Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens-1As of January 2016, Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the fourth highest-grossing film at the worldwide box office; raking in $1.54 billion and is projected to overtake “Avatar” at $2.89 billion, “Titanic” at $2.19 billion and “Jurassic World” at $1.67 billion. The big-screen often lacks diversity and representation of women, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens enhances both the strength of women and representation of minorities.

Guatemalan-American actor Oscar Isaac and British-Nigerian actor John Boyega as Finn have received wide acclaim for their roles in the film. Isaac received recognition for his role in the 2013 black comedy-drama Inside Llewyn Davis.  Isaac is often noted as part of the next generation of great actors, garnering comparisons to Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, and Jon Voight. Isaac’s rise to fame and increasing importance in Hollywood is a step towards equal representation of people of color in film, since he subverserses Hollywood’s expectations for Latino actors by avoiding being typecast.

“The people that cast films and TV shows, hopefully they will able to see past their limited ideas of what ethnicity is,” Isaac said in a backstage interview after his Golden Globe win. “There’s not a lot of us and it’s difficult for people that look not like the status quo in this country to get great roles, and it’s happening a little bit more and I feel humbled and honored and blessed to have the opportunity to do that.”

Although not a Latina, actress Daisy Ridley deserves recognition for her role as Rey. Ridley provides much needed female recognition in big budget blockbuster action films. Unlike other females in actions films, Rey is not meant to be a supporting character to a male lead, but rather she is her own character: steadfast, strong, resilient, self-sufficient, and smart. While her character could use further development, it is important to note that this is only the beginning of Rey’s journey, the audience expects to see her character grow and mature as the trilogy goes on.

Nonetheless, it is Nigerian-Mexican Lupita Nyong’o who also deserves recognition in her role of Maz Kanata. Nyong’o lends her voice to the thousand-year-old sage pirate that has a mysterious connection with the force and helps our heroine, Rey, through her journey.

Nyong’o was born in Mexico City to Nigerian parents. Although raised in Kenya, Nyong’o spent time living in Guerrero and studied at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico at the Learning Center for Foreigners. Nyong’o lays claim to her Latinidad through her Mexican nationality and brings much needed recognition to the 1.38 million Afro-Mexicans who were just officially recognized by the Mexican government this past December.

Nyong’o’s breakthrough performance was in 2013 in the critically acclaimed historical drama Twelve Years a Slave. Her role as Patsey earned her an academy award for best supporting actress; she is the first Kenyan and the first Mexican actress to receive an academy award.

“I’ve seen the quarrels over my nationality, but I’m Kenyan and Mexican at the same time,” Nyong’o said in an interview with El Mañana. Furthermore, Nyong’o talks about the difficulty and racism she faced while living in Mexico. People are quick to disregard Nyong’o’s Latinidad by claiming that just because she was born in Mexico City that does not mean she can be considered Latina. It is time for Nyong’o’s complex and hybrid Latina identity to be embraced by Latinos just as Latinos should embrace the large community of Afro-Latinos who have been subjugated, underrepresented, and oppressed for too long.

Whether you are a die-hard Star Wars fan or not, seeing strong female characters (who can forget Leia) and the inclusion of minorities in the big-screen is noteworthy.

Self Defense

Learning to use the mind as a weapon is empowering. It is also, paradoxically, humbling. And power that is cooled by a sense of humility is a good thing,” said Myrna Y Boyer, the founder of the Women’s Personal Defense Center in El Paso.
Boyer was able to share with us her amazing story about how she survived and overcame an attack that almost took her life. When she was 36, Boyer encountered a male passerby in a hallway and immediately sensed danger. To refrain from being impolite, she decided to smile at the man, showing no hard feelings. After they passed he turned and hit her in the back, throwing her far down the hallway rendering her unconscious. Her spidey senses weren’t far off, but she ignored them. She woke up in a room with the man’s legs on her arms pinning her down, with his hands tight around her throat. Miraculously she was able to lung him off of her and escape, but so did he.
Almost twenty years later, Boyer has been able to focus her energy on helping women learn self defense mechanisms. Boyer believes self defense skills are important for girls and women with statistics stating how one out of every five women in America has been the victim of rape, or attempted rape according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Also, less than half domestic violence reports are reported to police, so something must be done. Females ages 12 to 24 are at the greatest risk for experiencing a rape or sexual assault finds the Department of Justice. With these grave facts sweeping the nation, Boyer gives free self defense lessons and workshops to women, and lectures around town. She has written on the power of the mind in the face of an assault and informed Latinitas on ways to stay safe.

