Reviews

Lorenzo's Secret Mission

The Spanish Johnny Tremain. -Houston Chronicle, October 2001.

One of the book’s strengths is its depiction of the cultural diversity (French, Spanish, Choctaw, etc.) that
was vital to the revolutionary cause . . ."
-School Library Journal

Highly recommended for its sweeping narrative, its realistic and energetic style, and its unexpected and
somewhat startling conclusion. -MultiCultural Review


I recommend Lila Guzman's books for young readers. Her books are very well written historical novels,
historically correct and full of adventure. Not long ago I had a sister in-law visit our home for several days.
One day she picked up the Lorenzo and the Turncoat book and almost read the whole thing in one day.
When I saw her that evening she was so thrilled about the book that she had to tell me the story and then
ask for another one of the series to read the next day.  She said that as she read she could visualize all
the clothing, muskets, horses, etc. that we usually have in our events and pictures.  -Dr. Eliud Bonilla, Re-
enactor, Spanish Louisiana Regiment, Professor, George Mason University


Alan Review - Shawn Keaton
This is a tale of the American Revolutionary War told from the unique perspective of a young Hispanic
male named Lorenzo Bannister. Historically rich and accurate, this book provides interesting scenarios of
life in New Orleans and Virginia at the time of the American Revolution. Real historical characters interact
with our hero, Lorenzo, including none other than, General George Washington. As the story begins,
young, patriotic, and ambitious, fifteen-year-old Lorenzo dreams of becoming a soldier, but at present, he
is studying to be a doctor. Suddenly, he is both. Beginning in New Orleans, the teen travels up the
Mississippi River as a medic on a flatboat, delivering medicine and gunpowder to the American
revolutionaries. A chance meeting with General Washington leads to his helping the American soldiers
carry out their orders, and eventually, win their freedom from the British. Told in an easy-to-read tone and
filled with plenty of historical detail, this would be an excellent book to discuss this era of American
history, with the appealing twist of perspective through the adolescent Hispanic narrator. This book is
particularly good for learning about the contributions of the Spanish in fighting the British.

KLIATT
This is an exciting, adventure-filled story about a 15-year-old Spanish boy, Lorenzo, during the American
Revolution. Honoring his father's dying wish, Lorenzo must deliver a letter from his father to his
grandfather, in Virginia. Immediately on his journey, Lorenzo has the fortune of joining a secret flatboat
operation. Their mission is to deliver medicine to George Washington's army of rebels. He becomes a
crucial part of the crew, having been trained as a medic by his father. Lorenzo's mission is not an easy
one, with obstacles to overcome along the way. The reader is transported to historical America during one
of the most crucial times in our history. This is a story that delicately and intricately weaves fictional
characters with legendary heroes, such as George Washington, to make history come alive. One of the
underlying themes of this story is the desire and struggle to achieve freedom and a better life. Lorenzo's
passion for life and for what he believes in is a great lesson to readers. Highly recommended, especially
for history lovers. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students.

School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Pursuing his father's dying wish, 15-year-old Lorenzo Bannister sets off to deliver a letter to his
grandfather and becomes unexpectedly involved in some lesser-known aspects of the American
Revolution, rubbing shoulders with such legendary figures as Bernardo de Galvez and George
Washington. Beginning in New Orleans, the teen travels up the Mississippi River as a medic on a flatboat
delivering supplies and intelligence to the American rebels, and to Virginia to meet his grandfather for the
first time. One of the book's strengths is its depiction of the cultural diversity (French, Spanish, Choctaw,
etc.) that was vital to the Revolutionary cause, and which is the foundation of New Orleans heritage.  The
novel is entertaining and has several unpredictable twists.


Sherry York (sherryy@zianet.net), a retired school librarian, 02/05/2002
Latinos for Liberty!
What a pleasure to see historical fiction for younger readers that includes Latino characters! Lorenzo's
Secret Mission is based on historical fact, but readers should not equate 'historical fact' with 'dull.' After
his father died in San Antonio, Texas, fifteen-year-old Lorenzo Bannister set out to fulfill his father's dying
wish--to deliver a letter to the grandfather he has never seen in Virginia. In the action-filled adventure
that ensues, Lorenzo becomes involved in the fight for freedom now known as the American Revolution.
The authors have successfully integrated facts about the contributions of Hispanics to the cause of liberty
into an interesting lively story that will entertain and teach about history. I look forward to a sequel!






