Butterflies in May Praise

Butterflies in May
Karen Hart $16.95

“Karen Hart writes with a sweet simplicity that often brings a lump to your throat. Her tale of Ali Parker, a pregnant teen from a good family, is heartbreaking because it is so devastatingly honest. With gentle insistence, Hart weaves a story that is as complex as reality itself. Butterflies in May is a beautiful debut, a thoughtful addition to ‘real world’ YA literature.”
—LIBBY STERNBERG, EDGAR-NOMINATED AUTHOR OF UNCOVERING SADIE’S SECRETS AND FINDING THE FORGER

“Butterflies in May is a moving, coming-of-age story that explores with sensitivity how one high school student makes a decision that is right for her—against her mother’s wishes—when she discovers that she’s pregnant. Through Ali, Karen Hart allows the reader to understand how careful kids can get pregnant, how people learn what is right for them—without assuming that this means their path is right for everyone—and how the key to adolescent health and a healthy transition to becoming an adult is knowledge, understanding, and tolerance. This is a book that will move young adults, while providing them with a richer understanding of the world around them.”
—PETER BEARMAN, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY, AND DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RESEARCH AND POLICY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

“Teenagers often keep traumatic experiences to themselves and spiral into depression or denial. The fact that teen pregnancy is a delicate subject makes it even more difficult to talk about openly. Butterflies in May breaks this taboo and brings readers immediately into Ali’s personal crisis of teen pregnancy, thereby providing a springboard for discussion and learning.”
—CATHARINE FARRELL, LIBRARIAN, MONTGOMERY HIGH SCHOOL, SANTA ROSA, CA

“Hart has taken a difficult topic—teen pregnancy—and turned it into an outstanding examination of the whole experience. As a former coordinator of a teen pregnancy/parenting program, I wish this novel had been available to use in my classroom and school. Butterflies in May captures the emotional upheavals and decision making that occur during a teen pregnancy. It should be required reading for all teenagers AND their parents.”
—MADELON MATILE, FORMER HIGH SCHOOL COORDINATOR, TEEN PREGNANCY & PARENTING PROGRAM, BLUFFTON, SC

“I loved Butterflies in May! I read the book in one afternoon. As a freshman in high school, it gave me real insight into the challenges and consequences teenagers face when they choose to become involved in sexual relationships. It really touched my heart!”
—SARAH HICKAM, AGED 14, STUDENT AT POPE JOHN PAUL THE II HIGH SCHOOL, HENDERSONVILLE, TN

“Karen Hart’s Butterflies in May is a compelling coming of age novel, and a captivating and frank new book. In this moving story of a young woman facing the dilemma of an unintended pregnancy, the author beautifully captures the emotions of first love, the roller-coaster ride of emotions when facing the dilemma of an unintended pregnancy, and the feelings evoked when romantic ideals clash with the realities of the ultimate decision. Hart’s depictions of parents, friends, as well as health care providers are vividly drawn and are presented in a balanced and insightful manner. By presenting the kaleidoscope of complex emotions that surface as life-shaping choices are made, the book offers parents and teens a wonderful opportunity to talk and share, through book clubs, classrooms, and drama productions, and as a teaching tool in a number of community settings.”
—DR. CLAIRE D. BRINDIS, PROFESSOR OF PEDIATRICS AND HEALTH POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SAN FRANCISCO

“Hart brilliantly and realistically describes the emotional decisions that arise for teens who are pregnant. All teens, whether sexually active or not, and whether male or female, should consider Butterflies in May essential.”
—KRISTIN FLADSETH, AGE 18, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE STUDENT

“Butterflies in May is a realistic, heartrending story of a teenage girl’s traumatic experiences with an unintended pregnancy. The reader follows Ali’s thoughts and emotions as she considers whether to become part of the 29 percent of teens who have abortions, the 57% of teens who keep their babies, or the 11% of women who give up their babies for adoption. The story brings forth sage advice on decision making for teens while capturing the passion of a teen’s first love and the struggle between a parent’s wish to protect her child and a teen’s need for independence. It is also a remarkably timeless book. Free of pop culture or historical references, it could be a story from 1975 or 2015.”
—YVONNE C. ERVIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE CANDIE’S FOUNDATION, WHICH IS DEVOTED TO “EDUCATING AMERICA’S YOUTH ABOUT THE DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES OF TEEN PREGNANCY”