Boyer also wrote the article, “The Mind as a Weapon: Gaining the Edge in personal Defense” as a guide to women on how to brace themselves in the face of an attack. First she describes personal safety. “Effective personal defense practices are 90 percent attitude and 10 percent technique,” she shared.

Boyer also urges an awareness of your surroundings to help form the correct attitude if any danger should occur. Once again, Boyer stresses how important your attitude is, even the attitude your body language can communicate. “Defense begins with prevention,” and the more you can communicate an awareness of your environment and those around you, the better you can become at taking preventative measures. “Often people unknowingly allow a potentially dangerous situation to escalate simply because they fail to spot the threat.” Boyer is describing the fact that an attacker can come in the form of anyone, that cute guy down the way, the weird one in the corner or some random person walking by, “safety demands that you understand the dynamics of an assault and an assailant.” Boyer also stresses how your intuition will more than likely come in handy in the face of an attack, “listening to your inner voice when a man is giving you the creeps is a good start.” In other words, when your spidey sense is acting up, listen to it, try to understand what it’s telling you. Get away, go somewhere overtly public. If you have a bad feeling inside, then you are more than likely sensing a surrounding danger.

There are a few helpful tips Boyer has left with us to keep in mind just in case you’re met with any kind of fear for your life.

1. Make yourself less accessible. If you can take cover take it, if you can run, run.
2. Never bargain with your attacker.
3. Use all weapons at your disposal.
4. Fight furiously and maintain forward pressure against your attacker.
5. Don’t stop fighting until you are safe.
6. Fight to get away, practice getting away.
7. If your assailant has a weapon, (if you are in grabbing distance) Defend, Disable, and Disarm, focus on what holds the weapon and attack it. (if you are further away) escape.

Boyer states, “techniques ride on mindset. As important as they are to learn and perfect, they are useless if you are paralyzed with fear.” She stresses the use of the mind as a weapon in any type of situation. The more control you can have over you mind in a tense or stressful situation, the better able you are to think, you’ll have a better ability to react quickly and make smarter moves. Regardless, there are preventative actions to be taken in a sticky situation, staying calm and understanding your surroundings with the right attitude are what Boyer lives by. So remember girls, the more alert you are, and the better attitude you can muster in any given situation, the greater the outcome. Latinitas greatly appreciated the time Myrna Boyer spent with us and we hope you can all learn a little something from her advice.

5 Latina Musicians to Check Out

These Latina musicians are worth listening to and their sound is getting them noticed. They are great artists and are a part of the Latina community. Check out these amazing Latinas below!Carla Morrison

Carla Morrison:
This girl has a tremendously special voice. It is unique and peaceful. Her melancholic and acoustic sound will make your time pass without even noticing. Between sad and love songs, you have a variety to listen to. If you like to listen to music in Spanish, this girl is a great addition to your music library. Born in Mexico, Carla has reached audiences in many Latin American and European countries in the past years by participating in big music festivals and solo shows. She has released 6 albums, so be sure to check her discography!
Listen to: “Dejenme Llorar”, “Compartir” and “Hasta La Piel”.

Melanie Martinez:
With her fresh, new and different sound, Melanie Martinez is here to steal our hearts. She was part of The Voice’s season 3 and since then she has been working to be famous. Melanie was born in New York and has Puerto Rican and Dominican roots. Similar to Lorde and Halsey, only 20 years old and she already has a huge fan base with her electronic/pop/alternative sound to listen to everyday.  Listen to: “Pity Party”, “Soap” and “Carousel”.

Kat Dahlia KatDahlia
With a slightly faster sound, Kat Dahlia is here to stay, she has combined rap, hip hop and her melodic voice with an influence of Latina. You can hear that on “Crazy.” She was born in the US with Cuban and Lebanese roots. She has a more aggressive sound and she knows how to mix it with different musical vibes. Her lyrics are strong. She talks about being a woman and getting through tough moments alone, and how girls can be strong without the need of a man to her side.
Listen to: “Gangsta”, “I Think I’m In Love” and “My Garden”.

