BCLC access update

The Butler Children’s Literature Center will be suspending open hours at this time, but continuing visits by appointment for students and members of the Dominican community as the situation allows. Dominican faculty, staff, and students must show their current Dominican ID when entering the library.

Contact us at butler@dom.edu to schedule a visit.

We will reopen to the public as soon as possible.

Take care, friends!


The Hoot: News from the Butler Children’s Literature Center, March 2020

Spring, or at least Spring Break, is almost here! And while some of us are only dreaming about warm weather and beach vacations, there is no reason not to have a little R&R (rest and reading) right here on campus. A quiet week in the library is the perfect time for a little reflection on what has been happening in the Butler Center, making plans for the next few months, and debating what to read in the sunny days ahead.

What We’ve Been Doing–

Butler Lecture

bryan collierLast night the Butler Center was thrilled to welcome award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier for the 8th Annual Butler Lecture–You Can Never Outgrow a Picture Book. Collier examined the lives of many of his book characters and how their histories, their childhoods, their experiences, their “dream-walking” whispered of what they would become. His charming style, gorgeous art, and thorough research lead to books filled with layers and nuance that will appeal to readers of all ages and continue to offer new experiences with each reading. Thank you to all who joined us!

 Morris Collection

This winter, BCLC received a generous gift to the Effie Lee Morris Collection of African American Books from professor and book collector Dr. Elizabeth Poe. Her collection, comprised of fiction, nonfiction, picture books, middle-grade and YA novels, will enhance the breadth and depth of Own Voices titles in the collection. Is this your area of study? Just interested in beautiful art and stories? Drop by to check out the newly expanded collection.

2020 Mock CaldeNott Awards

2020 caldenott book pileOn February 1st, the Butler Center served as HQ for the CaldeNott Awards “Committee.” Local librarians, authors, and SOIS students spent an afternoon discussing just a few of the fabulous picture books that weren’t eligible for the Caldecott Awards due to their foreign provenance. After much deliberation and many snacks, the award went to… The Moose of Ewenki by Gerelchimeg Blackcrane and illustrated by Jui Er (Greystone Kids). With honor awards to Hicotea: A Nightlights Story by Lorena Alvarez (Nobrow), Small in the City by Sydney Smith (Neal Porter Books), and Stormy: A Story about Finding a Forever Home by Guojing (Schwartz & Wade). 

Ellin Greene Storytelling Tea

In September, the Butler Center once again hosted an afternoon of tea and tales celebrating the life and contributions of author, teacher, storyteller, and Butler Center supporter Dr. Ellin Greene. Storytellers Janice Del Negro, Marie Ringenberg, and Anne Shimojima delighted the group with a variety of folktales and personal stories while we enjoyed tea, treats, and exceptional company. Keep an eye out this summer for information on the 2020 Storytelling Tea.

Butler Center Book Sale
Sale crowd 2019Once again, last December, the BCLC was packed with librarians, teachers, gift-givers, and book-lovers during our annual book sale weekend. We were able to send over 1500 books to loving new homes and help support Butler Center programming and collections for 2020. Do you know a teacher or librarian that would like a bit of help with their collection? Send their contact information to butler@dom.edu, and we’ll send special invitations to future book sale events.

What’s Up Next–

Butler Youth Services Scholarship

BYSS tv slide 2020Last fall, the Butler Center was thrilled to award the first-ever Butler Youth Services Scholarship to Nora Sanchez, newly appointed Early Childhood Community Engagement Specialist at the Oak Park Public Library. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student from a background underrepresented in library science. In addition to receiving financial assistance, Butler Scholars will work closely with their advisor, the Butler Center, and a librarian-mentor as a support structure for their graduate school career and beyond. You can find out more about the scholarship here. The applications are being accepted for the 2020 Butler Youth Services Scholarship.