Lorenzo's Revolutionary Quest

School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-In this exciting sequel to Lorenzo's Secret Mission, Lorenzo Bannister is sent to the Province of Texas to buy
500 head of cattle for George Washington's Continental Army. After purchasing the herd in San Antonio, he and his
soldiers begin their trek to the Mississippi River so they can rendezvous with the flatboats that will carry the animals to
their destination. The men are ever mindful of the possibility of a stampede, but the vaqueros are well equipped and
trained to herd the cattle safely. However, Lorenzo has two enemies who are determined that he will not succeed in his
mission, and when a stampede begins during a storm, the villains make their move. Espionage, romance, and mystery
enhance the accounts of possible events in the Revolutionary War. Aspects of the conflict such as food shortages,
difficulties in the transportation of supplies, and deficient weapons add to students' understanding of the war. While
the book will hold the most appeal for those who enjoyed Lorenzo's earlier adventure, it does stand alone.


KLIATT - Barbara McKee
Lorenzo Bannister, 16 years old and a captain in George Washington's Continental Army, goes on a
mission to get 500 head of cattle from the Spanish in Texas to help feed the army. He has to drive the
cattle back to flatboats to convey them to the soldiers. Along the way, he meets rustlers and a man named
"Saber Scar" who wants to take revenge on him. Historical and fictional characters intermingle to make
this story a page-turning one. A sequel to Lorenz
o's Secret Mission, this novel will keep readers engrossed and looking forward to the next tale.
Recommended for junior and senior high school students.



Lorenzo and the Turncoat

Dawn Brouillette  (Louisiana, United States)
I highly recommend Lorenzo and the Turncoat which takes place during the Revolutionary War, but
unexpectedly the setting is Louisiana rather than the Thirteen Colonies. The authors seamlessly weave
historical events, people and places into an exciting fictional tale, successfully capturing the feel and flavor of
New Orleans and Louisiana during these early days of our nation's history. The action packed story quickly
draws the reader into the lives of the characters. We easily identify with not only Lorenzo, but also his brave
young fiancé and their friends as they face, among other obstacles, a hurricane, a kidnapping, scarlet fever
and battling the British. Fun, fun, fun! As a New Orleans native I especially enjoyed the depiction of cultural
diversity that formed the population of Louisiana and the contributions of these different groups toward the
cause of Independence. A great read for anyone who enjoys novels that include action, adventure, love and
redemption. The history is a bonus.

Children's Literature
Robert Hawthorne is a British colonel in New York City in 1778. He's headed to Louisiana to seek vengeance on
someone who killed his cousin. This historical fiction story explains numerous details about the Revolutionary
War that are not normally found in history books. Lorenzo is a doctor engaged to a former spy in New Orleans,
and he also has connections to the governor general of the Louisiana Province. Lorenzo's fiancee is kidnapped
by Hawthorne in the middle of a disastrous hurricane. Lorenzo tries to clean up New Orleans and find his
fiancee at the same time. In solving this crime, justice, honor, and reputation are tested. Numerous ethnic
groups are represented and the reader gets closely involved in both sides of this dispute.

Dawn Brouillette, A reviewer, 02/04/2007
Action, adventure, love, treachery, redemption - what more could you want in young adult fiction?
I highly recommend Lorenzo and the Turncoat which takes place during the Revolutionary War. This is a
unique Revolutionary novel as unexpectedly the setting is Louisiana rather than the Thirteen Colonies. The
authors seamlessly weave historical events, people and places into an exciting fictional tale, successfully
capturing the feel and flavor of New Orleans and Louisiana during these early days of our nation’s history. The
action packed story quickly draws the reader into the lives of the characters. We easily identify with not only
Lorenzo, but also his brave young fiancé and their friends as they face, among other obstacles, a hurricane, a
kidnapping, scarlet fever and battling the British. Fun, fun, fun! As a New Orleans native I especially enjoyed
the depiction of cultural diversity that formed the population of Louisiana and the contributions of all these
different groups toward the cause of Independence. A great read for anyone who enjoys novels that include
action, adventure, love and redemption. The history is a bonus.