“As an educator and therapist, I’ve had the privilege of entering the world of those who feel lost—overpowered and overwhelmed by choices and consequences. Butterflies in May tells such a story as Ali Parker makes a difficult journey to discover answers that’ll satisfy the integrity of her heart. It’s a book about finding courage and strength in the face of sorrow and loss. It’s also about the sacrificial gift of love that heals not just one heart, but many hearts.”
—LLOYD FRITZ, EDUCATOR AND MARRIAGE FAMILY THERAPIST, SANTA ROSA, CA

“Butterflies in May is a poignant novel that captures so many of the issues associated with teen pregnancy—adolescent sexual development, romantic relationships, reproductive rights, reproductive services for teens, family relationships, educational demands, and planning for the future. The reader accompanies the novel’s main character, Ali Parker, through many of the decisions and emotions she faces after learning she is pregnant, as well as the emotions and reactions of her boyfriend, best friend, and family. Author Karen Hart thus creates a perfect resource for educators to use with youth, parents, and professionals who work with young people. The opportunities for critical discussion about the key issues and values appear on almost every page. Short of shadowing a pregnant teen through her pregnancy, there is no better way to find out what it’s like to be a teenager faced with an unplanned pregnancy.”
—LORI A. ROLLERI, MSW, MPH, SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGER, ETR ASSOCIATES, A NATIONAL NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT CONDUCTS ADOLESCENT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RESEARCH, TRAINING, AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, SANTA CRUZ, CA

“Butterflies in May soars right into the hearts of young and old readers alike. It takes you into an unparalleled journey through the life of an expectant teenager. Author Karen Hart does an exceptional job of pulling you right into the mind of an adolescent faced with a life altering decision: whether to have an abortion, keep her newborn, or give her baby up for adoption. Butterflies in May made me feel as if I was Ali (the expectant teenager). I got a better understanding of what it would be like if I were to become pregnant. With that information, I believe I’m even better equipped to teach my PSI (Postponing Sexual Involvement) class to pre-teens, who are curious about sex. I will definitely be using Butterflies in May as a teaching tool. This book is a must have for all families because it opens up channels of discussion. Butterflies in May has broken the chains of silence that have held this topic (teenage pregnancy) captive for years.”
—CRYSTALYN THOMAS-DAVIS, PSI TEEN LEADER, WALNUT HILLS HIGH SCHOOL ’07, CINCINNATI, OH

“Butterflies in May depicts a very honest and heart wrenching story of the life, decisions, and relationships of a pregnant teenager. The uncertainty that Ali experiences regarding her choices in pregnancy and her accompanying feelings are so true to life. As a case manager at a home for pregnant teens, I see this situation with every girl who walks through our door. Karen Hart creates a wonderful story that can help any pregnant teen realize that what she is feeling and experiencing regarding her pregnancy is normal and felt by many who are in the same situation.”
—COURTNEY SMITH, CASE MANAGER AT BRIDGEWAY, A HOME FOR PREGNANT TEENS, LAKEWOOD, CO

“Butterflies in May is a wonderful story about a teenage girl who finds out she’s pregnant. The story immediately captures the reader’s attention because the characters are so real and their feelings so easy to relate to. The story offers a message that’s extremely important in today’s world. Though parents don’t want their children exposed to discussions about sex, teens are constantly bombarded with the topic. While TV shows glamorize sexual activities, this book offers a very real picture of the consequences of being sexually active at a young age. Karen Hart has written the story in a way that allows the reader to become a part of Ali Parker’s life. As the story progresses, readers may find themselves questioning their own feelings about sex, abortion, and adoption. Readers undoubtedly will find themselves devastated, excited, and confused as Ali experiences these emotions herself. (Because the story deals with teenage sexuality, students in junior high may need some guidance from their parents while reading the book.)”
—MORGAN ZERWAS, MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER, SANTA ROSA, CA

“I think Ali Parker is a strong, brave woman who made the right decision for her and the baby. She kept her head up when things got tough and stuck through it. I really enjoyed this book. When Ali had to make hard decisions, I felt as if I was right there in the middle of the conversations, making some decisions with her. It was touching and had very strong points. I think this book is really helpful for teens and young teens because it shows the consequences of having sex and the complications you might have to go through. It will also help teens understand that it is hard to have a baby when you already have plans and goals for your life. Thank you for giving me the chance to read this wonderful book.”
—VALADIA LEE, TEEN LEADER, POSTPONING SEXUAL INVOLVEMENT PROGRAM, 11TH GRADE, HUGHES CENTER PAIDEIA PROGRAM, CINCINNATI, OHIO