 Folk and Fairytales with SCBWI

Join us for an evening of folk tales with Dr. Janice Del Negro. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Oak Park and Near West Suburban network is collaborating with the Butler Center for their March meeting to learn more about the Ellin Greene Folk and Fairytale Collection. We’ll discuss the history of folk and fairy tales, ways to use them, tools for finding them, and also give more information about the Butler Center’s collections. This program open to all—Butler/Dominican friends and all SCBWI networks.
7-9 pm on Thursday, March 12th, 2020
Oak Park Public Library—834 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL

Spring Open Hours

The Butler Center welcomes teachers, librarians, booksellers, parents, grandparents, caregivers, and anyone interested in literature for young people. Spring 2020 open hours are Mondays 10-6, Tuesdays 3-6, Wednesdays 12-6, and Thursdays 9-6. Or contact us at butler@dom.edu to schedule an appointment. Please note, the Butler Children’s Literature Center and Rebecca Crown Library will be closed for construction March 9-15, 2020.

The Center is a non-lending library, but our staff is here to assist you in locating books that address specific themes, age groups, or reading levels.

The Butler Center is located in the Rebecca Crown Library, room 214, on Dominican’s main campus at 7900 W. Division Street in River Forest, Illinois. Directions and a campus map are available here. The Butler Center is administered by Dominican’s School of Information Studies and is generously supported by the Butler Family Foundation. We hope you’ll visit us, or join us for an event, and stay tuned for our news and upcoming events. Please contact me with any questions you have. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Jen Clemons

Curator, Butler Children’s Literature Center
Dominican University SOIS


Butler Bookshelf

bookshelf 3.3.2020.jpgOn this beautiful March day, we’re so blessed with this bevy of picture books. Check out our list below!

On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson
Written by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
Published by Chronicle Books
Available now!

Like the Moon Loves the Sky
Written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Saffa Khan
Published by Chronicle Books
Available March 10!

Barkus: Dog Dreams (Book 2)
Written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Marc Boutavant
Published by  Chronicle Books
Available April 7, 2020

My Friend Earth
Written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Francesca Sanna
Published by Chronicle Books
Available now!

My Brother The Duck
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Published by Chronicle Books
Available April 21, 2020

Written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Laura Park
Published by Chronicle Books
Available May 5, 2020

How to Put an Octopus to Bed
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
Published by Chronicle Books
Available March 31, 2020

Bryan Collier–Save the Date!

bryan collier








Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Eloise Martin Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building
Reception and book signing will follow the lecture

Bryan Collier is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient for Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. (2001), Rosa (2005), Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave (2010), and Trombone Shorty (2015), as well as many other awards including six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. Known for his unique style of combining watercolor and detailed collage, Collier’s work is instantly recognizable and visually stunning. Collier has said that one of the biggest reasons for wanting to become a part of children’s books was because of an experience he had at a bookstore in 1995 where he noticed that none of the books he looked, sounded, or felt like him or his children. Collier’s newest titles set to be released this year are By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, The Father of Gospel Music (January 2020), and All Because You Matter (October 2020).

Registration for the Butler Lecture with Bryan Collier has closed. Contact the Butler Center at butler@dom.edu to be added to the waitlist for the event.

If you would like to learn more about this brilliant illustrator and his work before the lecture, please feel free to follow the links provided below:

Bryan Collier Website

School Library Journal: The Power of Pictures: A Visit With Bryan Collier

Behind the Scenes of Between the Lines

Book Chat with the Illustrator: Bryan Collier on Hey Black Child

Kennedy Center: A Conversation with Illustrator Bryan Collier start video at 0:32 second mark to skip the intro music.

Reading Rockets: A video with Bryan Collier, Process for “Rosa”

Library of Congress: Bryan Collier, 2014 National Book Festival start video at 2:55 minute mark to skip opening introductions

Iowa Public Library: Visiting Author 2018: Bryan Collier start video at 0:10 second mark to skip intro music

Butler Bookshelf

butlerbookshelf2.25.jpgThis week’s Butler Bookshelf features some excellent nonfiction picks, including some great read-a-louds like Poems Aloud, written by Joseph Coehlo and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett. Check out the list below for more!

