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.