The tale of a family of dormice who are lucha libre wrestlers, and the laborious journey of an ousider who longs to join them.
¡Luchadormice! elevates themes of: inclusion, diversity, teamwork and family through magnetizing crayon illustrations and rhyming lyrical prose.
American cultures, and English and Spanish languages, blend beautifully to highlight the joys of caring, cooperation and play!
El cuento de una familia de ratones quienes son luchadores, y el viaje difícil del extranjero quien los quiere acompañar.
¡Luchadormice! eleva las ideas de: la inclusión, la diversidad, la cooperación y la familia con ilustraciones de crayón y escritura lírica en rima. Las culturas Americanas, y los idiomas del Ingles y del Español, son combinados bellamente para enfatizar las alegrías del cuido, la cooperación y el juego.
I am so delightfully satisfied with this book that embodies everything I worked so hard to express:
(Escribiendo lo mismo en español...perdoname, escribo más rápido en ingles).
This book is bilingual. My own family is incredibly diverse, as well as my family of friends, my family of work colleagues and every community I have lived in. In the true spirit of inclusion, it is very important to me that this book is in Spanglish. It rhymes Spanish with English in a Dr. Seuss-y fashion that brings me so much joy...I hope you find it joyful too!
But, what if I don't read/speak Spanish?
¿Pero, que pasa si no leo/hablo Ingles?
I'm glad you asked! I have worked very hard and tested the story with many different readers in order to make sure that all the words you may not immediately understand can be gathered from context and are reflected in the illustrations. In the works of some of my other favorites: Seuss, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkein, Lewis Carrol, Julie Edwards...invented words rhyme with English or give new meaning to characters places and moods (sneetches, muggle, hobbit, mimsy, whangdoodles). In this same way, in Luchadormice, you may read the words that are gibberish to you...as gibberish. Those words will take on the meaning that context has assigned them and, because they are real words in another language, you may just become coincidentally a little more bilingual. Or, you can look them up and study them and choose to become a lot more bilingual!
Another beautiful benefit of sharing this bilingual book, especially with young children, is that children who grow up hearing another language (whether they are currently learning that language or hearing it spoken in their family/community) are more adept at learning that language later; they become used to the sound of it.
As a child, my parents, my brother and I would always read together in the "big bed" (my parents' room). When we were especially young my dad would read: Little Monster, Golly Sisters Go West, Little Bear, Big Bear and Edith, Just So Stories, The Warm Fuzzy Book and lots of Dr. Seuss. As soon as I could read a little (I'm the oldest), I would take my turn to read aloud. We moved on to Greek Myths, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Eventually all of us would take turns reading aloud.
Luchadormice, at it's core, is about a family of lucha libre wrestlers who love and care for one another. And, it is designed with families in mind. The illustrations are carefully and fastidiously crafted in crayon and, I believe, will be enjoyed by anyone regardless of reading level. The reading level of the text tests between 4-11 years old. More accurately between I Can Read Books and the first in the Harry Potter series.
As an avid reader I had moved on to reading John Grisham by age 11 and some of my students, as a former tutor to dyslexic, disgraphic, ADD, HA students, have good reason to keep working their way through Just So Stories and Little Monster books in high school. When tutoring, I found reading aloud together to be particularly helpful for everyone, in large part because the students picked the books and anything that sparks your personal enthusiasm will keep you engaged despite your difficulties.
The visual component of my book is so important, in fact, that the story of Guapo, the lanky Mexican horned lizard who seeks out his heroes in hopes of becoming a luchador, is told exclusively visually whilst the world of the luchadormice is being introduced through both text and graphics. I have also tucked in some fun deep-cut, or easter egg, jokes that might spark a laugh from the parents or from readers who are already strong in both Spanish and English. Anyone who hops around the world, or spends a lot of time in border towns, like I do, may have a nostalgic or homey experience with this book. It feels very much like home to me.
This book does not take place in a specific place, but somewhere in the desert where Spanish and English are spoken. (Although, I will readily admit to drawing in a few saguaro cacti known only to the Sonoran desert where I have spent so much beloved time with my family in the border town of Tucson).
Dormice are primarily native to Europe, but more specifically found in deciduous woodland. However long ago this family of legacy lucha libre dormice came to the desert, though not explicitly stated, they are certainly immigrants. This is their happy home now!
Luchadormice come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They are an even mix of male and female chromosomes but in this I've chosen keep them, for the most part, androgynous since gender doesn't play a part in their story. They work as a team to create an awesome show. They support one another, share traditions and snuggle during siesta. "Este groupo is our familia."
Fun tidbit about dormice, they are fluffier and sleepier than many of their rodent cousins. They play hard and wear out quickly. No worries though, plenty of time for naps!
Teamwork filled with Love and Joy!
This is a family of wrestlers, but this is entertainment...they do not hurt one another. Like the tradition of professional wrestling, popular worldwide, luchadormice are here to put on a great show. Drama, athleticism, comedy, flare...and their audience loves them for it!
"We're all amigos at the end of the day!"
Thank you for your interest in my joyful Luchadormice...
and thank you for sharing and supporting inclusion, diversity, teamwork and love!
XO, Libby Ward AKA Sneaky Varmint
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