Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Summary: This biography of science fiction writer Octavia Butler is told through a collection of poetry, photographs, and quotations from Butler. Starting with her early life as a solitary child growing up in 1950’s Pasadena, readers get to see how Octavia’s struggles in school, her introverted nature, and her love of books combined to lead to her a life as a writer. She was fascinated by science fiction, although almost all of the writers and heroes of the stories were white men. After years of rejection, she finally began selling her stories and eventually wrote books that earned her Nebula and Hugo awards as well as a MacArthur fellowship. Includes a final chapter on Ibi Zoboi’s connection to Octavia Butler (they shared a birthday and met in person several times, including a science fiction writing workshop) and a list of Butler’s books. 128 pages; grades 7-12.
Pros: This unique biography is a pretty quick read but gives an intimate look at Octavia Butler’s life and writing. Readers who are not familiar with Butler’s work (like me) may be motivated to seek it out after getting this introduction.
Cons: I saw some recommendations for this book starting in fifth grade, but I think it would be better appreciated by middle school and high school students, since Butler’s books are for young adults and adults.
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