The Surprising Lives of Animals
Written by Anna Claybourne and illustrated by Stef Murphy
Published by QEB Publishing
Available now!

Poems Aloud
Written by Joseph Coehlo and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

The Truth App (Liars Book 1)
Written by Jack Heath
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Available now!

This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work
Written by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aurélia Durand
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Available now!

Everybody Counts: A counting story from 0 to 7.5 billion
Written and illustrated by Kristin Roskifte
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

The Wonders of Wildflowers
Written by Anna Staniszewski
Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Available now!

Search and Find A Number of Numbers: 1 book, 100s of things to find!
Written by Amanda Wood & Mike Jolley and illustrated by Allan Sanders
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Available now!

A Reading List for Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, here at the Butler Center, we’d like to highlight several 2020 publications that tell powerful, poignant and just plain fun stories about some of the many different African-American experiences. This list is by no means all that has been published in 2020. Instead, it is a sampling of several stories—from bedtime tales, to historical picture books, to family trauma, to the intersection of Black identity and sexuality. 

KingAndThe DragonFlies.jpgKing and the Dragon Flies
Written by Kacen Callender
Scholastic Press
Children’s Fiction
Available now!
Twelve-year-old Kingston James knows what everyone else does not: his older brother Khalid isn’t really dead—he’s turned into a dragonfly. King sees his brother in his dreams, but can’t tell anyone. Not his parents who are shut up in their grief, not his school mates who don’t know how to talk to him, not his best friend Sandy Sanders. Besides, King and Sandy aren’t friends, can’t be friends, because Sandy is gay. This is a stunning, hazy book set in small-town Louisiana, where one boy’s grief transports him into coming to terms with who he really is. Race, sexual identity, family trauma, and abuse all come together in a book that alternates between stark and hopeful. Kacen Callender writes on homophobia and toxic masculinity in the Black community, hard and tough topics, in a truly magical way. You can feel the heat rising off the page and hear the buzz of dragonfly wings in your ears. This is a must-read.

BedtimeFor SweetCreatures.jpgBedtime for Sweet Creatures
Written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Published by Jabberwocky
Picture Book
Available now!
The nighttime struggle is real in this effervescent and vibrant bedtime tale. Nikki Grimes enchants the reader with a curious and imaginative story of parent and child going through their bedtime routine.  Grimes takes us through the cycle: denial of bedtime, acquiescing to bedtime with one’s favorite stuffed animal, the quest to find and banish all monsters, a before-bed story—and even a last-ditch glass of water! The difference between the typical bedtime routine and this story is Grimes’ imagination. The story is made even more enchanting with Elizabeth Zunon’s multicolored and surreal animals that gallop through the bedtime scenes. This is a lovely, warm book that elicits a smile and chuckle as you read it aloud.

Brave.Black.First.jpgBrave. Black. First.: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World
Written by Cheryl Willis Hudson and illustrated by Erin K. Robinson
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Non Fiction
Available now!
This book is published in partnership with curators from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and features iconic African American women from the 1700s to the present day. Each woman is depicted in a two-page illustrated spread, with birth and (if relevant) death information, as well as a choice quote, before several paragraphs of biographical data. Readers will surely recognize names of icons like Angela Davis, Simone Biles, and Harriet Tubman, but for younger folks, this may be the first time readers are exposed to women like Civil War army nurse Susie King Taylor or artist Elizabeth Catlett. This biography compilation is a beginner’s guide to the legacy of African American women in the United States and can serve as a stepping stone into more comprehensive information about individuals. This collection includes end-of-book resources to the profiled women, as well as guides to relevant artifacts at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, notes from the author and illustrator, and overview of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

