Monday, November 27, 2017

Lucía the Luchadora

Guest Post by Cynthia Leonor Garza

My new picture book, Lucía the Luchadora, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez, is about a little girl who wants to be a superhero. When Lucía is told by the boys that girls can’t be superheroes, she gets mad, spicy mad, but with the help of abuela, comes up with an ingenious plan. She returns to the playground with her identity concealed behind a lucha libre mask and cape and becomes a playground sensation. Soon, all the other kids are dressed up as luchadores, too, but when Lucía witnesses the boys telling another girl she can’t be a superhero, Lucía must make a decision: Remain hidden behind the mask or reveal her true identity, which a real luchadora must never do.

There are lots of ways this book can be used in the classroom to teach both younger and older students and English language learners. Dr. Rebecca Palacios, an inductee of the National Teachers Hall of Fame and preschool educator for over 30 years, developed a curriculum guide to go along with the book. Here are some activities drawn from the guide:

SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL CONNECTIONS: After reading Lucía the Luchadora, explore social-emotional questions by asking:

·       At times Lucía felt “mad, spicy mad.” Why did she feel this way? How did she resolve her feelings?
·       Lucía felt so strong with her mask on. Why do you think she felt this way? 
·       How did Lucía help the pink crusader who felt so sad? Why was this important for her to do? 
·       Why are feelings important in our lives? How can we help others with their feelings?
ONOMATOPOEIA: Lucía the Luchadora also has lots of fun onomatopoeia like POW and BAM!  Have a ten-minute word scavenger hunt to find these words. Discuss what they mean. How do these words affect the story?
CULTURE: Explore the cultural aspects of the book. Look at the illustrations and have students find pictures they don’t recognize or words in Spanish. What might those pictures represent, and what do the Spanish words mean?
There is also an Author’s Note on luchadores, luchadoras and lucha libre at the end of the book as well as an illustration of lucha libre legend El Santo inside the book. Have older students research a famous luchador or luchadora. What is the difference between a rudo and técnico? Where do luchadores today live? What are they fighting for? Why is the mask so important in Mexican wrestling?
STEM & ART: Have some art and math fun by having the students create their own masks. Have them engineer a design and figure out how to fit a mask on a face. Discuss the symmetry of the design and which tools and resources would be best for creating such a mask. Have the students use geometric figures to make their masks, and incorporate some of art and design elements from the book.
Last, everyone needs a lucha libre name. Have students write about a fun alter ego!
BIO: Cynthia Leonor Garza spent most of her childhood under the hot South Texas sun running around with her three brothers. She's a journalist who has worked for several newspapers and her commentaries have appeared on NPR and in The Atlantic. Of all the lucha libre masks she owns, her favorite one is pink and gold. She currently lives with her two young daughters and husband in Nairobi, Kenya.  Lucía the Luchadora is her first picture book.

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