We are incredibly honored and thrilled to reveal the cover, along with an exclusive excerpt, of LUPE WONG WON’T DANCE by Donna Barba Higuera.
But first! Here is a little bit about this book:
Twelve year old Lupe Wong WILL be the first female pitcher in Major League Baseball. But the American past time of Square Dancing is P.E. curriculum, something a kid like Lupe can’t relate to culturally or otherwise. She vows to get the archaic tradition banned, and a comedy of disasters ensues.
The cover artist for LUPE WONG WON’T DANCE is Mason London, and the cover designer is Maeve Norton. This cover is absolutely powerful and phenomenal--go ahead, and see for yourself:
My gym shorts burrow into my butt crack like a frightened groundhog. Note to self: remember shorts from home so you don’t have to wear scratchy school loaners ever again. I can fix this. I pull up my kneepads, adjust my wristbands, and tighten my ponytail with a yank. Ready for battle, a.k.a. seventh-grade spring P.E.
Half a cheek hanging out, I glance around the locker room to make sure the coast is clear. I casually place one foot up on the bench and make a stealth grab, yanking my underwear down.
Samantha Pinkerton slams her locker so loud the entire room of girls looks in her direction. “Find anything good up there, Lupe?” She laughs and half the class snickers with her.
I almost respond with, “Yeah, your mom,” but stop myself at the last possible second.
Samantha takes a step toward me and puts her nose inches from mine.
“Oh, yeah?” I say instead. This time the words are out before I can help it.
Samantha scrunches her face and scratches her temple, my comeback obviously stunning her into confusion. My best friend, Andy, cringes behind Samantha. Smack talk is not one of my strong points.
Coach Solden’s whistle pierces the air. “Guadalupe Wong . . . Samantha Pinkerton!” Arms folded over her chest, she takes up the entire doorway of her office. “Anything you care to share with us?”
I clench my teeth and shake my head. I can’t risk getting points off. I need to ace this class.
Samantha’s voice is suddenly as sweet as her fruity body spray. “Just admiring Lupe’s shorts, Coach Solden.”
“Well, do it after class,” Coach says, motioning for Samantha to get in line.
Samantha squints her eyes toward mine in some sort of staring standoff, but I can only focus on the cartoon salmon on the front of her shirt giving a thumbs-up. Someone forgot to tell the kid who designed the school mascot that Sammy Sock- eye should have fins, not fingers. Samantha slithers into line behind me.
“Oh, yeah?” she says, mimicking me under her breath.
Thank God Andy is with me this quarter. “Ignore her,” she mutters calmly from the next spot in line, shooting me a glance.
“I can bring you my extra soccer shorts tomorrow.” Andy’s mom has probably made sure she has four pairs to “ensure her aca- demic success.” To go with her new laptop and private tutoring.
I crack my knuckles in front of me. “Nope. I got this. I won’t forget mine again.”
We wait in a row to shuffle into the gymnasium for basketball or volleyball or whatever unit we have now. Coach wheels a TV out from the equipment closet in the back of the locker room. “No one moves; no one talks.” She pushes the cart toward the swinging door.
“Wait, something’s wrong,” I say, watching Coach walk into the gym without a single ball.
Andy’s voice sounds like it’s rolling its eyes. “I know, I know . . .” She makes a mouth puppet with her hand, trying to imitate my voice. “Kids with long arms should be able to wear shorts to their wrists instead of fingertips . . . It shouldn’t be a girl’s responsibility to worry about how our clothing might dis- tract boys . . .” She moves her hand puppet to make its mouth extra wide. “Aaaaand there should be a separate bubble under race for people of Chinacan or Mexinese descent . . .”
“Well, there should be!” I say. “You have a bubble for Black. Why should I have to Choose One Bubble or Other? Why should anyone?”
LUPE WONG WON’T DANCE is being released September 8th, 2020 by Levine Querido. Please add Donna's book on Goodreads here, and preorder on Amazon, Indiebound, or Barnes and Noble.
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