Agosin, Marjorie. I Lived on Butterfly Hill. Atheneum Books for Young Readers: New York, NY. 2014. ISBN: 9781416953449
Celeste Marconi is an eleven-year-old girl who lives in Chile. She loves reading, writing, and hanging out with her friends. She collects words and dreams of being a writer. When her beautiful and beloved country is taken over by a military dictatorship, Celeste will face hardships she has never known. Her doctor parents, healers and champions for the poor, are at risk of being captured and killed by soldiers. In order to keep Celeste safe, they send her to live with her Aunt, who lives on the coast of Maine and they themselves go into hiding. Unable to speak English, and without any friends, Celeste must navigate her way through life in this strange land she dares not call home. Plagued with the heartache of her parents disappearance and her home taken over
This is probably the best novel I have read in a long, long time. I mean the absolute best. The emotions I felt while reading this surpassed anything I’ve ever read, excluding only Lurlene McDaniel books, and as ever, Harry Potter.
Celeste is such a beautifully written character. Through her young but wise eyes, you see the world she lived in. You see the war she fought. While she didn’t fight in the actual war, she did fight her own. Figuring out who you are while you worry about your friends and family is one heck of a battle to fight.
Agosin perfectly demonstrated the toll that hardship takes on children. When Celeste is finally able to come back to Chile, things will never be the same. Everything and everyone has changed.
As far as story goes, the only thing I want is to know what happened to the Chinese family Celeste met in the states, but I guess not knowing what happened to them was the point.
As far as writing is concerned, her style is incredibly beautiful. The writing is beautiful and lyrical. Every detail is perfect and adds on to the story. I absolutely loved it!
Accompanying the story are a few beautiful illustrations. They aren’t needed, but I do like them.
All in all, I think everyone should be required to read this gorgeous, heartbreaking, heartwarming, wonderful story.
Pura Belpre Award 2015
From School Library Journal: “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.”
From Booklist: “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”
Books like I Lived on Butterfly Hill:
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle ISBN: 1481435221
Surviving Santiago by Lyn Miller-Lachmann ISBN: 0762456337