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas
The combination of rock, soul and pop in this band is incredible. The melodies, the voices and everything is amazing. This band’s sound is similar to Amy Winehouse and Alabama Shakes, they have Latin influences un their sound and you can hear that on “Sorry I Stole Your Man.” Jessica Hernandez has been performing since an early age. After trying for a long time, she signed with a record label and started to release music. Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas made an apparition on The Letterman Show and that set a starting point for the band to be heard for many more people.
Listen to: “Sorry I Stole Your Man”, “Don’t Take My Man to Idaho”, “Caught Up”

Hello Seahorse!
The surrealist Mexican band Hello Seahorse! has music in both English and Spanish. They got together around 10 years ago. Their sound is incredibly unique because they have combined many different vibes, from synth pop to rock to experimental music. Denise Gutierrez, the lead singer, has an exceptional voice. Not a lot of singers can reach her tone. Hello Seahorse has won multiple awards and has shared the stage with many American artists such as The Killers. They’ve participated in different music festivals around the American continent.
Listen to:“Won’t Say Anything”, “Velo De Novia” and “Un Año Quebrado”.

If you know any other amazing artists let me know!

K-Pop and Latin America

Music2Have you even heard of K-Pop? If you have, it is more than the songs of PSY, the solo artist whose song “Gangnam Style” went viral with over 2 billion views on YouTube. K-Pop is more about Korean culture and the artists, and, the most surprising thing, is that K-Pop has a high popularity in Latin America — specifically, Peru and Chile.

The are many reasons why K-Pop is now rising to popularity. From the catchy tunes and the artists’ good looks, but the success of K-Pop is also attributed to their personalities and the numerous behind-the-scenes documentaries. Korean dramas, also called K-dramas, has immensely helped K-Pop become bigger in Latin America, since singers often appear both in the music and acting industry.

Almost all K-dramas are subbed in Spanish by the fans themselves in order to share their love of Korean culture. In fact, K-Pop continues to be so popular that in 2013 some Peruvian barbers were offering K-Pop inspired haircuts!

Maria Gonzalez, 16, explains why she loves K-Pop, “I like it so much because of their music are so fun and upbeat to hear. They’re much more modest and it’s not that sexual like American pop music.”

“It also helps that they are so handsome and beautiful,” adds Maria.

It might seem confusing for Latin American fans to listen to K-Pop where the language and their culture are so different from each theirs. But some might be surprised at the two main similarities: family and language.

Within Korean culture, family is very important as it is not unusual for young people to continue to live with their families until they are married, which is usually not until their 30s. This might seem familiar with Latino culture as families are generally filled with parents, children, grandparents, with even aunts and uncles.

In addition,  both Korean and Spanish share deep respect for elders just as Latinos do, so language is important. For example, we have had to have a mood of communication where are you words to those above us the chance to send the word usted to a professor.

“They might speak and sing in a different language,” says Marissa Montes, “But us fans feel the happy energy and charisma of our favorite group and artists. This is literally the case of when music has no boundaries.”

Whether you are into Korean culture, K-Pop is worth giving a shot. Bands like BOYFRIEND, JYJ, super Junior, Big Bang, and 2NE1 are worth a listen.

What’s the big deal about ‘Jane the Virgin’?

Jane The VirginBy now you have probably heard about the hit TV show ‘Jane the Virgin’, starring Gina Rodriguez as the titular star. The show, which is based off a Venezuelan telenovela called ‘Juana la Virgen’, debuted in the fall of 2014 on the CW. It is set in Miami, a city known for its lively Latino culture, and features a largely Hispanic cast and much Spanish-language dialogue. The sitcom immediately took the airwaves and the awards season by storm, and Gina herself won this year’s Golden Globe for Best Actress.

So why is this new show so explosively successful? For one, the premise and main character are in stark contrast with many other shows popular among preteen and teenage girls. Jane is, like the title says, a virgin who is waiting until marriage to have sex. The show explains early on that her reason for this decision is multifold: She is Catholic, she does not want to get pregnant before marriage, and she deeply respects her grandmother who taught her the values behind waiting to have sex. But Jane is no goody-two-shoes: She is a normal 23 year old woman who is both studying to become a teacher and working as a waitress at a posh hotel. Also, she has a boyfriend of two years whom she plans to marry.

