I Lived on Butterfly Hill
I Lived on Butterfly Hill

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Annotation: When her beloved country, Chile, is taken over by a militaristic, sadistic government, Celeste is sent to America for her safety, and her parents must go into hiding before they "disappear."
Catalog Number: #98694
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Illustrator: White, Lee,
Pages: 454 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-416-99402-5 Perma-Bound: 0-605-86185-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-416-99402-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-86185-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2013018099
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Eleven-year-old Chilean girl Celeste faces upheaval when a brutal dictator rises to power, her parents go into hiding, and she is shipped off to Maine. Threads of mysticism lend an interesting element, but the book is best when rooted in reality, transporting readers with sensory-steeped settings and Celeste's vividly evoked feelings of alienation. Black-and-white illustrations depict the turmoil but with a soft touch.
Publishers Weekly
Agosín-s rich, expansive novel, based on true events in Chile during the 1970s, covers three turbulent years in Celeste Marconi-s life. Sixth-grader Celeste, surrounded by a loving family and lively friends, basks in the natural beauty of coastal Valparaíso, befriending pelicans, dreaming, and writing on her rooftop, which overlooks the harbor. Her idyllic life abruptly ends when a dictatorship takes over Chile, killing the Socialist president and removing his supporters-people like Celeste-s idealistic parents, doctors who run a clinic for the poor. Classmates begin to disappear, her parents go into hiding, and Celeste is sent to a small Maine town to live with her aunt, where she struggles with homesickness, anxiety about her parents, learning English, and making friends. As Celeste slowly comes to feel comfortable in Maine, Agosín explores the relentless mixed emotions of having two homes especially well. -It-s like I have one foot on Juliette Cove and the other in Butterfly Hill,- thinks Celeste. The book-s length and broad scope may intimidate some readers, but the realistically bittersweet ending is rewarding. Art not seen by PW. Ages 10-14. Author-s agent: Jennifer Lyons, Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency. (Mar.)

School Library Journal
Gr 5&11;8&12; Celeste is a sixth-grader living in Valpara&7;so, Chile. Her life is idyllic, full of a loving, multigenerational family, a home she finds inspiring, and good friends. Things take a drastic turn when Valpara&7;so starts being affected by what Celeste's parents call "earthquakes of the soul"&12;the country falls under the grip of a ruthless dictator who is determined to eliminate dissent. Friends start disappearing, and Celeste's parents, who are seen as subversives for their work helping the disadvantaged, go into hiding. Celeste is sent to live with her aunt in the United States, where she struggles to acclimate, and to understand the larger picture of what is happening at home. Agos&7;n has woven a historical story that draws on her own life experiences, with themes of exile, the quest for justice, and the power of the written word to preserve history. The story mirrors, but does not directly reference, the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and its accompanying turmoil. The language is poetic and full of imagery and, while the book is long, it moves at a smooth pace. Occasional illustrations reflect the mood of each phase of the story. This is Agos&7;n's first book for a younger audience, and she has managed to capture the wide-eyed curiosity and confusion of her narrator. Given its length and weighty themes, this book is best suited for serious readers.&12; Jenna Lanterman, formerly at The Calhoun School and Mary McDowell Friends School, New York City
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Observant, curious 11-year-old dreamer Celeste Marconi wants to be a writer when she grows up. She embraces everything about her peaceful, magical harbor city of Valparaiso, Chile, from the pelicans who greet her every morning to the colors and flowers of the gardens. But when small things start to change ighbors and classmates begin to disappear, and military ships crowd the harbor e knows trouble of some kind is on the horizon. Words like subversive and dictatorship are whispered in conversation. Books are burned. Artists, educators, and those believing in equality for all are removed from society. No one feels safe. During the government takeover, Celeste's parents ntle and compassionate doctors who care for the poor into hiding and send her to live in America with her aunt. Like her Jewish grandmother who escaped Austria just before the Holocaust, Celeste learns to cope with exile, never allowing her homeland to fade from her heart. Agosín, an award-winning author, lived a similar multicultural, multigenerational story set around the Pinochet coup in the 1970s, and she writes of it with beauty and grace, telling a compelling tale that both enchants and haunts. Illustrations unseen.
Word Count: 88,060
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 13.0 / quiz: 172111 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.7 / points:21.0 / quiz:Q62465
Lexile: 770L

An eleven-year-old’s world is upended by political turmoil in this “lyrically ambitious tale of exile and reunification” (Kirkus Reviews) from an award-winning poet, based on true events in Chile.

Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile—until one day when warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates start disappearing from class without a word. Celeste doesn’t quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore.

The country has been taken over by a government that declares artists, protestors, and anyone who helps the needy to be considered “subversive” and dangerous to Chile’s future. So Celeste’s parents—her educated, generous, kind parents—must go into hiding before they, too, “disappear.” Before they do, however, they send Celeste to America to protect her.

As Celeste adapts to her new life in Maine, she never stops dreaming of Chile. But even after democracy is restored to her home country, questions remain: Will her parents reemerge from hiding? Will she ever be truly safe again?

Accented with interior artwork, steeped in the history of Pinochet’s catastrophic takeover of Chile, and based on many true events, this multicultural ode to the power of revolution, words, and love is both indelibly brave and heartwrenchingly graceful.

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