BlackIsARainbowColor.jpgBlack Is a Rainbow Color
Written by Angela Joy and illustrated by Euka Holmes
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Picture Book
Available now!
This picture book is a mediation about being Black in the United States; it is an anthem of people, culture, history, and legacy. A child reflects that while red, green, blue, yellow, orange, violet and indigo are rainbow colors, their color is black…and there’s no black in rainbows. But black is everywhere, from “a feather on white winter snow” (p. 3)  to “braids in my best friend’s hair (p. 5) to the “robe on Thurgood’s back” (p. 10) to “dreams and raisins.” (p. 13) Central moments in history, politics, literature, and music are referenced through the text and illustrations of this joyful and exploratory picture book. The illustrations by Euka Holmes carry historical weight, and the detailed images can prompt readers to ask questions. The book’s back matter includes an author’s note and playlist, as well as historical context to events referenced in the text. Several works of poetry alluded to in the picture book’s text are included, and a bibliography. The author also includes a timeline of Black ethnonyms in America, with notes on their development.

CleanGetaway.jpgClean Getaway
Written by Nic Stone
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers
Children’s Fiction
Available now!
What to do when spring break is canceled and you’re under house arrest by order of your dad? Go on an unsanctioned road trip with your grandma, of course! When Scoob’s G’ma pulls up to his front door in a new Winnebago and announces that he’s going to join her on an epic road trip, Scoob is thrilled. After getting in trouble at school, his spring break is canceled, and he’s basically grounded until further notice. But when G’ma hands him a copy of the Travelers’ Green Book and a treasure box full of memories, Scoob begins to wonder what being his grandmother’s co-pilot really means. Especially when she refuses to call his dad back to let him know where they are. And definitely when she tosses her cell phone at a rest stop. Nic Stone negotiates humor and family trauma against the segregationist history of the American South. Race is central to Scoob’s family story: Scoob is biracial, as is his father; Scoob’s G’ma is white. The road trip juxtaposes the trip G’ma took with Scoob’s grandpa with the present-day trip. While much has changed for the better, much has also stayed the same. This is a funny and poignant tale for younger readers.

ByandBy.jpgBy and By: Charles Albert Tindley the Father of Gospel Music
Written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Bryan Collier
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Non Fiction Picture Book
Available now!
This exquisite picture book “sings out” the story of Charles Albert Tindley, who was born in 1851 in Maryland to an enslaved father and a free mother. Following the death of his mother, Tindley was hired out to work in the fields. There he heard the spirituals the enslaved workers sang, and it made him want to read the Gospel. Tindley taught himself to read from scraps of newspaper, later becoming a pastor who preached and sang the word of God. He eventually compiled many of his compositions into a hymnal and is considered the father of American gospel music. Carole Boston Weatherford introduces the story as a sermon inside a song, telling Tindley’s story in rhyming prose interspersed with lyrics from Tindley’s own compositions and African-American spirituals. Bryan Collier’s magnificent watercolor and collage images create both grounded and heavenly beauty on the page. Collier deliberately includes pieces of sheet music throughout the story’s pages, having it dance throughout the book. By and By’s additional resources include a list of songs used in the book, songs written by Tindley, as well as author and illustrator notes.

Butler Bookshelf


Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but we’ve still got love stories on our mind. This week’s Butler Bookshelf includes some star-crossed couples, like those in If You Only Knew by Prerna Pickett and Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon.

In The Shadow of the Sun
Written by Em Castellan
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Available now!

The Ocean Calls
Written by Tina Cho and illustrated by Jesse X. Snow
Published by Kokila
Available August 4, 2020

With A Star In My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero
Written by Margarita Engle
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Written and illustrated by Anna Kim
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
Available July 7, 2020

In A Garden
Written by Tim McCanna and illustrated by Aimée Sicuro
Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Available now!

Of Curses and Kisses
Written by Sandhya Menon
Published by Simon Pulse
Available now!

If You Only Knew
Written by Prerna Pickett
Published by Swoon Reads
Available now!