Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza
Rating: 5 stars
Lucia is a girl who can jump off the highest monkey bars at the playground and run faster than lightening. Still, the boys make fun of her for being a girl. They tease her that girls are nothing but "sugar and spice and everything nice." This makes Lucia mad.
"Spicy mad. KA-POW kind of mad."
But Lucia has a trick up her sleeve. Or, better still, an abuela on her side. Abu explains how, when she was younger, she was a luchadora. She fought in a ring with a mask over her face and a cape blowing behind her, mighty as can be. Outside the ring, she fought the good fight and helped others in need. She passes her mask on to Lucia. With the mask and cape, Lucia is transformed into Lucia the Luchadora. She's unstoppable! She inspires a bunch of other children to don masks and capes and come out to play just as hard as she does.
All is fine until one comes child out in a pink and white mask and cape. She is clearly a girl. The same boys taunt her, returning to their "sugar and spice" phrase. But Lucia comes to her rescue, pulling off her mask, letting her long hair escape.
See? Girls can be powerful players and kind-hearted souls--in one WOW moment.
I love this story of girl power and the illustrations are aaaaaa-mazing. But this book is special to me because I saw it when it was barely more than an idea. When it was a typed-up, double-spaced manuscript handed from one hopeful writer to another. The author, Cynthia Leonor Garza, and I were part of a critique group who met at a coffee shop in Fairfax, Virginia. We'd meet to exchange manuscripts, offer advice, point out problems, suggest improvements, and chat about squeezing in writing time while our children watched movies, played outside, slept.
Lucia is Cynthia's second manuscript (my fingers are still crossed that her piñata story is published soon!) at our critique group, and I can't tell you how fun it is to read the final version, complete with gorgeous, vibrant illustrations by Alyssa Bermudez.
And now LOOK at this! She's got her debut picture book accepted, produced, and published. Congratulations, Cynthia, and keep fighting the good fight, Lucia!