She ‘miraculously’ becomes pregnant after a visit to the doctor’s office, where her gynecologist mistakenly artificially inseminated her. When she discovers what happened her life is thrown into turmoil. Her boyfriend, who had just recently asked her to marry him, tells her he does not want to raise another man’s child. Her mother is grief-stricken that her daughter will become a single mother like she did. Jane is horrified that the father of the child, Rafael, is a notorious playboy and also the owner of the hotel where she works.

But Jane’s miraculous pregnancy is only a small part of the whole show. The first season is laced with intrigue, as people are mysteriously murdered at the hotel and Rafael’s wife attempts to get custody of the unborn child. Jane also finally meets her own father, whose identity has been kept a secret her entire life. The one constant in Jane’s life, however, is her own integrity. Though she is often overwhelmed by the pregnancy and the drama that has turned her life upside down, she maintains her pure heart and her desire to pursue her dreams. She does not quite her job or school when she falls pregnant, but continues to work hard to achieve her goals. Throughout, she is loving to her mother and grandmother even when they disagree on how she should live her life. She is compassionate towards Rafael despite the fact that she does not want to have his child. But just as importantly Jane is never a doormat. She openly asserts her wants and needs and she protests when others attempt to manipulate her. Jane is truly a new sort of sitcom heroine, one whom is not ashamed of her beliefs and consistently acts with intelligence and empathy.

And what makes Jane’s character even better is the fact that she and her close-knit family deeply embrace Latino culture and values. Of Venezuelan descent, they often speak Spanish [with subtitles] and openly practice their Catholic faith. They exhibit a truth about the US’s Hispanic population that is often ignored by mainstream media: we are growing and flourishing and possess strong beliefs and character. Latinas are proud to have Jane as part of our ranks! And we can’t wait to see what adventures the second season of her show will bring!

The Immigrant Struggle in ‘Boyhood’

11189929_ori‘Boyhood,’ the 2014 film that spans twelve years of a boy’s life, from age 6 to 18, won Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes.  The acclaimed movie takes the audience through the growing-up process of Mason, a boy living in Texas with divorced parents. Throughout the film there are a couple scenes that prominently feature Hispanics. The first features a teenaged Latina girl who appears with Mason’s sister as they flip through fashion magazines after school. The second Latino portrayed is a Mexican immigrant who does some work for Mason’s mother on her new home. Mason’s mother recommends that he go to school. A few years later he comes up to her at a restaurant to tell her that he took her advice, got a degree, and is about to be promoted to a managerial position at his job.

Latinitas provided me with the opportunity to attend a Google Fiber Q&A session with the film’s main actor, Ellar Coltrane, who plays the role of the boy Mason. While there I asked Ellar why he believes the Hispanic immigrant’s role was included in the film.

He had two answers for me. Firstly, because the film takes place in Texas it just wouldn’t make sense if no Hispanics were featured, particularly those who recently immigrated. Secondly, the Hispanic immigrant provides a direction comparison to Mason’s mother, a single mother struggling to support two children. Both immigrants and single mothers, Ellar said, battle difficulties in achieving their dreams for themselves.

Most would agree with Ellar that a Texan film should present Hispanics to be credible. After all, recent statistics from the United States Census Bureau show that Texas is about 40% Hispanic. Pew Research Center demographics show that 88% of those Hispanics are Mexican, while almost half of all Texan Hispanics were born in their native countries.

Most would also agree that both single mothers and immigrants face financial and social difficulties that others do not. While the factors vary greatly, depending on the unique situation of the individual, both single mothers and immigrants occupy spaces outside of traditional society that create or complicate difficulties. Single mothers struggle to take on both their maternal role and an additional financial one. Immigrants, thrust into a starkly different country, must adapt to a new job, a new language, a new culture entirely.

However, after Mason’s mother suggests Enrique go to school he does not reappear until years later, when he is all smiles and boasting of his achievement. His brief explanation leaves the viewer with unanswered questions, wondering about the difficulties not portrayed in the film. How did Enrique pay for school? How did he balance work and study? Did he have a family at home needing immediate financial support? Did he struggle to understand and read English? Was he undocumented, and if so how did it complicate his schooling and career search? These are but a few examples of real-life scenarios that could have affected Enrique as he pursued his dreams. So while it’s glad that Enrique took the advice of Mason’s mother I’m aware that ‘Boyhood’ did not portray the many struggles he must have faced along the way.  ‘Boyhood’ is not a film about an immigrant’s triumph over struggle. I get that. Still, the simplistic picture painted of Enrique’s success reminds me that for those Americans unfamiliar with the struggles faced by immigrants, the movie did little to educate them further. Nonetheless it’s never a bad thing to portray the American success story of a Hispanic immigrant.

