More Than “Goode” Enough: A Review of The Glass Witch

The Glass Witch cover art

The Glass Witch
Lindsay Puckett
Scholastic Press
October 18, 2022
Age 8-12

Adelaide Goode is the youngest in a family of cursed and complicated witches, doomed to feel she is not magic enough, thin enough, or “Goode enough.” About to be left with her grandma for the summer, Addie clings to her mother in a snap decision that unleashes the curse, turns her bones to glass, and makes her the target of a witch-hunting spirit. Only by accepting herself and connecting with her family’s magic, or kindred, can she save herself, her family, and her town from shattering.

Challenged by low self-esteem and fear of abandonment, Addie uses tween snark and extraordinary baking skills as a shield against her fears. Puckett weaves heavy themes of body image, bullying, and family tension with more whimsical notes of a Halloween Pageant, delicious food imagery, and brave rescue rabbits to keep the tone light and the pace lively. And the addition of a fearless and monster-obsessed new friend, Fatima, makes for the perfect foil for Addie and her ideal companion in a magical crisis. Secondary adult characters begin in a less-defined manner but shine in a conclusion that sees Addie find her self-worth while learning about her family and her place in it.

Friendship, family, and magic combine in this lighthearted story of self-discovery and acceptance.

Butler Bookshelf


In the urban fantasy novel The Whispering Dark, Delaney Meyers-Petrov is a Deaf college student with a peculiar connection to the afterlife. When she’s offered a spot at an elite university program that trains students to slip between parallel worlds, she’s excited for an opportunity to prove herself and show others that she isn’t as fragile as they think.

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

Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure
Written by Megan Wagner Lloyd
Published by Candlewick Press
Available August 16th!

I Was Born for This
Written by Alice Oseman
Published by Scholastic Press
Available October 18th!

Something About Grandma
Written and Illustrated by Tania de Regil
Published by Candlewick Press
Available August 9th!

A Synagogue Just Like Home
Written by Alice Blumenthal McGinty and Illustrated by Laurel Molk
Published by Candlewick Press
Available August 9th!

The Whispering Dark
Written by Kelly Andrew
Published by Scholastic Press
Available October 18th!

Butler Bookshelf

In The Tower of Life by Chana Stiefel and illustrated by Susan Gal, after Yaffa Eliach has to escape the Nazis during WW2, her hometown is destroyed. President Jimmy Carter reaches out to Yaffa and asks her to help build a holocaust memorial. She decides to make the memorial out of found photographs instead of bricks; it becomes what will be called the Tower of Life.

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

Catalina Incognito: Off-Key
Written by Jennifer Torres and Illustrated by Gladys Jose
Published by Aladdin
Available Today!

Freestyle
Written by Illustrated by Gale Galligan
Published by Graphix
Available October 18th!

I am Ruby Bridges
Written by Ruby Bridges and Illustrated by Nikkolas Smith
Published by Orchard books
Available September 6th!

Monsters Play… Counting!
Written and Illustrated by Flavia Z. Drago
Published by Orchard books
Available Now!

This is Our Place
Written by Vitor Martins
Published by Push
Available November 1st!

The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs
Written by Chana Stiefel and Illustrated by Susan Gal
Published by Scholastic Press
Available October 4th!

Should Revenge Be Served at All?: A Review of Sweet and Sour

Sweet and Sour cover art

Sweet and Sour
Debbi Michiko Florence
Scholastic
July 26, 2022
Age: 8-12

Mai, budding birder and BTS stan, and her parents have always spent idyllic summers with family friends in small-town Mystic, Connecticut. Until two summers ago, when their son and Mai’s BFF, Zach, betrayed her and the friends suddenly moved to Japan. Now the trip is back on and Mai is unhappily headed from west coast to east with a new BFF, Lila, and years of built up anger. When Zach, so changed from two years away, wants to pick up their friendship right where he thinks they left it, Mai must decide how to handle her hurt feelings (not well), whether to hang onto a grudge she may have outgrown (not fun), and how to be a better friend to new friends and old.

