Title: Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble
Author: Anna Meriano
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2018
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Mild Fantasy/Novel
GoodReads Summary: Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.
Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.
Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet. And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?
What I Think: I have wonderful memories of making tamales with my grandma, my mom, my aunt, my sister, my cousin, and more recently my kids. We all pack ourselves into the kitchen to stir the dough and then when it's ready, we set up an assembly line and put tamal after tamal together. The joy and love in these memories reminds me of Leo and her family in Love Sugar Magic.
I love how we get to see the vibrancy of Leo's family and we can use this as a mentor text for character development. Yesterday, I talked about how Tracy Holczer's character Lucy in Everything Else in the Universe also has a big family and how being part of a big family influences who she is and how she experiences the world. When we talk about characters and what makes them who they are, it allows us to also think about ourselves and what makes us who we are. And, ultimately, then we can think about other people and what makes them who they are. Discussions like this are so important. Discussions like this help us see that we might have things in common with other people and we might be different from other people. But just because someone is the same or different, it doesn't make them good or bad. Too often we don't slow down to ask why or to even realize that there might be a very good why that we need to understand.
As writers, we think about the world and the people in it. We need to know our characters and think about why they might make a choice that they do and in order do that, we need to understand what has happened in our character's past that has shaped them. Pairing Love Sugar Magic with Everything Else in the Universe gives readers an opportunity to think about the choice both authors made to give the main character a large and vibrant extended family. Recognizing the author's purpose in doing this give writers an opportunity to think about character development in their own stories.
The snatch of text I pulled gives a little insight into Leo compared to her family getting ready in the morning and it also has an example of onomatopoeia, word choice, and being specific in describing. Lots of good things to discuss with these two sentences!
Snatch of Text: "The hallway filled with morning noises as the Logroño family got ready for the day. Leo shuffled down the hall, her orange-and-black-striped knee socks shush-shushing against the wood floor." (p. 4)
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