Cleveland Schools Book Fund

Summer Reading Suggestion: Butterflies Belong Here by Deborah Hopkinson

Children are natural-born activists. Their young minds are full of the kind of questions and curiosity that it takes to solve problems, and they haven’t yet gained the sense of overwhelm that adults have when it comes to big issues.

Butterflies Belong Here:  A Story of One Idea, Thirty Kids and a World of Butterflies is a heart-warming story of transformation and conservation featuring a young girl whose family has recently immigrated to America. The book’s author, Deborah Hopkinson, shared the story behind the story in a Teaching Books meet-the-author interview:

This book “grew out of my own interest in gardening, and also a book that I did before with Philippe Cousteau and the same illustrator, the wonderful Meilo So, called Follow the Moon Home, about sea turtles. And as I shared that book around the country with schools and children and young readers and families, I’m so impressed by young activists. And because I live in Oregon and I garden, I wanted to have a book that was about activism, but maybe something that more schools and communities and families could take part in.”

Butterflies Belong Here
Illustrated by Meilo So

Butterflies Belong Here has a young girl who’s come to the United States and English is a second language and she’s not named in the book. But one of the things that always impresses me about going to schools is the amazing work that school librarians do and teachers to encourage individual child’s interests and reading. And this particular, our narrator gets interested in a book on butterflies. I think as we go through and we see her the theme of transformation, which is so incredible as we watch caterpillars become butterflies, and our young narrator’s transformation from sort of being shy in the background to really taking advantage of her love and her passion for butterflies and how that motivates her entire class to get involved.” 

Cleveland Metropolitan School District PreK – 4th grade teachers can request copies of this book for home library building, summer learning and classroom projects.

Click here to ask how you can receive copies of this book for your students.

We’ve also included links to teaching resources below, and please make sure to share your book reports, project photos and videos with us! We’re always happy to highlight Cleveland’s young activists on our website and social media.


Visit the Cleveland MetroParks Wendy Park Migration Station Every September, monarchs stage a huge migration and they descend on northeast Ohio before making their  remarkable journey south across Lake Erie, on their way to Mexico where they will spend the winter. When conditions are right, hundreds to thousands of these incredible orange beauties will take safe harbor here, roosting just overhead in the low branches of cottonwoods and cherry trees. Two of the greatest phenomenons on earth – bird migration and Monarch migration – happen right here on this critically-important greenspace in Cleveland Metroparks. Click here to learn more about Wendy Park. offers 15 resources including original story map multi-level lesson plans, rubrics, book guides, lesson plans and classroom activities. Click here to view the full list of resources. 

Journey North — When students return to school this fall it’s the perfect time to track the migration of Monarch butterflies in Northeast Ohio! Click here to view maps of migration seasons, report butterfly sightings and more!

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