JUANA & LUCAS: BIG PROBLEMS, by Juana Medina, Candlewick Press


Fans of Judy Moody and Clarice Bean will love Juana, the spunky young Colombian girl who stars in this playful, abundantly illustrated new series.

Juana loves many things — drawing, eating Brussels sprouts, living in Bogotá, Colombia, and especially her dog, Lucas, the best amigo ever. She does not love wearing her itchy school uniform, solving math problems, or going to dance class. And she especially does not love learning the English. Why is it so important to learn a language that makes so little sense? But when Juana’s abuelos tell her about a special trip they are planning—one that Juana will need to speak English to go on—Juana begins to wonder whether learning the English might be a good use of her time after all. Hilarious, energetic, and utterly relatable, Juana will win over los corazones — the hearts — of readers everywhere in her first adventure, presented by namesake Juana Medina.

Out May 2019

96 Pages


I received this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is part of a series–Bk 1.

What a sweet and interesting little book. This is an easy reader for kids between the ages of 5-8. It’s supposed to be fully illustrated with colorful art, but my ARC was incomplete by way of illustrations. Normally, the illustrations carry a lot of weight when reviewing such a book, so I was a bit nervous about how I would like it.

Well, I can honestly say, that the story and structure of this book is so enjoyable that the prose can carry itself without illustrations, making those to be added during printing an added bonus.

What a terrific story, an excellent introduction to Spanish, and a lovely insight into a life lived elsewhere. Told beautifully, you get a great opportunity to get to know little Juana (also the same name as the author). You experience why she likes what she does, why she doesn’t and it’s okay; you learn about those in her life and her favorite places, food and people. Then, you learn about her immediate family, her deceased father, her mother’s new boyfriend/turn husband, and the anxiety the little girl has about the changes occurring in her life.

I loved every bit of it and I recommend it not just for the story, but also for how the book is laid out, with fun compilations to keep the reader engaged. Awesome book! Easy to read, laid out cleverly… perfect!

I gave it:


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