“As a former teacher of adolescents, I recommend Butterflies in May to any student faced with life-altering decisions. The book provides a catalyst for discussing a sensitive issue in the classroom because the characters represent many voices in the pro-choice/pro-life debate. Even students not personally touched by teenage pregnancy will learn from Ali’s emotional roller coaster as she struggles to make the best choice for all involved. Karen Hart’s writing will appeal to the adolescent reader.”
—LINDA WEDWICK, FORMER MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER, NOW ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION DEPARTMENT, ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY

“This story of teen pregnancy takes the reader through both the mother and father’s relationship, ambivalence, and the many difficult decisions that take place in a 10-month period surrounding Ali’s pregnancy. Each decision involves a detailed intellectual, emotional, and relationship consideration. The book is instructive and moving because it tries to present the issue from the father and mother’s relationship to each other. I like the counselor’s advice that people make their decisions by their actions, more than by their words. Ali’s most important decision is based on an often neglected realization that ‘every child deserves the love of two parents.’ Butterflies in May is an educational story that will teach teens how a teen pregnancy turns your life inside out.”
—CHRISTOPHER KRAUS, JD, MTS, ADOLESCENT ADVOCACY MANAGER, CINCINNATI CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER

“This book is one of those rare novels that immediately engages the reader, taking you on a journey of the mind, body, and spirit, all the while providing valuable insight to an all too prevalent issue—teen pregnancy. The statistics are staggering, and they cross all educational, social, and economic levels. Yet teenagers, ruled by their emotions, still fall victim to the it-won’t-happen-to-me syndrome. Karen Hart’s realistic, sensitive, and compassionate approach to the subject enlightens without lecturing. A beautifully offered story, Butterflies in May should top the list of required reading for all high school students.”
—LORI FLADSETH, MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHER, SANTA ROSA, CA

“I loved Butterflies in May. It addresses a major problem I see almost daily—an increasing number of pregnant teenagers. It accurately lays out the emotion-charged decision-making process the girls undergo. It portrays the teenage boys in just the ways I’ve come to observe. And I cried the last two chapters. May every teenager, boy or girl, get a chance to read this terrific book—before they, too, run headlong into the problem.”
—DR. ELLIE TAYLOR, GYNECOLOGIST, BALTIMORE, MD

“Ali’s difficult decision—her decision-making process and what happens to her thereafter—is what this story is all about. The storyline is well told and very readable, at least from my observations of thirty-five years in the private practice of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The way the family moves from what was general support for the initial course of action to suggesting another direction, for better or worse, was quite realistic. The boyfriend’s leaving after an initial commitment, is, in reality, what we see commonly. Also quite realistically described was the scene outside the clinic—I see this same scene outside our clinic every Saturday. (In our state, we have enacted ‘Bubble Laws’ for the patient’s protection.) I regard Butterflies as an excellent springboard for discussions in high school, and even junior high, social studies, science, biology, and sexuality classes. Well done!”
—DELL BERNSTEIN, M.D., OB/GYN, DENVER, CO

“Karen Hart has written a compelling story that explores the complexity of unintended teenage pregnancy in America today. She doesn’t ignore the authenticity of young love or the power of the first blossom of passion. Though Ali Parker and her boyfriend Matt Ryan would both like to turn back time, the reality is that they must face the consequences of their actions and finally come to terms with what they feel is the ‘right thing to do’—together and independently. Ms. Hart is well versed in adolescent development, and the push-pull of heart and mind is beautifully illustrated in her book as Ali Parker makes a critical decision about her future—one she makes with the tough and tender grace we see every day in our teenagers. Thankfully, they have access to public health and social services that offer the options they need to make difficult and very grown-up decisions. By reading Butterflies in May, we feel as if we’ve been at the family kitchen table for Ali’s senior year in high school, and her journey into the adult world will resonate with both teenagers and parents alike.”
—MARY MARTHA WILSON, DIRECTOR OF TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, HEALTHY TEEN NETWORK (FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION ON ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY, PARENTING AND PREVENTION)

