the lightning queen

book club party


Book Club Party

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau


To Serve

·         Gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins

·         Tea or Mexican cinnamon hot chocolate (with a dash of cayenne if you’re brave) 

·         Sweet tamales (tamales de dulce)


To Wear

 ·         Dress up as your favorite character.


To Decorate

·         Candles

·         Stuffed animals scattered around the room (especially goats, skunks, birds, ducks, and horses)

·         Fringed scarves and carpets and cushions

·         Musical instruments, dried corn cobs, and Tarot cards scattered around the room


To Listen To

·         Putumayo’s Gypsy Groove

·         Putumayo’s Gypsy Caravan

·         Music by Lila Downs (whose heritage is Mixteco)


To Do for Fun

·         JEWELRY: String necklaces, bracelets, and anklets of coins, shells, beads, charms

·         MOBILES: Make mobiles of coins, shells, beads, charms

·         TORTILLAS: Make corn tortillas using Maseca flour

·         DANCE: Watch Latcho Drom (or another video of Romani dancing).  Dance along (and spin a lot!)

·         FILMS: Watch YouTube clips of Nosotros los Pobres and other films mentioned in the book.  See if you can understand any Spanish words.

·         TELL FORTUNES: Use a book like The Kids Guide to Fortune-telling by Louise Dickson for instructions and ideas.  You could do palm-reading, tea-leaf-ready, lucky numbers, and more.

·         WEAVE baskets, mats, hats, etc. using reeds or recycled materials like cardboard strips.  You can find a YouTube tutorial to guide you.


To Discuss

·         Esma tells Teo: “Tell yourself a fortune and make it come true.”  Have you or someone you know ever tried something like this?  Did it work (or do you think it will work)? Why or why not? Is there something in your life you’d like to try this strategy with?

·         Teo rescues abandoned or hurt baby animals.  Have you or someone you know ever rescued an animal?  Tell how you/he/she found it and what you/she/he did.

·         Both Teo’s people and Esma’s people have experienced prejudice and discrimination because of their ethnicity. And Esma is treated badly by the boria because of her disabled leg and hand.  Have you or someone you know ever been treated differently because of some quality you have?  How did you/he/she feel? What did you/he/she do?

·         Fortunes and curses come up often in the book.  Do you think that fortunes and curses can affect people’s behavior?  How?  Do you believe in fortunes or curses?  Why or why not?

·         Mateo enjoys listening to his grandfather’s, Teo’s, stories, and feels a sense of magic when he visits The Hill of Dust.  What kinds of stories do your grandparents or older relatives tell you? Is there anything magical about the stories or the experience of spending time with these elders?

·         Both Teo’s uncle and his teacher go through big transformations.  Have you ever seen someone drastically change his/her attitude or way of acting in the world?  What motivated them to change?  Were they able to stick with the change?


To Remember

·         Take a photo of your book club party, email it to me at with the subject heading “Lightning Queen Book Club” and I’ll mail you up to 20 autographed bookmarks for your book club!