Review: Spare Parts

 213957Spare Parts, directed by Sean McNamara, is a film that was released in theaters in January 2015 and is now available for purchase. The movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Alexa Vega, Carlos Pena, and George Lopez, who is also a producer.

Spare Parts is based on a true story about a group of Latino high school boys who join an engineering club. These boys, with the support and guidance from their teacher Fredi Cameron (George Lopez), strive to build a robot that they hope to enter into a robotics competition in which they would face-off with championing schools such as MIT and Stanford. Winning this competition means beating the odds, though, because these students have practically no funding and a limited amount of resources in order to get the job done.

Although science and robotics is one of the reasons why this rag-tag team formed, it is not the only theme within the movie. This film covers the heart-warming bases like family and friendship as well. However, this film does not shy away from the hard-hitting issues that can be relevant in the lives of hard-working Latin American families in the Southwest United States. Carlos Pena’s character, Oscar Vasquez, hopes to join the U.S. Army, but his plans come to a halt when he learns that he cannot do so as an undocumented immigrant. Undocumented immigration, financial struggles, and tough life choices are the foundation for a film like this, a film about how dedication and ambition can take you places you wouldn’t have thought possible.

Spare Parts is definitely a film worth checking out! It is well paced, running just under 2 hours. The plotline is easy to follow but not without its shocks and surprises throughout that will make you want to lean just a little bit closer to the screen, wondering…who is at the door, who is on the phone, who will win the grand prize?

La Malinche Book Review

La Malinche, or actually Malinalli, was not the Aztec princess legend says.malinche She was royalty in the Aztec empire, but was discarded by her mother as a baby out of preference to her siblings and dodged being sacrificed upon the intervention of her loving and mystical grandmother who raised her. Well, so relays acclaimed author Laura Esquivel who is writing about a legendary character born in a time when public record was chiseled rather than written. Esquivel brought us one of the most adored narratives in Latino literature: “Like Water for Chocolate,” a novel also became an award-winning movie.

La Malinche tells us the story of a young woman finding out who she really is through the power of language.  And, though it is set in the late 1500s, early 1600s, it’s as timeless as any story about a girl finding her power in her own voice, beliefs and self.

If you are not familiar with La Malinche, legend says she is the mother of all Mexico, or, for many, she is also remembered as the destroyer of all Mexico .  La Malinche, represented by the character Malinalli in Esquivel’s book, was multi-lingual and could translate Nahuatl of her elders to Spanish and vice versa. As a result, she gained the fondness of Spanish conquerer Hernán Cortes.  In Esquivel’s story it’s clear Cortes is drawn to Malinalli, but we are not sure if it is his bloodthirst for power that drives his admiration. Feeling discarded by her mother, Malinalli gains worth in Cortes’ troops as a translator and in a romance with him that produces beloved children of her own.

But, after Cortes repeatedly uses her to conquer and kill the native people of Mexico, she sees him more for the short, unhappy, power hungry villain that earned the nickname early on: La Malinche, in which she was named for.  It is so rare we get to read a story of Mexican or any Latino history from the point of view of a girl. It is also rare to get a whole sensory experience in a book and Esquivel is all about revealing tastes, smells and what a time feels like. Malinalli shares that the Spanish soldiers reek of the garlic they eat and don’t bathe often.  Though we have perceptions of “primitive” life, such as that of the tribes that existed in what is now Mexico and that Spain was “developed” or “advanced,” in just a few short lines we realize native peoples of America were leaps ahead of their European visitors – even if it was just about good hygiene.

What I most loved about this book which I’d recommend any teen reader is how La Malinche is not demonized in this story as she is in most accounts. She is made human. We find out her need for human love, the rejection of her mothers’ love and her place as a girl in a society where human sacrifices were necessary and common. We learn about her bravery, contributions to Mexican history and a broader picture of who Malinalli (La Malinche) was.

Book Review: Finding Miracles

“Finding Miracles” started off as what seemed to be just a novel about a girl in Vermont, and it grew into a beautiful coming of age story.

