Related Activities & Resources:
Cathy Camper Bio:
Radio Interview with Author:
Megan McDonald interviews Author:
Cathy Camper Twitter Page:
Lowriders in Space Facebook Page:
Illustrator Facebook Page:
Lowriders in Space Illustrations:
Activities from the Publisher:
Lowriders in Space Teacher Guide
Jigsaw Puzzle of Earth – can change number of and shapes of pieces:
Jigsaw Puzzle of View of Earth from the Moon – can change number and shape of pieces:
NASA for Kids – lots of information and terrific graphics about the solar system and beyond; nine puzzles with degrees of difficulty; your weight in space; four ion engine puzzlers:
Alphabet in Spanish:
Shapes and Colors in Spanish:
Numbers in Spanish:
How a Car Wash Works:
Build a Kids’ Car Wash:
How a Car Engine Works:
Car Facts for Kids:
Dynamics of Flight:
Do you enjoy reading graphic novels? Why or why not? If so, do you have a favorite book or series? How does it compare with Lowriders in Space?
What do you think of the author using Spanish words in this story? Did it make the story more authentic? Be sure to read the author notes at the end of the book.
This book is the first in a series. What do you think will happen on the road trip in the second book?
Compare the town/city you live in or live near with the one depicted in this story. Would you like to live in a town like the one used in the story? Why or why not?
Have you ever watched someone work on a car? Describe what they did or what they were fixing. Do you know any women mechanics? Would you like to be a mechanic?
What do you think the author meant when she described El Chavo with the description: “When he polished a car, he spun over the paint job like an eight-pointed ninja star flying through the night”?
Do you like to create art? What tools do you use? After reading this book do you think you will try to draw using ballpoint pens? Why or why not?
In the story, Lupe said that when she was young “I learned to use what I had… to make do.” Elirio said, “We couldn’t afford brushes and paint, so I made my own.” Have you ever “made do” with something because you didn’t have the real thing? Did it work?
If their car had not gotten detailed in space, do you think they still would have won the competition? Why or why not?
Were the descriptions and illustrations accurate when the characters talked about or the graphics showed the location and description of objects and planets in space?
The first time Lupe started the car, do you think she expected it would fly in space? Why or why not?
What was your favorite outer space upgrade to the car? Why?
Lupe, El Chavo, and Elirio liked their job of working with cars, but they dreamed of having their own garage. Do you know anyone who likes what they do, but wishes they could be their own boss or work someplace else? Are they doing something to make it happen? Do you have suggestions for them?
Why do you think the author and the illustrator didn’t put text on the page that shows El Chavo, Elirio, and Lupe in their car zooming towards the Black Hole? If you had designed the page and you added text, what would it say?
The judge said the Lowriders in Space entry was “truly a universal car”. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Would you like to ride in or own a Lowrider car? Why or why not?
The author chose an octopus, an impala and a mosquito to be the main characters in her story. Do you agree or disagree with her decision? How would the story have been different if humans had been used for these roles?
Have you ever used old or recycled parts to improve something or create something new? If yes, what was it? Did you like the result? Would you do it again?
Have you been asked to judge a competition? If so, what did you judge and what was your experience like? Would you do it again?
How much money do you think they won? What is a fast and accurate way to count it? If the grand prize had been a car do you think they would have entered? Why or why not?
Book Talk Teasers:
Read pages 8-15.
Read pages 22-23.