Told from Mai’s point of view, Debbi Michiko Florence perfectly captures the 13-year-old voice with swings from light to moody, petulant to kind. The text is sprinkled with good and bad memory flashbacks, labeled sweet or sour, providing the backstory of Mai and Zach’s childhood and the racist incident that fractured their bond. Mai’s journey from sadness to anger to letting go is choppy and full of tween uncertainty. But her moments of introspection and insistence on standing up for yourself and your friends, whether it be from anti-Asian hate, bullying, or on matters of consent, keep her character from verging into the self-centered and vengeful. With wise words from friends, she learns to process her feelings rather than bury them and how to both forgive and ask for forgiveness. The relationships between Mai and Lila, Zach, and a new friend Celeste provide powerful examples of different types of friendships and illustrate the value of each. A secondary storyline, featuring Mai’s parents and their perceived inability to handle her big emotions, could have been better developed, but lends import to the central theme of communicating one’s feelings. Mai’s complicated emotions add both sweet and sour notes to the narrative of this summer adventure exploring the complexities of friendship, memory, growing up.

Butler Bookshelf

A couple of our staff members visited ALA this week, (if you’d like to read more about the event head over to our blog post on it https://wordpress.com/post/butlerspantry.org/34939) so we are featuring some of the books that we brought home from the trip! Slip by Marika McCoola and Aatamja Pandya follows Jade who is on her way to a summer art incentive when her best friend, Pheobe, attempts suicide. Jade must deal with her feeling if she doesn’t focus completely on Pheobe, does that mean she is abandoning her.

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

Everyday Hero MachineBoy
Written by Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong
Published by SkyBound Comet
Available Sept 13th!

Magically Maximus
Written by Kiki Thorpe and Illustrated by Laura Catrinella
Published by Disney Hyperion
Available Now!

My Second Impression of You
Written by Michelle I. Mason
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
Available Sept 20th!

The Orphan Keeper
Written by Camron Wright
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Available Now!

A Scatter of Light
Written by Malinda Lo
Published by Dutton Books
Available Oct 4th!

Slip
Written by Marika McCoola and Aatmaja Pandya
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Available Now!

Butler Bookshelf

Written by Kristen Bell & Benjamin Hart and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman, The World Needs More Purple Schools is the sequel to The World Needs More Purple People, teaching kids how to celebrate their individuality while also being part of a group! Follow Penny and her friends as they take the lessons they learned in the original and move them to the classroom!

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

The Clackity
Written by Lora Senf
Published by Athenium
Available Now!

Crimson Twill: Witch in the City
Written by Kallie George and Illustrated by Birgitta Sif
Published by Candlewick Press
Available July 12th!

The Little Bear
Written and Illustrated by Nicola Killen
Published by Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
Available Now!

Mum, Me, and the Mulberry Tree
Written by Tanya Rosie and Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Published by Candlewick Press
Available July 19th!

One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World
Written by Micheal Frank and Illustrated by Maira Kalman
Published by Avid Reader Press
Available September 6th!

The World Needs More Purple Schools
Written by Kristen Bell & Benjamin Hart and Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
Published by Random House Children’s Books 
Available Now!

Butler Bookshelf

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. Our Story. Our Way. by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin is the shared memoir of two great creators and best friends who happen to have the same name. Follow their story of meeting in New York and becoming the artists they are today.

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

Bad Things Happen Here
Written by Rebecca Barrow
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Brooks
Available Today!

Jigsaw: Mystery in the Mail
Written and Illustrated by Bob Graham
Published by Candlewick Press
Available July 12th!

Leila: The Perfect Witch
Written and Illustrated by Flavia Z. Drago
Published by Candlewick Press
Available July 12th!

McTavish on the Move
Written by Meg Rosoff
Published by Candlewick Press
Available July 12th!

