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The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau
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The Lightning Queen (2015)

by Laura Resau

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Showing 4 of 4
THE LIGHTNING QUEEN by Laura Resau tells the captivating story of a friendship that bridges the Rom and the Mexico Indian cultures.

In this poignant story that weaves together historical and contemporary tales, an old man shares with his grandson the story of growing up in the remote mountains of Mexico and his encounters with a young gypsy girl. Inspired by true stories, this fascinating multi-cultural tale of friendship will draw readers into the world of mid-20th century Mexico.

Librarians will find that fans of both historical and contemporary fiction will enjoy the bridge between the past and the present as well as between the cultures. With a hint of romance and magic, this fast-paced novel is a good choice for readers seeking stories focusing on the topics of cultural diversity and friendship.

The book’s end notes along with the author’s website provide excellent background information and resources for teachers.

To learn more about the author, go to http://www.lauraresau.com/.

Published by Scholastic on October 27, 2015. ARC courtesy of the publisher. ( )
  eduscapes | Jan 25, 2016 |
I am intrigued with Mexican culture, particularly within the region of Oaxaca, and I have read two other middle reader/YA novels by Laura Resau. In this novel, the author portrays a cultural conflict between the Gypsy and Romani peoples in the region of Oaxaca in a way that honors both groups while realistically displaying the strife they endure. The enduring friendship between Teo and Esma is touching but almost redundant at times, but I really enjoyed how the two come together across time. The juxtaposition of two time periods also adds nicely to the story. Themes of friendship and loyalty are key, but being true to one's self is also preeminent throughout. This book could be used to teach about conflict and resolution between cultures as well as the power of a promise. ( )
  SueStolp | Jan 20, 2016 |
Nothing exciting happens on the Hill of Dust, in the remote mountains of Mexico in the 1950s. There's no electricity, no plumbing, no cars, just day after day of pasturing goats. And now, without his sister and mother, eleven-year-old Teo's life feels even more barren. And then one day, the mysterious young Esma, who calls herself the Gypsy Queen of Lightning, rolls into town like a fresh burst of color. Against all odds, her caravan's Mistress of Destiny predicts that Teo and Esma will be longtime friends. Suddenly, life brims with possibility. With the help of a rescued duck, a three-legged skunk, a blind goat, and other allies, Teo and Esma must overcome obstacles-even death-to fulfill their impossible destiny. Inspired by true stories derived from rural Mexico, The Lightning Queen offers a glimpse of the encounter between two fascinating but marginalized cultures--the Rom and the Mixtec Indians--while telling the heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship that spans generations. ( )
  sdg292 | Nov 15, 2015 |
Middle grade readers will enjoy this finely crafted story of two outsider cultures - Mexico's indigenous people and the Roma, or gypsies. Look for it on shelves in October.

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau. (2015, Scholastic)

Advance Reader Copy supplied by the publisher. Final version subject to changes.

Mateo travels with his mother every summer to visit his relatives on the Hill of Dust in Oaxaca, Mexico. This year, his grandfather Teo says that he needs young Mateo's help; he begins to tell Mateo a fascinating story of his youth,

As he speaks, his words somehow beam light onto an imagined screen, flooding the room with people and places from long, long ago. "Mijo, you are about to embark on a journey of marvels. Of impossible fortunes. Of a lost duck, three-legged skunk, and a blind goa - all bravely loyal. Of a girl who gathered power from storms and sang back the dead. Of an enchanted friendship that lifted souls above brutality.
He pauses, tilts his head, "Perhaps there will even be an itermission or two. But as of yet, there is no end. That, mijo, will be up to you." He winks, clears his throat, and begins.
"There once was a girl called the Queen of Lightning ..."
The story then retreats to the Oaxaca of the mid-1900s, a time when Mexico's indigenous Mixteco people crossed paths with the mysterious Roma in the hills outside Oaxaca.

Grandfather put his hand on my shoulder and said, "They are like us, outsiders in Mexico. Both our people have little voice in the government. City folk consider us backward. We live on the fringes, the wilds of our country. So it is with the Rom."

...

I looked at Esma and her grandparents, who were admiring the sawdust mosaic of the flowered caravan. And I wondered if the key to her people surviving had been separating themselves from outsiders - gadjés. Maybe that's what bonded them together as they danced around their bonfires, night after night for hundreds of years.

As was foretold by the fortune teller and against impossible odds, young Teo becomes "friends for life" with Esma, the young Romani singer. It is as if they are bound to each other by magic and music and the power of lightning - their destinies tied inexplicably to one another.

Teo reminisces to his grandson Mateo,

She could work magic. One moment, I'd felt hurt and angry. The next honored that she'd confided in me. And now, inspired, as though anything were possible, if I believed it enough.
She climbed onto the rock, raised her arms. "If you believe you're weak, you'll be weak. You're cursing yourself. Yet if you believe you're strong, you'll be strong. Give yourself a fortune and make it come true."

There is definitely magic between Teo and Esma, the indio boy and the Roma girl, and there is magic in the pages of The Lightning Queen. Enchanting.

http://shelf-employed.blogspot.com ( )
  shelf-employed | Jul 16, 2015 |
Showing 4 of 4
Nothing happens on the Hill of Dust in Oaxaca, Mexico. Until one day one when, Esma, the Queen of Lightning shows up. Esma’s grandmother, known as the Mistress of Destiny, gives Teo & Esma a fortune that they will be friends for life. With Teo’s three pets, a rescued duck, blind goat, & a three-legged skunk, Teo & Esma overcome many obstacles to make this fortune come true. This friendship will span over generations, especially with Teo’s American Grandson, Mateo & Esma’s Granddaughter, Ruby.
Teo - At the beginning of the book he is eleven, speaks perfect spanish and mixteco, the language of his people, loves curing sick people, rescuing animals in need, & life itself
Esma - Probably eleven at the beginning of the book, speaks perfect spanish and Romani, the language of her people, feisty, never gives up, & believes nothing is impossible
Mateo - Teo’s grandson, I guess he’s thirteen, speaks spanish & English,

This book is historical fiction. I liked this book because,
1. I like historical fiction novels
2. I really liked the characters personalities
I recommend this book because it makes you think about the ways people are treated because of what we’ve heard of them and what it would be like to step into their shoes.
added by Hali12 | editSchool Library Journal
 
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For Bran, who lights up my world
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At the brink of every summer, something yanks me toward the Hill of Dust.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545800846, Hardcover)

Nothing exciting happens on the Hill of Dust, in the remote mountains of Mexico in the 1950s. There's no electricity, no plumbing, no cars, just day after day of pasturing goats. And now, without his sister and mother, eleven-year-old Teo's life feels even more barren. And then one day, the mysterious young Esma, who calls herself the Gypsy Queen of Lightning, rolls into town like a fresh burst of color. Against all odds, her caravan's Mistress of Destiny predicts that Teo and Esma will be longtime friends. Suddenly, life brims with possibility. With the help of a rescued duck, a three-legged skunk, a blind goat, and other allies, Teo and Esma must overcome obstacles-even death-to fulfill their impossible destiny. Inspired by true stories derived from rural Mexico, The Lightning Queen offers a glimpse of the encounter between two fascinating but marginalized cultures--the Rom and the Mixtec Indians--while telling the heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship that spans generations.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Jul 2015 00:06:21 -0400)

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