Written & Illustrated by: Juana Medina
For Ages: 5 years and up
Language: English & Spanish
Topics Covered: Latinx Families, Own Voices, Colombia, Growing Up, Single Parent Families, Language Learning, Pets.
I loved this book! Juana is such a fun character and her humorous narrative style felt like a quirky family member was telling me a story. Juana finds out that she has to take English classes in school, and isn’t happy about it. This chapter book is interspersed with fun illustrations and occasional infographics drawn about Jauna’s favorite people and their attributes. Juana learns about perseverance, hangs out with her best friend Lucas, and I love the way Juana begins to take her English lessons and turn them into a way to connect with other people in her community. Juana’s grandparents tell her a big secret that might motivate her to study a bit harder, and it also creates the arc of character development that I was hooked on. The story outline reminds me of the Amelia’s Notebook series that I loved when I was younger. Spanish vocabulary is stuck into the book in an easy to understand way, and doesn’t feel like a forced vocabulary lesson.
Since Juana & Lucas came in a Little Feminist book box, it also arrived with a discussion guide, activity, and bookmark. Little Feminist is a woman-owned small business, and I really can’t say enough good about them!
This book was sent to us in a Little Feminist Book Club box, but published by Candlewick Press. All opinions are my own. However, if you do decide you love Little Feminist, you can support this small business and use our discount code: THETINYACTIVIST for 15% off anything (except gift cards) and get a treat for the little feminist in your life!
Juana Medina was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. She is the author and illustrator of the Pura Belpré Award-winning chapter book Juana & Lucas. Juana is also the author and illustrator for Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas, 1 Big Salad, ABC Pasta, and Sweet Shapes. She illustrated Smick! By Doreen Cronin, Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous by Keith Calabrese, and I’m a Baked Potato! by Elise Primavera. She has participated in two recent anthologies: We Are The Change (Chronicle, 2019) and The Hero Next Door (Crown Books, 2019).
Juana has been lucky to earn recognitions from the Colombian Presidency, the National Cartoonists Society, the National Headliner Award, International Latino Book Awards, and Ridgway Award honors, among others — which is quite impressive for someone who was a less-than-stellar student and who often got in trouble for drawing cartoons of her teachers. Despite all trouble caused, Juana studied and taught at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the Corcoran College of Art + Design (where students had plenty of chances to draw cartoons of her). She lives in the DC area, with her wife, twin sons, and their dear dog, Rosita.