A fledgling luchadora, a playground game for the ages and a princess warrior are all coming to Austin.
While books themselves can certainly transport young readers, seeing an author in person does that and more, bringing the ideas, characters and words to life — not to mention inspiring authors-in-training for the future. April is full of author events in Austin aimed at picture-book readers all the way to young adults, so get your calendars ready to sync. (Find our full April family events calendar online at austin360.com/raisingaustin and in print next Saturday.)
Lucía zooms through the playground with verve (and a POW! BAM!) — until the boys inform her that girls can’t be superheroes.
Lucía’s abuela begs to differ. Turns out that Lucía is descended from a long line of luchadores, the masked Mexican wrestlers. Luchadores never reveal their identity, Abuela warns, so Lucía dons a cape and mask to conceal her identity as she caroms through the playground. But to truly inhabit the power of her heritage, “Lucía the Luchadora” (POW!, $16.99) must decide whether standing up for what’s right trumps the tradition of staying masked.
Journalist, essayist and South Texas native Cynthia Leonor Garza, who will be at BookPeople on April 1, weaves a heady amalgam of girl power and Mexican culture into her debut picture book. Illustrated in colorful, action-packed splendor by Alyssa Bermudez, “Lucía” offers a welcome female counterpart to Yuyi Morales’ 2013 modern classic “Niño Wrestles the World.”
And feisty Lucía is a heroine who transcends as she teaches: “A luchadora has moxie,” Lucía’s abuela tells her. “She is brave and full of heart and isn’t afraid to fight for what is right.” (Ages 4-7)
Who among us hasn’t resorted to a few quick rounds of rock, paper, scissors to settle a stalemate? Drew Daywalt, author of the New York Times best-selling “The Day the Crayons Quit,” and Adam Rex, author and illustrator of “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich,” team up to share the lore and “The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors” (Balzer +Bray/HarperCollins, $17.99).
Daywalt – who’ll be at BookPeople on April 7 – spins a tale of these three worthy opponents who, before they met, easily vanquished all foes. Rock rules the backyard, but flattening apricots hardly feels like a fight. Paper reigns supreme over the home office, jamming printers with the greatest of ease. And Scissors holds the kitchen realm in thrall to slashing powers that easily slay Dinosaur-Shaped Chicken Nuggets.
Imagine Scissors’ surprise, then, when she’s crushed by Rock. And then Paper arrives to show Rock that he can, in fact, be beaten.
Daywalt infuses this epic with hilarious faux bombast from each of the key players, accented by outsized typography from Rex that matches the huge personalities enshrined in this picture book. It’s full of wit and begs to be read aloud — in appropriately loud and melodramatic voices, of course. (Ages 4-7)
Cinda Williams Chima excels at creating fantastical worlds, like the Seven Realms that played home to a four-book series that eventually landed her on the New York Times best-seller list. Chima returned to the Seven Realms world for the second in the “Shattered Realms” series, which launched last year with “Flamecaster.” Chima will be at BookPeople on April 8.
While “Flamecaster” main character Jenna does appear in “Shadowcaster” (HarperTeen, $18.99), this book puts much more focus on Alyssa ana’Raisa (the sister of Jenna’s love), who emerges victorious against such worthy foes as Capt. Halston Matelon, fighting across enemy lines in a nearby village. Lyss and Hal find they have more in common than they originally realized, and while romance blooms, the focus remains politics of the region and well-drawn battles. Full of the rich detail and characterizations familiar to Chima fans, “Shadowcaster” sets up the third in an expected four-volume series with a cliffhanger of an ending. (Ages 12 and older)
Later in the month, look to the stars with “Cassandra and the Night Sky” (Bright Sky Press, $19.95), Amy Jackson’s astronomy-inspired fable. Cassandra is a princess who at first overlooks the battered teapot she receives as a birthday gift from her nanny. When she sits down to a tea party, though, she discovers a surprise — the starscape of the night sky, stolen from the kingdom long ago. She lets it loose, with the help of some animals that become constellations. Jackson, founder of Starry Sky Austin and an astronomy educator, will be at BookPeople at 3 p.m. April 23 to read from and sign “Cassandra.” … Last month we told you about Austinite Liz Garton Scanlon’s sweet new picture book “Bob, Not Bob!” Scanlon and co-author Audrey Vernick will be at BookPeople at noon April 22 to read from and sign the book. Go to bookpeople.com/event for more details on both events.
“Lucía the Luchadora”
Who: Cynthia Leonor Garza
When: 11:30 a.m. April 1
“The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors”
Who: Drew Daywalt
When: 6 p.m. April 7
Who: Cinda Williams Chima
When: 2 p.m. April 8
Where: Book People, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
Tickets: Readings are free, but you must buy a book at BookPeople in order to get it signed.
Information: 512-472-5050, bookpeople.com