Illustrated by Shanda McCloskey
Published by Aladdin
Available today!

Three Little Vikings
Written and Illustrated by Bethan Woollvin
Published by Peachtree Publishing
Available now!