Lorena Alvarez enchants again. In HICOTEA absolutely magical illustrations accompany a story about curiosity and the natural world. We revisit Sandy and her creativity in this field-trip tale of nature and discovery. — From Amy's Picks
Raina Telgemeier meets Miyazaki with a Latin American twist in this mesmerizing follow-up to the best-selling children's graphic novel Nightlights. Lorena Alvarez's spunky heroine Sandy returns to explore a magical new dimension.
On a school field trip to the river, Sandy wanders away from her classmates and discovers an empty turtle shell. Peeking through the dark hole, she suddenly finds herself within a magical realm. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle's shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy's help to finish it.
About the Author
Lorena Alvarez was born and raised in Bogotá and studied Graphic Design and Arts at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She has illustrated for Puffin Books, Faber & Faber, Usborne Books, Parragon, Boom! Studios, Nickelodeon, and Disney. She is the creator of the popular Nightlights series and was nominated for a 2018 Eisner for Best Publication for Kids (9-12) for the first Nightlights book.
Winner of the 2019 Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award from Comic Con International
Finalist for Pop Culture Classroom's 2020 EGL Award, Best in Middle-Grade Graphic Literature and the Mosaic Award
Finalist for Maryland's 2020 Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for Graphic Novels, Grades 4-6
"Alvarez has a marvelous gift for creating original and enticing flora and fauna in unexpected color combinations; these are worlds readers will wish to enter."
—School Library Journal
"The artwork is surreal and striking and the palette sumptuous. The story is set in Bogotá, the artist capturing the atmosphere of her hometown in all its color and variety. The characters in the book are as varied as their city, depicted in a range of skin colors that attests to its multiracial character."
—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
"Alvarez unveils a stunningly beautiful follow-up to Nightlights, featuring the same protagonist in a strange new environment . . . Bright, white, and dark colors all battle for space as each represents something different – life, absence, and evil, respectively. Alvarez’s art is a treat that brings her story alive."
—Youth Services Book Review
"The story is epic, about creation and destruction. The color and design and endlessly flowing art in Hicotea is just as lovely and imaginative as Nightlights . . . the images are worth getting lost in, and the books can be looked at over and over, with new things discovered every time."
—Johanna Draper Carlson for Comics Worth Reading
"This is a layered, complex tale, and to call Alvarez’s artwork a visual delight would be criminally understated. Filled with rich colors, tremendous detail, and tons of atmosphere it is a book for reading slowly and then a book for reading multiple times. The worlds Alvarez creates are utterly entrancing, and I look forward to Sandy’s next journey."
—Julie Danielson for Kirkus Reviews