I'm so happy to show you the cover of my next novel, coming on October 27, 2015!
The exquisite cover illustration is by Greg Ruth. Gorgeous jacket design by Elizabeth B. Parisi of Scholastic.
I love the swirling movement in the art-- there's a lot of swirling imagery in the book, and Greg captured it so beautifully. I also love the ethereal quality, so airy and infused with light. And I love how the colors near the girl's head are warm and golden, and then the palette moves down to cooler, moodier grays and greens, and then, once again, is grounded in golden light.
The girl pictured is Esma, who calls herself The Queen of Lightning, and the boy in the field of on her skirt is Teo, who narrates most of the book (the parts set in the mid-20th century). The contemporary parts of the book are narrated by his grandson, Mateo. Like my book What the Moon Saw, this one also spans generations.
(In case you're wondering whatever happened to The Impossible Caravan, this is that book! The title changed to The Lightning Queen, but the name of the caravan in the story continues to be The Impossible Caravan.)
Here's a summary of the book:
Nothing exciting happens on the Hill of Dust, in the remote mountains of Mexico. 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. Then one day, the mysterious young Esma, who calls herself the Gypsy Queen of Lightning, rolls into town like a rush 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 unexpected friends, Teo and Esma must overcome obstacles—even death—to make their impossible fortune come true. Their destiny will span generations and ultimately depend on Teo’s American grandson, Mateo, to be fulfilled.
Inspired by true stories from rural Mexico, this astonishing novel illuminates two fascinating but marginalized cultures―the Rom and the Mixteco Indians. Award-winning author Laura Resau tells the exhilarating story of an unlikely friendship that begins in the 1950s and reaches into today.
Ages 8 & up * Scholastic Press *
available as hard cover, e-book, and audiobook* October 27, 2015 release
You can pre-order it now!
I encourage you to check in with your local indie bookseller about pre-ordering, too!
My brilliant editor with a big heart, Andrea Davis Pinkney of Scholastic
Here's a bit of background on the book, excerpted from my Author's Note in the back:
I felt fortunate to form meaningful friendships with Mixteco people when I took a teaching position in the remote mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. For two years, I was welcomed into Mixteco communities, first as a teacher and later as an anthropologist studying their culture. During this time, I heard stories about the beloved gitanos, whose caravans had shown movies in this region years earlier. I knew that gitanos (also known as Rom or Gypsies) have been misunderstood throughout the world, so I was intrigued by how fondly local people spoke of them. Like the Rom, the Mixteco have also faced prejudice and racist treatment for centuries. I felt drawn to explore the fascinating relationship between these two cultures.
As I developed this story, I wove in realistic and mystical elements of oral histories I heard in Mixteco villages. The initial spark for this book came from the experiences of a ninety-six-year-old healer named María López Martinez (lovingly nicknamed María Chiquita—María the Little One). When she was a young girl, a gitana fortune-teller told her she would live a very long life. Shortly after her fortune, she grew ill and appeared to die. Inside their hut, her family held a candlelit vigil over her apparently dead body. At one point during the mourning, a drop of candle wax fell onto María Chiquita’s body. Somehow, it woke her from death!
She told me that her time in the other realm gave her powers to become a healer. She lived to age ninety-seven, and near the end of her life, she proudly pointed out that the gitanos’ prediction had come true. I returned to María Chiquita’s village for her cabo de año—the candlelit one-year anniversary of her death. I’m grateful to continue a friendship with her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter.
You can read more background on The Lightning Queen in another blog post I did here.
Thanks so much for swinging by!