Children's Authors/Laura Resau
Laura Resau writes books set in Latin America or among Latin American immigrants to the United States. She has lived and traveled in Mexico. She was born in Baltimore City. She went to Saint Mary's College in Southern Maryland. She got a B.A. in Anthropology and French and then decided to teach English in Oaxaca, Mexico. While there she was able to learn Spanish and some of Mixteco, the indigenous language. She was also able to participate in some indigenous cultural traditions. Because of this experience she is able to translate the world of the indigenous people of Mexico for her readers. She does this best in her book What the Moon Saw. Her other books include Red Glass, Queen of the Water, Star in the Forest and the trilogy; The Indigo Notebook, The Ruby Notebook and The Jade Notebook. Resau lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, Ian, and her son. It is from there she has written most of her books. Laura won the IRA award, which honors promising writers of young adult literature, for her book Red Glass.
Books of Interest
What the Moon Saw (Delacorte 2006) This book is a beautifully written book set in rural Mexico. It is a great example of Magical Realism. Resau does a wonderful job of handling issues like immigration, identity and loss while immersing us in the indigenous culture of Southern Mexico. Young Adult readers will be drawn in by the well developed characters, the intriguing setting and the romance mixed with mysticism.
Red Glass (Delacorte 2007)
In this story about the meaning of family, Resau weaves a coming of age story about a girl, a boy found in the desert and teenager looking for his roots. There is death, romance, adventure and plenty of memorable characters. The language is rich and full of imagery. Resau takes a current issue,illegal immigration and puts a human face on it. A young boy is the only survivor of a family that tries to cross the desert into the United States from Mexico. Each chapter begins with a quote from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. These quotes mirror Sophie's, the narrator's, thoughts and the little boy found in the desert. When Sophie goes on a trip to take him back to Mexico romance develops between her and a fellow traveler, who is going back to Guatemala to find his mom. Red Glass has won many awards.
Star in the Forest (Delacorte 2010)
Written for 8-10 year olds, Resau tells the story of how current immigration laws in the United States effect families through the eyes of a young girl. The story includes a bit of mysticism as Zitlally befriends a stray dog that seems to have a connection to her father. Zitlally's father was deported when he was pulled over for speeding. The book is sensitive and mystical and is a beautifully told story of friendship that I think would appeal to this age group
Queen of Water (Delacorte 2011)
This book is written in collaboration with Maria Virginia Farinango. It tells her story as an indigenous child who goes to work as a maid at the age of eight. It is very sensitively written, even though the story involves exploitation, sexual abuse, and alcoholism. It is a true story about the mestizo and the indigenous people of Ecuador. Even though it is a true story, the descriptions are rich and transport you to the Ecuadoran Andes and the market place of Otavalo. Because of the subject matter, it is probably best for ages 14 and up. It is also a complex story of divided loyalties and difficult situations intended for a more mature audience.
The Indigo Notebook (Delacorte 2009)
The first book in Resau's trilogy is about a mother with wanderlust and a daughter who yearns for stability. Resau explores the culture of Ecuador in this novel about a mother who moves to a new country every year. It is a nice depiction of role reversal, that many children experience if the have mothers with mental illness or addictions. Even though this mother has neither, the role reversal as her daughter takes on the responsible role is believable and will hit home for some readers. There is also a romance, which is appealing to young adult readers.
The Ruby Notebook (Delacorte, 2009),
The second book, in the notebook trilogy follows the same characters as the first book, but now they are in France, with a bit of mystery and possible new love interests. This book will appeal to young adult girls in particular, who are trying to sort out the conflicting feeling they have towards possible love interest. The story is beautifully written, with wonderful descriptions of France and well developed characters. This book has mystery and magic. It also contains deep insights on life as well.
The Jade Notebook (Delacorte. 2012.)
The third book in the trilogy, The Jade Notebook is set in Mexico. It is a satisfying conclusion to Zeeta's story. As with her other books, there is mystery, mysticism romance and life lessons. The story delights on so many levels. Resau's incredible descriptions show her off as not just a fabulous story teller, but a skilled writer. She uses metaphors effortlessly and her descriptions are fresh and original. She also knows how to draw the young adult crowd in with a finely unwoven mystery and a compelling romance.
Laura Resau Work
Although Laura Resau has a wide range of settings, characters and story her books all carry a common theme probably best illustrated by the fact that she donates a portion of her proceeds to indigenous rights groups. All of her books treat indigenous people with respect. She honors the indigenous beliefs and her books decry the poor treatment they receive. She shows in all of her books the difficult decisions many indigenous people make because of their social status. Another thing that is common throughout her books, is her familiarity with her subject. In What the Moon Saw she draws on her journals kept doing her teaching in Mexico. In A Star in the Forest and The Red Glass her stories comes from her experience with immigrants while teaching ESL in the United States. The Queen of the Water came about through her friendship with an Indigenous woman from Ecuador, who wanted to tell her story. All of her books are set in places she has lived in or visited. Another common theme throughout her works of fiction is her use of magical Realism.
The Jade Note Book: "...tackles familial and romantic relationships, corruption, and ecological issues with veracity and complexity. Secondary characters are well formed and intrinsic to the plot development. The lush descriptions, intermittent action sequences, and sprinkling of fantasy all come together to form an engaging reading experience that will delight teens looking for a more mature story." Nicole Politi, The Ocean County Library, Toms River, NJ
The Queen of Water: "Rooted in Farinango’s true story, the honest,first-person, present-tense narrative is occasionally detailed and repetitive, but it dramatizes the classic search for home with rare complexity and no sentimentality or easy resolutions" Rochman, Hazel. Booklist, 2/15/2011, Vol. 107 Issue 12, p68, 1p
What the Moon Saw: "Beautifully written, this is filled with evocative language that is rich in imagery and nuance and speaks to the connections that bind us all. Add a thrilling adventure and all the makings of an entrancing read are here." Kirkus Reviews, 9/1/2006, Vol. 74 Issue 17, p912-912, 1/5p