Bruce Wells, A reviewer, 01/20/2007
Wonderful Novel
LORENZO AND THE TURNCOAT is an intriguing novel, taking place when New Orleans is under Spanish rule,
but with the British poised for attack. (There is also a strong French influence in the region.) Lorenzo is now
fully-grown and betrothed to Eugenie, who mysteriously disappears in an 'erroneous' kidnapping. Much of this
inventive tale revolves around the purloined Eugenie, a hurricane, and the pre-emptive attack on the British
by Col. de Galvez and his troops, including Lorenzo. This novel is very enjoyable, not only for young people,
but also for adults. I highly recommend this book for both its great story line and for its historical retrospective.

Margaret Byrne Shoemaker, Round Rock Writer and SCBWI member, 01/15/2007
Lorenzo braves hurricane and war in search of his precious Eugenie
Warning! Sleep deprivation is imminent when reading Lila Guzman's fast paced historical drama, Lorenzo and
the Turncoat. Ms. Guzman forces the reader to continue turning pages into the night, following Lorenzo
through hurricane ravaged New Orleans and war torn Baton Rouge as he searches for the love of his life,
Eugenie. Lorenzo fears for Eugenie's safety, but as time goes on, he must consider the unsettling question
concerning Eugenie's personal and political loyalties. Where is Eugenie? Will Lorenzo and Eugenie survive the
hurricane, war, and choices they've both had to make? There's no turning back once the reader has begun
the journey. Sleep? Forget about it!


Lorenzo and the Pirate
(forthcoming)

Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy

Midwest Book Review
Award-winning author Lila Guzman presents Kichi in Jungle Jeopardy, a chapter book for young readers
ages seven and up about a rare blue Chihuahua and the special bond he forms with a friend. Kichi has
lived his life as a pampered but lonely pet, owned by Fortune Teller at the temple of the Mayan city of
Chilaam. One day, Fortune Teller's brother captures a new slave, Uxmal, from the rival city - and amazingly,
Uxmal can speak Dog! When terrible raiders attack Chilaam and kidnap Uxmal, Kichi sets out into the
jungle to save his closest friend. A handful of simple black-and-white drawings illustrates this charming
tale of love and loyalty.

Suzanne Kamata (Japan)
I wasn't sure how my seven-year-old son would feel about this book after having been so excited about
Captain Underpants, but I was intrigued by the Mayan setting and the Fortune Teller character, so I
thought we'd give it a try. Turns out my son LOVED the book. Every night, he chanted "Kichi! Kichi!" He
was totally unphased by the unfamiliar Mexican words and didn't get bored when there were no pictures,
like he usually does. The various animals were humorously characterized and the action moves along at a
nice clip. A great story for both mother and child!


M. DeCastro (Jacksonville, FL United States)  
I have read all of Ms. Guzman's books and found Kichi a delight. Step out of your thinking that a talking
dog is out of the norm, and enjoy the trip through the jungle with the animals he encounters. Get a
snippet of ancient Mayan culture and hold your breath as Kichi finds his way. This is a great read for a
young reader.

A reviewer, a bibliophile., 02/12/2007
Good read.  Kichi, a rare blue chihuahua, is a sweet little dog whom children will love. Set in the ancient
Mayan city of Chilaam, the story pulls readers into a fantasy world where animals talk and humans learn to
listen. Beautiful illustrations add to this story of loyalty, bravery and adventure.

Cesar Chavez
Children's Literature
From the "Famous Latinos" series, this multicultural book provides biographical information about Cesar
Chavez, as well as information about the migrant workers living in the west and southwest United States
and the discrimination practices that they faced. Having grown up in a family of migrant workers, and after
serving in the U.S. Navy, Chavez began trying to help migrant workers gain rights and fair pay through the
Community Service Organization. In 1962 he organized the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA),
now known as the United Farm Workers (NFW), to fight for migrant workers' rights. In 1965, when migrant
Filipino grape pickers went on strike for fair pay, Chavez and the NFW joined the strikers. Other
successes of Chavez and his followers were the prohibition of the short-handled hoe in California in 1975,
and educating the workers about pesticides used on crops (1980s). After his death in 1993, President
Clinton bestowed the U.S. Medal of Freedom on Chavez and California named his birthday a state holiday.
Other information included is a time line of Chavez' life, a glossary (Words to Know), books for further
reading, and Internet addresses of sites to use as further resources about Cesar Chavez. The easy-to-
read text is supported by actual photographs of Chavez, his family, and migrant workers. The authors
have done an excellent job of writing a concise biography of a complex man and his life that will appeal to
younger children, particularly young Latino readers interested in learning more about their culture.

