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.  

Do Monsters Dream of Were-Sheep: A Review of Let the Monster Out

Bones is the new boy in town. With a chip on his shoulder, a hair-trigger, and a fastball that could knock you over, he’s making waves on the local baseball team. But then the adults in the sleepy small town of Langille start to act strangely. Then Bones and his new teammate Kyle save a mysterious man with a conspiracy theory-filled notebook from drowning. The duo decides it’s up to them and a group of new friends to investigate the strange happenings and free Langille from the mysterious and terrifying grip of the mega-corporation Fluxcorp. The team consists of Bones; Kyle, the neuro-atypical smart kid; Marcus, the most popular boy in town, part of the only black family besides Bones’ family, and youngest in a family of 6; and finally, Albert, the nervous one. The text alternates the point of view between primary narrators Bones and Kyle as they learn how to be each other’s best friend and how to grow out of fear. Author Chad Lucas takes on several difficult topics, like Bones’ abusive father and Kyle’s autism. Lucas presents them in an appropriate way for children without overly sanitizing. Kyle’s autism is handled particularly well, with the help of sensitivity readers, Lucas writes the condition as complex, depicting it as neutral, not good or bad.

A funny, spooky, and never subtle entry in the “kids save a small town” genre, with a few surprises along the way.

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf we are featuring recent and coming soon titles! Enter the magical world of the Salazars, firebreathing chipmunks, grumpy unicorns, and chupacabras need rescuing! This fun and funny family adventure by Zoraida Cordova pits the Salazar family versus terrible monster hunters who will stop at nothing to destroy magic.

Check it out along with the other titles below!

At the Pond
Written by David Elliot and Illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
Published by Candlewick Press
Available May 24th!

City of Magic
Written by Avi
Published by Scholastic Press
Available June 28th!

Girls Who Green the World: Thirty-Four Rebel Women Out to Save Our Planet
Written by Diana Kapp and Illustrated by Ana Jaren
Published by Delacorte Press
Available Now!

Mako & Tiger: Two Not-So-Friendly Sharks
Written by Scott Rothman and Illustrated by Mika Song
Published by Random House Studio
Available Now!

Meet Me in Mumbai
Written by Sabina Khan
Published by Push
Available August 2nd!

Valentina Salazar is Not a Monster Hunter
Written by Zoraida Cordova
Published by Scholastic Press
Available June 28th!

Butler Bookshelf

This week on the Butler Bookshelf we are featuring recent and coming soon titles! The Waiting Place by Dina Nayeri is a look at the lives of 10 refugee children from Afghanistan and Iran. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Chasing Rainbows
Written and Illustrated by Gabby Grant
Published by Tate Publishing
Available today!

Karthik Delivers
Written by Sheela Chari
Published by Amulet Books
Available now!

My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding
Written by Sajni Patel
Published by Amulet Books
Available now!

Twas the Night Before Pride
Written by Joanna McClintick and Illustrated by Juana Medina
Published by Candlewick
Available May 3rd!

The Waiting Place: When Home is Lost and a New One Not Yet Found
Written by Dina Nayeri and Photography by Anna Bosch Miralpeix
Published by Candlewick
Available May 3rd!

Wildseed Witch
Written by Marti Dumas
Published by Amulet Books
Available May 10th!

Found Family in France: A Review of The Pear Affair

The Pear Affair 
Judith Eagle 
Illustrated by Jo Rioux 
Walker Books US 
May 24, 2022 
Ages 10-14 

Penelope “Nell” Magnificent generally avoids her parents, as they are neglectful and care more about their material possessions and wealth than her. The only genuine love she has felt in her life comes from her au pair, Perrine, who left her five years ago to return to her home city of Paris. Perrine, or Pear as Nell calls her, wrote Nell letters monthly, though six months ago those letters stopped. Nell accompanies  her parents on a trip to Paris, determined to find Pear. Nell memorized the layout of Paris, studying maps and guidebooks, as she trusted that someday Pear would free her from her parents. Nell first looks at Pear’s job and home but is unable to find her. Even worse, the adults she asks for information increasingly appear to have something to hide. Nell befriends Xavier, a young bellhop, who helps her and introduces her to a group of youngsters who are also quick to help as needed. As the group of children works to find clues about Pear’s whereabouts, they uncover a plot tied to the Thing, a mysterious outbreak of mold affecting traditional Parisian bakeries, forcing many family businesses to close. 

Nell’s exploration of her world is fully engrossing, as she pores over the information she has about Paris before embarking on the family trip. Events escalate in a way that maintains suspense, with Nell initially looking for Pear alone but eventually working with a large group to unravel a greater mystery. The secondary characters are young children who roam underground tunnels beneath Paris, resulting in a unique aspect of the city being central to the story. While there are many villainous adults throughout the story, helpful ones are also present, which keeps the story from delving too far into extremes of good and evil in its realistic setting. Occasional black and white illustrations bring key moments to life. This story is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy the journey of watching a mystery become more complex as it marches towards its conclusion, which leads to Nell finding the sense of love and belonging from a found family that now extends beyond Pear. 

