MG at Heart Book Club’s November Pick: MY FATE ACCORDING TO THE BUTTERFLY, by Gail D. Villanueva

When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her — on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.

If Sab’s going to get Ate Nadine and their father to reconcile, she’ll have to overcome her fears — of her sister’s anger, of leaving the bubble of her sheltered community, of her upcoming doom — and figure out the cause of their rift.

So Sab and her best friend Pepper start spying on Nadine and digging into their family’s past to determine why, exactly, Nadine won’t speak to their father. But Sab’s adventures across Manila reveal truths about her family more difficult — and dangerous — than she ever anticipated.

Was the Butterfly right? Perhaps Sab is doomed after all!

* “Villanueva’s debut is a beautiful #ownvoices middle-grade novel. Tough topics are addressed, but warmth and humor… bring lightness to Sab’s story. This immersive novel bursts with life.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Debut author Villanueva deftly incorporates a touch of the magical alongside vibrant details about contemporary Filipino life and a universal story about growing up, reconciliation, and family.” — Publishers Weekly

And the theme for the months discussion around the book is Superstitions and Signs! Be sure to check in each week for the discussion questions and chime in to let us know what you think!

The newsletter goes out 11/25.

Cover Reveal: MUSIC FOR TIGERS, by Michelle Kadarusman

Michelle, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of your cover reveal for MUSIC FOR TIGERS? I adored both THE THEORY OF HUMMINGBIRDS (2017) AND GIRL OF THE SOUTHERN SEA (2019). Will you tell our readers a little bit about yourself, please?

Thanks so much, Kathie! Your support truly means the world to me. So, before I go on, I really want to say, hand-on-heart THANKS to you and MGBookVillage for being such incredible cheerleaders for authors, books, readers and the middle grade community at large.

It still gives me a thrill to say I’m a children’s author. I started out writing for younger readers for Chirp and chickadee magazines – which incidentally, for any new writers out there – kid’s magazines are an excellent way to break into the kidlit scene. My first book was YA/hi-lo for the Lorimer Sidestreet series. Then I tried to write another YA but my ‘voice’ kept yearning to be younger. So, I switched to middle grade and immediately felt at home! MUSIC FOR TIGERS is my third middle grade novel, I’m working on my fourth.

Can you tell us a bit about MUSIC FOR TIGERS?

MUSIC FOR TIGERS is about a Canadian girl, a violin enthusiast, spending the summer at her Australian mother’s family camp in the Tasmanian bush. There she discovers that her great-grandmother started a secret sanctuary for extinct marsupials, including the thylacine, or more popularly known as the Tasmanian tiger. A dog-like carnivorous marsupial with dark tiger stripes. Her family have been stewards of the sanctuary for decades but now a mining development threatens the forest and the safety of the last remaining tiger.

It sounds fascinating! What inspired you to write this story?

Michelle: The kernel for MUSIC FOR TIGERS had been swirling around in my mind for years. I’m not entirely sure why, but Tasmanian tigers have really wanted my attention. Perhaps because growing up in Australia this animal and its history always fascinated and deeply saddened me. Also, a few news articles appeared fairly recently about people claiming to have sighted them. The question of whether they still exist continues to intrigue me. The last known Tasmanian tiger died in captivity in 1936 after they were hunted into extinction by early settlers.

As a nature and animal lover, the reality of animal extinction and deforestation is devastating. I’m inspired to try and write stories that (hopefully) help to encourage young readers to think about being custodians and caretakers of the natural world.

Did you have any input on the cover, and who is the illustrator?

I am lucky to be published by Pajama Press. The publisher, Gail Winskill, is a marvel, and she very courteously asks my input with cover design ideas, but ultimately it is the amazing work of art director, uber talented, Rebecca Bender. To me, the cover for MUSIC FOR TIGERS is especially wonderful and perfectly evokes the allure of this mysterious creature.

OK, let’s show everyone what it looks like!

Oh WOW, this might be my favorite of all your covers, it’s stunning!

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about your book?

For research I travelled to a remote area in the North West of Tasmania called the Tarkine. It is an incredibly beautiful part of the world – including a pristine, bewitching, ancient temperate rainforest. Sadly, logging and mining remain a threat to the area. It is hard to fathom, world-wide, how we are letting our ancient forests to be compromised. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to immerse myself in that magical setting and get back to my Aussie roots. I grew up in Melbourne, but my mum was born in Tasmania. Even for Australians, Tassie feels distant and remote, so I’m excited to introduce this unique place to North American readers who may not know about its rich history.

What is the release date for MUSIC FOR TIGERS, and where can our readers go to find out more information about it, and you?

Release date is April 28, 2020. Pre-orders are available! Please visit me at: Twitter: @MichelleRReader, Instagram: michellekadarusman or Goodreads

Thanks again for letting us be part of your cover release. This book is one of my most anticipated 2020 MG releases, so I can’t wait to read it!

I can’t wait to know what you think! Thanks so much for sharing and supporting my new work.

Michelle Kadarusman is a Governor General’s Award nominated children’s author. She grew up in Melbourne, Australia and has lived in Bali, Jakarta and Surabaya in Indonesia. Toronto has been her home since 2000.

Her first middle grade novel, THE THEORY OF HUMMINGBIRDS, was inspired in part by her experience of having a childhood disability. It was nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s (OLA) Silver Birch Express award, along with the Saskatchewan (SYRCA) and Manitoba (MYRCA) young readers’ choice awards.

Her second middle grade novel, Governor General’s Award nominated GIRL OF THE SOUTHERN SEA, is set in Indonesia and was chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection.

Michelle founded the former literacy charity Raising Readers in Toronto (2006 – 2018) and held the position of submissions and marketing manager for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award, from 2011 to 2018. She currently writes full time.