and the sequel:
Lucia the Luchadora and the Million Masks
Lucia the Luchadora was Cynthia Leonor Garza’s debut picture book in 2017. The sequel, Lucia the Luchadora and the Million Masks came out a year later in 2018. Alyssa Bermudez has illustrated several other books, and has a beautiful portfolio.
Here’s the publisher’s description of each book:
Lucia the Luchadora: “Lucia zips through the playground in her cape just like the boys, but when they tell her ‘girls can’t be superheroes,’ suddenly she doesn’t feel so mighty. That’s when her beloved abuela reveals a dazzling secret: Lucia comes from a family of luchadoras, the bold and valiant women of the Mexican lucha libre tradition. Cloaked in a flashy new disguise, Lucia returns as a recess sensation! But when she’s confronted with a case of injustice, Lucia must decide if she can stay true to the ways of the luchadora and fight for what is right, even if it means breaking the sacred rule of never revealing the identity behind her mask.”
Lucia the Luchadora and the Million Masks: “Lucia’s little sister Gemma wants to be a luchadora like her big sister, but she is more bumble and splat than pizzazz …. When Gemma makes a ginormous hole in Lucia’s special silver mask, Lucia is incredulous and exasperated at how her little sister seems to get away with everything. But Lucia’s grandmother, Abu, has an idea: a trip to the mercado to get
Gemma her very own lucha libre mask. There are so many masks to choose from, and Lucia can’t resist trying on masks and imagining all the new secret identities she could have if she had endless masks. When Lucia realizes she’s misplaced her special silver mask, a frantic search ensues with Gemma’s help. Lucia the Luchadora’s big heart is on display again in her latest adventure, where she learns that some things, including trouble making little sisters, are one of a kind.”
My take: These books are full of humor and heart. I love Lucia’s character. She’s spunky, full of energy, and she has big dreams and an even bigger heart. I love the relationships between Lucia and her Abu and little sister – very realistic and sweet. I love the cultural elements of these stories and the tiny bits of Spanish sprinkled in. I love the fun and colorful illustrations. And best of all (of course) I love the girl power theme! Wrapped in a fun superhero narrative, this story teaches kids that girls aren’t just “sugar and spice and everything nice.” They can be “spicy mad,” “KA-POW! kind of mad!” They can be super heroes. And when they stand up for what’s right, they can be every-day heroes, too.