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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable. Slight water damage may be present.
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I Lived on Butterfly Hill Hardcover – March 4, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5–8—Celeste is a sixth-grader living in Valparaíso, 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 Valparaíso starts being affected by what Celeste's parents call "earthquakes of the soul"—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. Agosín 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 Agosín'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.—Jenna Lanterman, formerly at The Calhoun School and Mary McDowell Friends School, New York City

From 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—neighbors and classmates begin to disappear, and military ships crowd the harbor—she 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—gentle and compassionate doctors who care for the poor—go 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. Grades 5-8. --Jeanne Fredriksen
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 770 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416953442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416953449
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Eleven-year-old Celeste Marconi, who lived with her parents, abuela (grandmother), and nanny in the port city of Valparaiso, Chile, had no idea that her happy and carefree life was about to be turned upside down. As news spread that the newly-appointed Chilean president was overthrown by a dictator, Celeste's joy was quickly overshadowed by fear, especially when some of her classmates mysteriously began disappearing. Just when Celeste thought that she couldn't handle another bout of terror, her parents, who were doctors and seen by the new government as subversives for aiding the poor, decide to go into hiding. And worse --- they tell Celeste that she must leave her beloved Butterfly Hill (her home, named after her favorite flower) to live with her aunt in America.

Told in first person, Celeste narrates her life's journey during a turbulent time in Chile's history. Parallel to Celeste's experiences, award-winning Chilean poet Agostin knows, first-hand, what it was like to live in fear --- she escaped the horrors of Pinochet's 17-year dictatorship by moving to the US. In her first book geared for young adults, Agostin has taken her experiences and created a story of courage against all odds. Tightly woven with historical facts, Celeste is confronted with a plethora of obstacles --- both in her homeland and during her three-year stay with her aunt in Juliette Cove, Maine.

Agostin' s narrative is remarkably laced with poetic imagery of beauty, love, and hope in the midst of horrific crimes toward humanity. Coupled with this imagery is the handful of strong role models who help mold how Celeste will ultimately address tough decisions.
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Format: Hardcover
Majorie Agosin’s I Lived on Butterfly Hill is a superb book: elegant, deeply moving, luminous, and gently powerful. The prose is luscious and evocative – themes, imagery, and metaphors are continuously embellished and resurfaced throughout the book creating a deep sense of unity of ideas and emotional continuity for the characters. Although this 454-page book is marketed to readers ages 10 to 14, the wisdom, delights and sheer loveliness of the prose will deeply engage and enthrall readers of all ages.

The story follows Celeste, a Chilean youngster whose life is radically changed after a military coup in her country. Friends slowly begin vanishing from school, people become reluctant to discuss events, and fear, uncertainly, and dread become a visceral part of life. Celeste is a well-loved daughter of two doctors who tend to the poor. She is poetically inclined and has already observed that rain in her country falls two different ways – on the wealthy it brings nourishment and makes flowers bloom, on the poor it destroys their cardboard and tin homes and spoils their food. She is wise because she is observant.

After her parents are forced to go into hiding, Celeste is sent to Maine with no English, no sense of American life, and no skills in the world of “chores.” She also has no knowledge of snow or cold or silence or solitude. We walk with Celeste through her years in Maine as she comes to understand and accept and value this northern world while always yearning for home and for the parents who might or might not still be alive. Eventually, the Chilean dictatorship falls and she returns home to yet another prolonged adjustment to a world that is no longer the world she left so many years before.

She finds that many things, and many people, are gone for good.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent middle grade novel on one girl's experience with the dictatorship in Chile. It's written in first-person, and takes places between the ages of 11-13. I loved how the author managed to tell a difficult story from the eyes of a child, never sugar-coating the experience but leaving out the violence and torture that was part of that time period.
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Format: Hardcover
The story grows on you over time and slowly the different characters come to life as their own experiences change because of the political changes in Chile. The protagonist, Celeste, who is also the narrator, is a dreamy and ethereal character in the beginning of the book, losing herself in her own pre-adolescent world, as she stares at the night sky and flies in her imagination. As the novel develops and Celeste has to face fear and loneliness and exile, she becomes even stronger as a person, even more of an idealist, but also more aware of the plight of those around her. Her bonds with her grandmother and her nanny are the strongest, and the reader comes to know them also quite well and understand their own very different personal histories and plights. I felt that I didn't get to know Celeste's parents quite as well, as their stories were sketched in a more general manner and the protagonist never stopped admiring both of them. Maybe a bit of friction between daughter and parents before their world changed would have grounded the story a bit more, without threatening the strong family ties . . . .

I found the references to the dictatorship and its aftermath, vague and ominous as they were, quite effective. Young (and older) readers who want to learn more about what happened can find that information in a number of books. In a few, well-selected passages, this novel captures the fear of not knowing, the fear of asking, the fear of even writing about the disappeared in a way that touches the reader. But it also captures the joys of strolling around, having ice cream, dancing, and staring at the stars. In future editions, it would be helpful to include a brief historical account at the end and a beginning bibliography for those students and teachers who will use this book as the basis for a larger discussion on the history of Chile. Celeste will be their spirited guide and inspiration.
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