School Library Journal - Sandra WelzenbachCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 3–4
Positive points in Chávez's life are highlighted chronologically. As a child of migrant workers, Chávez saw
discrimination and unfairness around him and he wanted to make a difference. He became a leader and
campaigned peacefully for better conditions. The narrative flows well and effectively conveys Chávez's
bravery and tenacity. The sepia, black-and-white, and color photos of various sizes are laid out in an eye-
catching fashion, and the tan page backgrounds provide warmth to the book. Lucile Davis's Cesar Chavez
(Capstone, 1998) contains the same information but has only black-and-white photos. Guzmán's book has
the look of a friendly read rather than just an item for research. Additional.



Diego Rivera
School Library Journal
Gr 3-4-The facts in these basic biographies are suitable for reports. Information is presented in easy-to-
understand sentences and short paragraphs.
Rivera concentrates on the artist's murals, while Kahlo
presents the personal importance of painting in the woman's life. The glossaries include not just art
terms, but also other words used in the text, such as "factory," "miserable," "ambulance," and "divorce."
Time lines are useful, but not complete. Rivera's omits his divorce and second marriage, although these
events are mentioned in the text. The colorful illustrations are plentiful and include photographs and
reproductions of the artists' works. All are captioned and well placed throughout the texts. Libraries
looking for short biographies for younger or reluctant readers will want to consider these titles.-Carolyn
Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH  

Green Slime and Jam

Children's Literature - Sara Carman 1571684832
This exciting action/adventure novel incorporates three classic literary characters who are magically
brought to modern times by an accident in a chemistry laboratory. Jason, a young boy who is no stranger
to trouble, causes this unusual scientific disaster. He creates a concoction of slime and other chemicals
when he "borrows" the chemistry set of his older sister, Courtney, and accidentally spills them on his
father's classic books, including Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and Lazarillo de Tormes.
The strange formula magically causes Alice, the Jabberwocky and Lazarillo to appear in the present but as
five-inch-tall characters. Luckily, Jason and Courtney quickly discover the characters and after many
questions and some deductive logic, the children figure out what Jason has done. They must then find a
way to get the characters back home into their respective novels undiscovered, so that their books are
not altered permanently. With a few twists and turns in the plot the children come up with a plan to get the
characters back to their books. The only problem is: Do the characters want to go back? Green Slime and
Jam familiarizes today's children with classic children's novels. In addition, this book uses contemporary
slang and pop culture icons to capture the attention of young readers and raise their curiosity about the
characters and books with which they may be unfamiliar. By doing this, Guzman establishes a desire for
knowledge and piques readers' interests in classic literature. 2001, Eakin,

Alan Review - Casey Burgs
Three famed literary characters are plucked from the pages of books when an explosion of green slime
splashes on their pictures inside the books. Their landing spot is a modern day school in Texas. The
literary figures, Lazarillo de Tormes (a famous character from Spanish literature), Alice in Wonderland, and
the Jabberwock, are now only inches tall in a modern day world of giants. Fortunately, The Spanish orphan
Lazarillo finds a safe place to stay, and someone who is willing to help him get back into his own Spanish
story. Lazarillo also faces the challenges of finding Alice so she can be safely returned to her book, Alice
in Wonderland, with the Jabberwock. Jason, the boy who caused the explosion, and his sister Courtney
are determined to find a way to get Lazarillo, Alice, and the Jabberwock back into their books. When the
solution is finally figured out, Lazarillo decides that he does not want to return to his book; instead, he
wants to stay with his new friends in the real world. This action adventure is an enjoyable read for young
adolescents. Coupled with illustrations and characters students would already be familiar with, the book is
an open door from which to begin to look at literary figures across time. 2001, Eakin Publications, 166 pp.,


Jan Newell-Byrd (jannewellbyrd@yahoo.com), a mother, grandmother, and teacher., 12/18/2001
Outstanding Book
The fifth graders in my classroom think this book is great, and it should be turned into a movie. Even my
reluctant readers who hate to read love 'Green Slime and Jam'. We hope the author will write many
sequals to this great book.