Batty About Summer of the Mariposas Cover

I'm so excited about the next Batty About Books selection! Kathy and I will begin reading:

Summer of the Mariposas
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

This week we'll discuss the cover, our initial impressions, and I'll share some links to resources that will help guide our journey over the next few weeks. We'll be looking at this book through the lens of the Hero/Heroine's Journey as well as hoping for an excellent example of diversity in literature.

Drop by Kathy's blog - The Brain Lair - for her thoughts about the cover with my responses. Here, at the Melange, my thoughts are in purple and Kathy's responses are in blue.

Thoughts before beginning.
Cover - Let’s just start with how beautiful this cover design is, shall we? The coloring alone, with it’s shades of sunset appearance, pulled me in. I love the silhouette of the flying/floating women, especially that it seems like there are girls of various ages included. The silhouette keeps it from looking like any race/age in particular, which intrigues me. The symbol vaguely hinted in the stars looks ancient and unfamiliar to me. So that knocks out Greek, Roman, and Egyptian most likely. I love that. The empty road declares “journey”...
I love the cover also. It invites scrutiny without screaming - this belongs in fantasy, or scifi, or wherever. You are called to pick it up.  The designers seemed to care about the content of the book, especially if they are using the road. I like that you are pulled down from the stars through the girls floating until you get to the road. Or does it work the other way?
Inside flap synopsis. Sounds like urban fantasy to me - a blend of the real world with magical elements. This is one of my favorite fantasy subgenres, as it makes me feel like the realm of magic could be right there, just out of sight, in my own life. The idea that this is a tale of “sisterhood” is also appealing, as I’m tired of the single sidekick girl in a gang of boys trope in the fantasy I’ve been reading.
You say “urban fantasy”, I say “magical realism”. I would have to look back and see if I’ve read many books like this - Bigger Than a Breadbox and When You Reach Me are the most recent that come to mind, and both are favorites that I enjoy discussing with book clubs. I also am weary of the girl sidekick trope. Is there a prevalence of male fantasy writers? Is that why?
As a retelling of The Odyssey - I’m so curious about this! I’m always looking for books to “feed” to my students, though the YA status of this one means that I’ll be reading carefully to determine if it will be appropriate. My students are in love with anything even remotely related to mythology. Even if they haven’t read the Odyssey yet, they’ll know many of the references from reading other things.
Have they read the Gareth Hind’s graphic novel? Though that might be too mature also! I’m always on the lookout for retellings to help students appreciate classic literature. Since classics are a staple of English classes, many students tend to shy away from it, thinking it’s only value is as some sort of lesson. Some of my students have read that GN, because a parent bought it. I don't have it in my library because there are some images that are just a bit too much for an elementary classroom!

As a “Heroine’s Journey” - When I wrote a post for School Library Journal’s “Connect the Pop” blog about teaching the Hero’s Journey in elementary school, I mentioned that one of my students commented on whether this applies to girls. I have meant to go do more research on this topic since then, and didn’t get to it. I love the fact that we plan on looking at this book through the lens of the Heroine’s Journey!

Resources, in case you'd like to check things out and read along with us

Author's Website Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Discussion questions - Summer of the Mariposa Questions

Come along on the journey!! 


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