My Name Is Jason. Mine Too. Our Story. Our Way.
Written by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin
Published by Atheneum Books For Young Readers
Available Today!

The Other Side of the River
Written by Alda P. Dobbs
Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers
Available September 6th!

Butler Bookshelf

Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White, the first in the Sinister Summer series, follows the Sinister-Winterbottom kids as they solve the mystery of the strange Gothic waterpark!

Check it out along with the other children’s fiction titles we are featuring below!

Claw and Order
Written by Lisi Harrison
Published by Delacorte Press
Available Today!

Expedition Backyard: Exploring Nature from Country to City
Written by Rosemary Mosco and Illustrated by Binglin Hu
Published by RH Graphic
Available Today!

The Little Bad Book
Written by Magnus Myst and Illustrated by Thomas Hussung
Published by Delacorte Press
Available June 28th!

Magic Tree House: Mummies in the Morning (The Graphic Novel)
Written by Jenny Laird & Mary Pope Osborne and Illustrated by Kelly & Nichole Matthews
Published by Stepping Stone
Available June 28th!

Pizza and Taco: Too Cool for School
Written and Illustrated by Stephen Shaskan
Published by Stepping Stone
Available June 28th!

Wretched Waterpark
Written by Kiersten White
Published by Delacorte Press
Available Now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf we are featuring recent and coming soon titles! We are highlighting a group of middle-grade books including The Patron Thief of Bread by Lindsay Eagar. Duck is an orphan saved and raised by a group of street urchins called the crowns, but when Duck becomes an apprentice baker in preparation for a heist she has to decide if the life of a thief is worth having.

Check it out along with the other titles below!

Best Friends, Bikinis, and Other Summer Catastrophes
Written by Kristi Wientge
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available Now!

The Boy Who Met a Whale
Written by Nizrana Farook
Published by Peachtree
Available Now!

The Darkening of Dragons: Songs of Magic
Written by S.A. Patrick
Published by Peachtree
Available Now!

King and Kayla and the Case of the Lost Library Book
Written by Dori Hillestad Butler and Illustrated by Nancy Meyers
Published by Peachtree
Available Now!

The Patron Thief of Bread
Written by Lindsay Eagar
Published by Candlewick Press
Available Now!

The Problem With Prophesies
Written by Scott Reintgen
Published by Aladdin
Available Today!

Revenge or Mercy?: A Review of The Secret Battles of Evan Pao

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao 
Wendy Wan-Long Shang 
Scholastic Press
Ages 8 to 12
June 7th, 2022 

Evan Pao and his family just want to start fresh, away from his father’s infamy and neighbors’ stares, and a small town in Virginia seems like the right place. But, Haddington, Virginia has its own Southern traditions and views that the Pao family and Evan don’t fit into, especially since Brady Griggs has it out for him as the only Chinese American boy in town. When Brady commits a hate crime against the Pao family but isn’t punished, Evan faces the choice of getting revenge or being a bigger person and having mercy.  

Told from multiple points of view from family, friends, and people around Haddington, these different perspectives reveal themes of racism, bullying, sexism, and their prevalence in the community. Shang treats grave and demeaning topics with realism and care, and a tone of hope that lends an uplifting feel to the weighty subjects. Although Evan knows he and his family don’t fit into the small town, he strives to show that some town traditions do relate to him and that Asian Americans have a legacy in the American South, just like everyone else. In the beginning, Evan struggles through many of the town’s prejudices that impact him and his family, and when it seems like he could give in to hate and subjugation, Evan overcomes these ‘secret battles’ within himself to reveal that forgiveness and mercy are vital for healing all wounds. Although the novel focuses on Evan as the main male protagonist, other characters are depicted as slowly adjusting their racially insensitive biases and worldview based on Evan’s influence. Evan proves that it only takes one brave person to break a cycle of hate and racial stereotyping in order to make a difference in the community. This deeply moving novel highlights the struggle young people have with self-identity, and how hard fitting into a new place can be, but that taking the initiative and being brave has its rewards.