Finding Miracles Julia Alvarez Book Cover

The book is about a young girl, Milly (her full name is Milagros), who was adopted as a child and grew up to become an American teen – and she was just fine with that. As most books go, a new boy shows up to school, but this boy is different from most in books like these. Milly quickly finds out that he has something in common with her, and that is what makes her decide to find out more about her birth parents.

The characters in this book are relatable, as well, even if Milly wasn’t adopted from a Latin country into a Caucasian family. Her friends and her relationships with them are realistic and that makes it easy for readers to put themselves into the novel.

Julia Alvarez, the author of this novel, said, “I have met quite a few young people who were adopted from other countries by American moms and dads. I have watched them grow up and struggle to understand how to fit their “shadow” culture and world into the story of their lives.”

And so she wrote this novel for any other young people that might deal with this same issue. The title of the novel, “Finding Miracles,” is just another way of saying “Finding Milagros.” Alvarez’s story is all about how Milly finds herself in her American culture, but also her Latin one. She learns to embrace who she truly is after hiding it away for so many years.

Alvarez also leaves out the name of the country Milly is from so that readers can imagine it as any place they like, maybe even the country they are from. She describes the country well enough for readers to get an image in their head, but vaguely enough for it to be almost any Latin American country.

This book would be good for anyone to read, not just anyone that’s been in that situation. Although everyone is different, and there might not be anyone in the exact same position as Milly, readers learn what someone they know might be feeling if they are in a situation similar to this. And if the readers don’t know anyone who has had to go through this, the novel has a good plot that will keep readers interested until the very end.

Book Review: Rogelia’s House of Magic

Rogelia's House of MagicRogelia’s House of Magic follows the journey of three girls into the world of curanderismo magic and the world of friendship, love, and family it opens up along the way. What begins as three girls trying to learn magic becomes a story of friends finding the family and love they didn’t know they were looking for.

Rogelia’s House of Magic is the story of Xochitl, Marina, and Fern—three fifteen-year-old girls with three different problems in their lives. Xochitl was excited to move to the United States from Mexico, but her twin sister died in an accident along the way and she can’t stop mourning her death. Now she is afraid to open up and enjoy the friendship of others. Fern lives in the barrio and her mom is never around. She has a big heart for nature though and is trying to save sacred wetlands from being developed by a housing company. Marina was Fern’s old neighbor in the barrio until her mom make a ton of money and moved them into a big house and shunned their old life. Marina can’t seem to make her mother proud and she hates that she has no connection to her Mexican heritage.

Things seem tough for the girls, until they meet Rogelia. Rogelia is Marina’s new maid and Xochitl’s grandma. Rogelia is a curandera, or a wise healer, who was well-known in her village for using nature and magic to heal people and save lives. Marina and Fern ask Rogelia to teach them magic and this leads to their friendship with Xochitl. The girls gain powers through their training, but don’t realize they are gaining a lot more than that. Rogelia comes to fill a void in each of their lives. For Marina, Rogelia is a connection to her heritage and a stand-in for the grandmother she never had. Rogelia teaches Fern that she is capable of forming relationships with people and she doesn’t have to take care of herself. In Xochitl’s case, Rogelia is a connection to her past and her sister, and she inspires Xochitl to take a step forward in life and move past her loss.

The most important bond though, is between the three girls. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a story about friendship at its core. Anyone with a bestfriend will understand how powerful their connection is. Fern and Marina have been friends for years and have supported each other through ups and downs. Xochitl is wary of the girls’ friendship and worries they are only using her for her grandmother’s lessons. Together they help each other open up about their problems and a dreams and push each other to go out and change their own lives. In the end, they learn that magic is nothing without their friendship. Magic is fueled by their love for each other and leads them to do some of their greatest magic yet.

Of course, the magic is rooted in reality. Curanderismo is a practice of folk healing in Latin American culture. Don’t expect any magic wands like in Harry Potter. The girls learn power like clairvoyance, invisibility, and psychic mediumship. Rogelia teaches them that the magic really lies in nature and their connection to the world and to each other. The only way to perform the most difficult of spells is to do it with the purest hearts and best intentions. Magic is driven by love and their combined love is all the more powerful.

While we may not all be curanderas, the book is a great read with something everyone can relate to—friendship, crushes, or family drama. This book inspires the reader to appreciate the family and heritage that we sometimes forget about in our busy lives. Rogelia’s House of Magic is a reminder that the true magic in the world is that of the love we show to others.

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