Sunday, January 25, 2015

Review - Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper {Multicultural Children's Book Day}

I'm so excited to be one of the co-hosts for this year's Multicultural Children's Book Day! This event, begun in 2014 by bloggers Valerie Budayr of Jump into a Book and Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom, aims to promote diversity in children's books by shining a spotlight on multicultural titles and all they add to the world of kidlit. It's a very necessary and also super fun way to emphasize that diverse titles help you #ReadYourWorld in your homes, schools and libraries.

As part of the event, I'm sharing our thoughts about the graphic novel Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper (note: I received a copy of the book for review purposes, but all opinions are my own). I have really been looking forward to reading this one thanks to a lot of prepub buzz on social media. And I'm thrilled to say that Lowriders in Space not only lived up to all that buzz, but even exceeded it in my estimation!

Lowriders in Space blends lots of threads, making it a perfect choice to hand to all sorts of kids, whether they are interested in cars, Mexican-American culture, or outer space. The story revolves around three characters: Lupe Impala (wolf/dog-human hybrid?), El Chavo Flapjack (octopus) and Elirio Malaria (mosquito). What, you don't think this is the most logical choice for characters? I didn't either, but Camper makes it work beautifully, as she demonstrates how this crazy crew blends their mad skills to restore an old car into a lowrider and win a car competition.

The car has to be something really special to win the contest -- no ordinary lowrider's going to get the top prize, which the friends desperately want so they can open their own garage. Fortunately, the gang hits on just the thing when they add rocket boosters. Unfortunately, the three artists and their car wind up in outer space, where they'll need all their wits and ingenuity not only to trick out their ride, but also to make it back home to earth in time to make it to the contest.

Camper's creativity is what sets Lowriders in Space apart from ho-hum graphic novels that crowd the shelves. I love the way she makes all these disparate elements merge into one cohesive story that kids will fly right through. There's plenty of Mexican-American slang as well as car culture and astronomy terms woven throughout, and Camper includes a glossary at the end to define any terms young readers might not know. It's especially great to have not only a diverse cast but also a female mechanic as the main character - big points for turning stereotypes on their heads, Ms. Camper. And the illustrations by Raul the Third make Lowriders in Space sing. This is art that's vibrant yet accessible, deliberate yet casual, and most of all the kind of thing kids will want to emulate themselves. Kudos to a talented team -- Lowriders in Space is graphic novel GOLD. Can't wait to read more of the Lowriders adventures!

Activity: Try out our Lowriders in Space Word Search!

Sprout's Bookshelf is honored to be part of Multicultural Children's Book Day this year. Here's the full list of 2015 co-hosts:

Many thanks to Chronicle Books for providing a copy of Lowriders in Space for us to review!

2015 Sponsors for Multicultural Children's Book Day:

MCCBD’s 2015 Sponsors include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.


PragmaticMom said...

What an interesting combination for a graphic novel!!! I really need to read this now! Stanley and Katrina had trouble getting into this book so I was glad for a second opinion. I had read great things about this book too! Thanks so much for co-hosting Multicultural Children's Book Day Mary! We are so grateful for your support!

Ronna Mandel said...

I loved your take on this fantastic graphic novel that will pull in readers of every age.