Today’s selection is a delightfully illustrated story, Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina. It won the Pura Belpre Award and was a 2019 publication.  The author, who was born and grew up in Bogota, Columbia, often was reprimanded in school for drawing cartoons of her teachers. This book, however, is a pure delight of cartoons, lovingly drawn and labeled of Juana and her dog, Lucas. The plot alone is engaging when Juana must learn a very hard language–English in order to earn the reward of going to *SPACELAND* (the equivalent of Disney World).  She describes her difficulties to her abuelo, (grandfather) “No matter how hard I try, there’s always more to learn and to practice. It all seems so pointless. When it comes to the English, it never seems to get any easier.”

Will Juana earn her trip? Will she get over her dislike of learning English?

A second book, also published in 2019, Juana and Lucas: Big Problemas, finds Juana dealing with life-problems bigger than learning English. Her mother has a new friend, Luis, who likes her mom and maybe Juana very much. Will Luis want to take her father’s place in Juana’s heart? Will she have to leave Bogota, the only home she has ever known? How will Lucas adjust if they have to move?

This is a real story about real problems faced by a real girl who has a real friend in her loyal dog.  Read this new author and enjoy, as I did, meeting Juana and her dog, Lucas.


Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."


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