review: Lupe Wong Won’t Dance

title: Lupe Wong Won’t Dance
author: Donna Barba Higuera
date: Levine Querido; 2020
main character: Lupe Wong
MG fiction

To motivate Lupe to get better grades in school, her uncle has promised her that if she gets ‘A’s in all her classes, he’ll take her to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez when he comes to town. Nothing could motivate her more! Lupe is a star pitcher on the boy’s baseball team at her school and she’s hoping to break the gender barrier and play pro baseball one day. Hernandez is one of the few people who, like herself is Asian/Latino. And, he reminds her a lot of her dad who died a few years ago.

You’d think a unit on square dancing would be an easy ‘A’ kind of gym class that any young person would want to sail right through. But, not Lupe! This square dancing thing just doesn’t sit right with her. This is a story about a young girl who follows her passion and along the way realizes the power of listening to her inner voice. She also comes to realize how oppression is built into our everyday lives. Higuera writes a nice, gentle story about Lupe that sneaks in a real punch. Grandmas and grandpas provide evidence of cultural expression unfortunately in ways that lack dimension. Yet, they provide insight into Lupe’s strong sense of identity and why she wants to meet Hernandez.

I’d definitely recommend Higuera’s next book, The Last Cuentista, will be out this fall. to fans of Meg Medina, Renée Watson, Tae Keller and Varian Johnson.

Higuera often writes about young people who find themselves in scary or difficult situations. Her next book, The Last Cuentista, will be out this fall.

A girl, her friends, baseball and square dancing. This is such an enjoyable story! This is one of the many books feature on this year’s We Are Kidlit Summer Reading list.