“Karen Hart’s Butterflies in May is a gut-wrenching yet realistic look at teen pregnancy. Told in the first person, Ali’s emotional, mental, and physical journey is a wonderfully accurate account that shows the far-reaching ripple effect that one ‘mistake’ can have. We as readers experience excellent character development in the reactions of the boyfriend, her parents, her friends, his parents, a trusted relative, teachers, and counselors. Often, teens naively think ‘it’s my baby, so it’s my decision,” but teen pregnancy forever changes so many lives. The reader’s emotions will run the gamut as Ali explores her options—abortion, adoption, parenting. Perhaps there is the realization that once the threshold of teen sex is crossed, life’s options change dramatically. This book is not only for girls, but also for boys and their families to read, and to frankly discuss ‘what if’ scenarios – the challenges and consequences of decisions before taking the leap into being sexually active. As Ali’s mom points out, being well informed does not preclude our doing dumb things. I am haunted by a sad question that will always remain unanswered—what would Ali and Matt’s future have been under different
circumstances?”
—DEBRA SMITH, HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER, LITTLETON, CO

“Butterflies in May is an insightful, true-to-life look into the heart of teenage pregnancy. Karen Hart has captured the struggle, heartache, indecision, and joy of teenage pregnancy. Her accurate portrayal had me in tears as I remembered my own experience as a pregnant teen. I went through the same emotions and decision-making process as Ali, the main character, and I’m glad that this book is out there for others to read and benefit from. I recommend Butterflies in May to everyone, whether they are experiencing a teenage pregnancy, have someone close to them in this situation, or just want to read an amazing and heartfelt book. I only wish this story had been around when I was eighteen.”
—JESSICA STRINGER, TEACHER AND MOTHER, GREENVILLE, TX

“Butterflies in May is a touching story. I was moved by Hart’s ability to convey the joy and heartbreak of a first love, the impossible number of emotions felt with unplanned pregnancy, and the very real teenage pressures of thinking about the future. Her story provides an over-the-shoulder glance at the reality of teenage pregnancy and the tough choices that go with it. I felt sympathy for both Ali and Matt as they faced this difficult situation, both unprepared for the hard choices they would have to make. Hart provides a wealth of information on the options and resources available to pregnant teens, as well as the advice that support is out there, and no one has to go through it alone.”
—AMY BRENINGER, SCIENCE TEACHER, MARIA CARRILLO HIGH SCHOOL, SANTA ROSA, CA

“Butterflies in May is a story that chronicles a journey, taking a group of high school seniors along a winding path with unexpected obstacles and leading them into the realm of maturity. The book tackles the social taboo of teenage pregnancy with dignity, portraying the unsettling magnitude of premature adult responsibility. Ali Parker, the centerpiece of the novel, is seventeen and struggling to accept her predetermined future. She is forced into making choices that seem incomprehensible. The book focuses on how Ali arrives at her decisions, some that she will second-guess for many years, and provides insight into how her actions affect those around her, surprising even herself. Each character with whom she interacts is faced with typical adolescent problems, and each independently wrestles with choices that must be made to foster self-acceptance into adulthood. Karen Hart has written a story that responsibly teaches hard truths about the consequences of youthful impulse without imposing a verdict, providing an effective tool for pondering choices that adolescents rarely think will ever need their own personal consideration. She creates an avenue for empathetic understanding that immunity does not exist in life, but amnesty does.”
—NANCY BRODBECK, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, WARRENSBURG-LATHAM HIGH SCHOOL, WARRENSBURG, ILL.

“I was engaged from the beginning. Sharing emotions of happiness, frustration, hope, and sadness with all the characters, I felt involved in the story. Reading this book is a safe way for a reader to experience and learn about unspoken topics. The physical, psychological, and emotional changes women go through during pregnancy were described perfectly. There were a variety of subjects exposed throughout the book that are extremely important: family, friendships, teen pregnancy, and high school love. Each topic was introduced and worked through, eventually coming to terms with the most positive way to handle all situations. Karen Hart painted a beautiful picture of adolescence and life. Butterflies in May is an incredibly appropriate book for high school students. I would recommend this book to young adult and adult readers alike.”
—KARA LEMKE, PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER, MARIA CARRILLO HIGH SCHOOL, SANTA ROSA, CA.

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