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! Once Upon Another Time is the beginning of the storybook character mixing trilogy of middle-grade novels by James Riley. Follow Jin, a young genie, and Lena, the kid of giants, as they try to stop the machinations of the Golden King! Check it out along with the other titles below!

How to Build a Human In Seven Evolutionary Steps
Written by Pamela S. Turner and Illustrated by John Gurche
Published by Charlesbridge
Available April 12th!

Once Upon Another Time
Written by James Riley
Published by Aladdin
Available today!

Planting a Garden in Room 6
Written by Caroline Arnold
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

Powwow Day
Written by Traci Sorell and Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

She Gets the Girl
Written by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Available today!

Smitten with Kittens
Written by Florence Minor and Illustrated by Wendell Minor
Published by Charlesbridge
Available now!

From Boring Summer Vacation to Surprise Quinceañera: A Review of Miss Quinces

Miss Quinces
Kat Fajardo
Scholastic
May 3, 2022
Ages 8 to 12

This coming of age graphic novel follows Suyapa Gutierrez, a young Latin-American girl who reluctantly journeys to Honduras for her summer vacation, only to receive an unwelcome surprise. Learning that she has to draw a comic over the summer break, Suyapa believes that her trip to Honduras will lead to boredom with no cell service or friends. However, during her stay in Honduras, Suyapa’s mom surprises her by planning a quinceañera. Reluctantly, Suyapa begins to enjoy the planning of the party and her Latina heritage. Blindsided by a close death in the family, but determined to honor the family, Suyapa perseveres and ultimately does have fun participating in the quinceañera. In the end, she completes her travelogue comic, giving insights into her trip and the importance of her cultural heritage.

The novel contains text that is mainly in English with some Spanish words throughout, but they can be interpreted easily in the contents of the English dialogue. As Suyapa’s family in Honduras only speaks Spanish, the speech bubbles reflect that language when the text is a different color. As speaking Spanish is important to Suyapa’s family and quinceañera traditions, this distinction is important as Suyapa begins the novel refusing to speak it but gradually ends up only speaking Spanish. The plot is fast-paced as Suyapa’s Honduras trip does happen within a month of time, which influences the fast development of the characters, especially the main character. Suyapa is portrayed as journeying through girlhood to womanhood as she transitions from disinterested in her family and Latin American roots to becoming culturally appreciative. The novel is efficient in its progression of actions within panels and its simplistic illustrations, moving from a darker scheme to vibrant colors engaging readers in the cultural heritage of Honduras and the traditions of the quinceañera. Miss Quinces will appeal to young readers looking for a fast-paced novel and those who struggle with the weirdness of identity and the cultural importance of traditions.

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! In Stella Keeps the Sun Up written by Clothilde Ewing and illustrated by Lynn Gaines, Stella schemes to keep the sun up so she never has a bedtime! She learns the benefits of sleeping and why going to bed is great. Check it out along with the other titles below!

Catalina Incognito
Written by Jennifer Torres and Illustrated by Gladys Jose
Published by Aladdin
Available now!

Darryl’s Dream
Written by Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Shawnee, Johnny Warfield, and Adam Padilla. Illustrated by Tristan Tait
Published by King of Rock Publishing
Available now!

Emile and the Field
Written by Kevin Young and Illustrated by Choima Ebinama
Published by Make Me a World
Available April 15th!

Finn and the Subatomic Slip-and-Slide
Written by Micheal Buckley
Published by Delacorte Press
Available now!

Lady Icarus: Balloonomania and the Brief, Bold Life of Sophie Blanchard
Written by Deborah Noyes
Published by Random House Studio
Available now!

Stella Keeps the Sun Up
Written by Clothhilde Ewing and Illustrated by Lynn Gaines
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Availible now!

Butler Bookshelf

This week’s Butler Bookshelf features recently released and coming soon titles! These include It Starts With a Bee by Aimee Gallagher. A poetic look into the world of bees. The colorful illustrations by Jennie Webber show the journey bees take to help the flowers you love, and the fruits and vegetables you eat, grow.  Check it out along with the other titles below!

Blue Badger
Written by Huw Lewis Jones and Illustrated by Ben Sanders
Published by Happy Yak
Available Now!

Don’t Call me a Hurricane
Written by Ellen Hagan
Published by Bloomsbury
Available July 19th, 2022

It Starts With a Bee
Written by Aimee Gallagher and Illustrated by Jennie Webber
Published by QED Publishing
Available April 5th, 2022

The Loophole
Written by Naz Kutub
Published by Bloomsbury
Available June 21st, 2022

A Taste of Magic
Written by J. Elle
Published by Bloomsbury Children’s books
Available August 30th, 2022

You Are Not Alone
Written by The Alphabet Rockers and Illustrated by Ashley Evans
Published by Sourcebook eXplore
Available now!