Children's Book Review · Middle Grade Fiction

My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva




My Fate According to the Butterfly is a wonderful debut, coming-of-age, middle grade fiction story that takes place in the Philippines. This is a beautiful portrayal of family, friendship, and forgiveness which tackles an important, tough subject – drug addiction, its affects on the abuser and their family, and the long recovery process.

The diverse novel follows soon-to-be-11-year-old Sabrina, known as “Sab” to her family and friends. She lives in Quezon City, Philippines and considers herself lucky to live in an atypical blended family. Her mother Ginnette and father Chris have been apart for many years, but are unable to divorce, as it’s not permitted in Filipino culture. Ginnette, an urban planner for the city, has a boyfriend named Ed, who is a policeman. Sab’s father Chris, an artist, lives in Pillia, Rizal where he runs his late mother Lola Cordia’s resort with his boyfriend of five years, Wendell. Sab considers herself lucky to have three fathers who love her.

Sab sees a black butterfly, “The Butterfly,” a week before her birthday, which according to superstition and the stories her father used to tell her, means death is coming for her. She believes she has one week left to live, despite her sister Nadine telling her not to worry about such a silly superstition.  All Sab wants for her birthday is to celebrate with her entire family together at her grandmother’s Garden Resort, including her father and Ate Nadine, even though her sister hasn’t spoken to him in a long time. There’s something she is missing about their relationship and her Dad’s “depression” in the past. Nadine, an 18 year old journalist, serves as a second mother to Sab much of the time when Ginnette is out of town on business. Sab doesn’t understand why Nadine has distanced herself from their father, and she and her best friend Pepper are determined to find out, using some spy tactics that Pepper picked up from episodes of Chuck. Pepper is a white girl whose parents moved from America to serve as missionaries in the Philippines. She is also a loyal best friend to Sab. Sab’s other best friend is her pet Pekin duck, Lawin, whom she allows to live in the house against the wishes of Nadine. As the best friends devise a plan and spy on Nadine, they meet her boyfriend Jepoy, a 21 year old man who becomes a true friend to them both. Once Sab finds out the truth about her father, she begins to understand Nadine’s choice to distance herself from him. The sisters grow even closer together in a shared understanding of painful memories as they both choose a path of forgiveness.

The story is quick-paced with a bit of mystery to keep it moving along. It would be a great read aloud choice for students in 5th through 8th grade. It is also a great resource for teaching readers about Filipino culture. For example, a delicacy in the Philippines is cheese flavored ice cream. I had never heard of that before! The story is peppered with Filipino words and phrases, adding richness and authenticity to the writing. I enjoyed this story very much and would highly recommend it for kids in 4th grade through 8th grade. Adults would love it, as well.

Thank you to Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of this title in exchange for an honest review to promote Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020! I am thankful to once again be participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day,  which is in it’s 7th year already. I can hardly wait for next year’s titles!


Multicultural Children’s Book Day2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7thyear! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

MCBD 2020  is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,


Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,


Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,


Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing,Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,


Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books,  TimTimTom,Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot BooksTalegari Tales

Author Sponsor Link Cloud

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing,Kenneth Braswell& Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture GrooveLauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page,Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS,Nancy Tupper Ling,Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books),Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries,Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids,Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn,Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series  Green Kids Club, Inc.

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

Hashtag:Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

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