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Donna Barba Higuera Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Lupe Wong Won't Dance (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Last Cuentista/The Last Storyteller (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alebrijes (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Picture Books

El Cucuy Is Scared, Too! (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Yellow Handkerchief (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
It's Navidad, El Cucuy! (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Donna Barba Higuera is a science fiction, fantasy, and children’s fiction novelist who is best known for her debut novel “Lupe Wong Won’t Dance.” The author was born in Taft in Western Kern County, which is also where she spent most of her childhood.
Howard Matney her father is a retired school administrator and history teacher in high school and Higuera her great-grandfather was one of the founders of San Luis Obispo.

Patsy Matney her mother was a first-grade and kindergarten teacher who moved to Derby Acrs and Lamont with her family following the Great Depression.

Her parents were thirteen when they met on a school bus and they remained together until her mother passed on a few years ago.

Melissa Taylor her sister followed in her father’s footsteps and is now a Jefferson Elementary school principal having obtained her liberal studies and education credentials from California State Bakersfield.

Growing up, Donna Barba Higuera was quite the reader and loved to disappear into the worlds of the likes of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “A Wrinkle in Time.”

She always dreamed of one day becoming an author, even though her parents preferred that she pursue a career in science.

After she graduated from Taft Union High School, she proceeded to UC Santa Barbara where she studied biology but soon ran out of money and moved back home to attend California State University Bakersfield.
In college, she got to have hands-on experiences and did a lot of research which she found to be a wonderful experience.

In 1991, she got her biology degree and then proceeded to the Southern California School of Optometry, where she earned her doctorate.

Afterward, she moved to the Pacific Northwest where she began practicing as an optometrist. It was during this time that she began making up stories that she used to tell her daughter before bed just like her grandmother and father had done for her.
She used to take the time to write them down in the car when she was waiting for her daughter to get out of preschool. In 2010, her manuscript was submitted to a contest by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association contest and won its category.

Things changed dramatically for Donna Barba Higuera when she went to a children’s fiction writing conference in Portland.

It was there that she read the first few pages of her manuscript that told the story of a twelve-year-old who dreams of one day becoming a Major League Baseball player.
As she was leaving, an editor named Nick Thomas who was with Scholastic asked her to send her manuscript to him.

The editor loved it and wrote back saying he found the manuscript smart and funny and a few months later, they began negotiations for a contract.
But then Thomas had to leave Scholastic and asked if Barba would be interested in moving to Levine Queriod his new publishing house with him.
This was the publishing house that had introduced American readers to “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling and Barba could not say no.

She published “Lupe Wong Won’t Dance” her debut novel in 2020 and has since published several other works that have been just as successful.

Donna Barba Higuera’s novel “Lupe Wong Won’t Dance” tells the story of a seventh grader named Lupe who goes to Issaquah Middle School.

While she loves playing with her friend Niles rather than studying, she is very good in school and is expected to get straight As.

But then, a square dancing unit in P.E. threatens to shut her out of her big dream of one day meeting Fu Li Hernandex her baseball idol. Her uncle had promised that if she scored all As he would ensure she met the lead pitcher for the Mariners.
However, life is known for often throwing curveballs and now her dream is in jeopardy because of P.E. since she just cannot dance. Lupe is a great sportsman particularly when it comes to baseball, even though dancing should never be part of P.E.
With an eye toward inclusion, equity, and some research, Lupe may have stumbled upon a plan for ensuring square dancing is booted from the curriculum once and for all.

Lupe is of Chinese and Mexican heritage and her father has always told her that Wongs usually do not give up. She thinks the best plan is to convince the principal that square dancing is retrogressive only for her best-laid plans to backfire.

“The Last Cuentista” by Donna Barba Higuera tells the story of Petra Penny.

Alongside her younger brother and her parents, she has been chosen to go on a spaceship that will land on Sagan to ensure human survival after the Earth is destroyed by the planet Halley.
They were all supposed to be put to sleep only to wake up centuries later once the ship arrived on the alien planet Sagan. But then something terrible happens and she wakes up centuries later all alone with the ship taken over by rebels.
The rebels had made themselves into genetically modified organisms that looked like ugly shrimp.

They have sabotaged the original plan and wiped the memories of everyone who had been on the ship reprogramming them to become mindless slaves of “The Collective.”

“The Collective” is an organization that intends to wipe out all traces of humanity and individualism, culture, and everything that gives soul and heart to human beings.

They assert that this will result in greater unity without any conflict or wars but it is all a pretense. The collective prides itself on being very pragmatic which might seem ideal but it is not.
It intends to measure each person by their usefulness and the moment one is deemed not efficient they are immediately killed under the orders of the dystopian administration.

Donna Barba Higuera’s novel “Alebrijes” is a work set in a cruel dystopian world where Leandro a thirteen-year-old and Gabi his younger sister make a living working as laborers growing potatoes and engaging in some less-than-legal activities.
When Gabi heads out to steal fruit and is caught Leandro takes the fall to protect his sister.

They are living in a world that is best described as a ravaged wasteland in which the survivors make their home in Pocatel the unforgiving city with its harsh structures and harsh rules.

At some point, all of the people in the city were independent and hardworking men and women who earned their living the best way they knew how.

But once the Cascabels came into town, they came up with a tiered social system, with people like Gabi and Leandro forming a new underclass.

Beyond the city is the wilderness full of unknown animals and dangerous threats making it impossible to survive out there.

Nonetheless, Leandro cannot stop thinking of a better place and a better life. Ultimately, he transfers his consciousness to a drone and gradually learns a lot about what is beyond the city and beneath its surface.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Donna Barba Higuera

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