ALA Suggested List of Graphic Novels:
TLA-Maverick List for Older Readers:
Little Maverick List for Younger Readers:
Action and adventure comics; Comics (Graphic works); Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Colorful; Detailed:
Smith, Jeff. Crown of horns. With the Bones, Thorn, and Gran’ma Ben defending the besieged city of Atheia, Thorn and Fone Bone embark on a quest to find the crown of horns, which might be able to save them all. (NoveList Plus)
Action and adventure comics; Comics (Graphic works); Graphic novels; Science fiction comics; Translations; Colorful; Detailed:
Guibert, Emmanuel. Sardine in outer space. 3. Sardine and her uncle, Captain Yellow Shoulder, sail their ship, The Huckleberry, across the universe meeting up with monsters and aliens in order to confront Supermuscleman, who is trying to take over the galaxy. (NoveList Plus)
Australian fiction; Fantasy fiction; Colorful; Detailed:
Base, Graeme. Truck dogs: a novel in four bites. Two gangs of canine-like motor vehicles, the Rott Wheelers and the Mongrel Pack, have a showdown in the town of Hubcap. (NoveList Plus)
Australian fiction; Graphic novels; Humorous comics; Science fiction comics; Cartoony; Colorful:
McGuiness, Dan. Pilot & Huxley: the next adventure. Pilot and Huxley just want to go home. But a press of a button sends them on an unexpected side trip to the holiday lands. Halloween may have zombies, but the land of Christmas is where the scary stuff happens. Hitching a ride with Santa to Earth might not be as easy as they thought, especially when Pilot and Huxley find themselves on the entertainment menu. (NoveList Plus)
Autobiographical comics; Biographies; Graphic novels; Cartoony:
Bell, Cece. El deafo. The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her “superpower.” (NoveList Plus)
Children’s stories; Comics (Graphic works); Graphic novels; Science fiction comics; Colorful; Detailed:
Thompson, Craig. Space dumplins. Violet Marlocke sets out with a group of misfit friends on an outer space mission to save her father who has gone missing during a hazardous job, leading them all into an adventure filled with aliens and spaceships. (NoveList Plus)
Comics (Graphic works); Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Colorful; Detailed:
Aguirre, Jorge. Giants beware! Claudette wants nothing more than to slay a giant but her little village is too safe and quiet. (NoveList Plus)
Comics (Graphic works); Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Cartoony:
Colossal, Eric. Rutabaga the adventure chef 1. Rutabaga and his magic cooking pot join three young adventurers on a culinary quest to defeat a dragon, discover new ingredients, and identify monsters to invite to, or eat for, dinner. (NoveList Plus)
Comics (Graphic works); Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Cartoony; Colorful; Detailed:
TenNapel, Doug. Cardboard. After Cam’s father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday, they fashion it into a man that comes to life, but things spin out of control when a bully steals a scrap of the cardboard to create creatures that disobey his orders and multiply into an army. (NoveList Plus)
Comics (Graphic works); Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Cartoony; Detailed:
Corsetto, Danielle. Adventure time: original graphic novels. 1, Playing with fire. Flame Princess and Jake have to survive a number of traps before they can rescue Finn’s soul, which has been kidnapped by a devious dragon. (NoveList Plus)
Comics (Graphic works); Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Culturally diverse:
Toole, Anne. Crystal C\cadets. Join this team of darkness-fighting, world-saving, power-packed teen girls from all over the world on their first adventure! (NoveList Plus)
Comics (Graphic works); Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Historical comics; Cartoony; Colorful:
Harrell, Rob. Monster on the hill. Book 1. In a fantastical England where each small town has a monster, the people of Stoker-on-Avon have to help their own, a depressed creature named Rayburn, become the monster he was born to be. (NoveList Plus)
Comics (Graphic works); Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Humorous comics; Cartoony:
Cammuso, Frank. The misadventures of Salem Hyde. 2, Big birthday bash. Loving to fly despite her nervous cat’s apprehensions, impulsive young witch Salem Hyde looks forward to an upcoming birthday party that is challenged by spells gone awry. (NoveList Plus)
Comics (Graphic works); Graphic novels; Science fiction comics; Cartoony; Detailed:
Lieberman, Andy. The silver six. Discovering that they share a common connection, a group of orphans makes a daring escape from their orphanage to an uninhabited moon, where they are pursued by a powerful corporate boss who caused the deaths of their parents. (NoveList Plus)
Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Colorful; Detailed:
Lendler, Ian. Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue presents Macbeth. When the Stratford Zoo closes for the evening, the animals sneak out of their cages and use their limited acting ability to put on an unusual version of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” (NoveList Plus)
Fantasy comics; Graphic novels; Detailed; Muted:
Kibuishi, Kazu. Amulet. Book four, The last council. Emily and her friends think they’ll find the help they need in Cielis, but something isn’t right. Streets that were once busy are deserted, and the townspeople who are left live in crippling fear. Emily is escorted to the Academy where she’s expected to compete for a spot on the Guardian Council, the most powerful Stonekeepers. But as the number of competitors gets smaller and smaller, a terrible secret is slowly uncovered–a secret that, if left buried, means certain destruction of everything Emily fights for. (Publisher description)
Graphic novels; Science fiction comics; Cartoony:
Hatke, Ben. The return of Zita the spacegirl. Zita the Spacegirl is wrongfully imprisoned on a penitentiary planet from where she must escape to halt an evil warden’s plans for interstellar domination. (NoveList Plus)
Graphic novels; Science fiction comics; Cartoony; Inventive; Muted:
Maihack, Mike. Cleopatra in space. Book one, Target practice. Mysteriously zapped thousands of years forward to the present day, a 15-year-old Cleopatra discovers that she is destined to save the galaxy from a tyrannical overlord, a prophecy that compels her to enroll in a high-tech school where she can learn modern subjects, alien languages and combat fighting. (NoveList Plus)
Stories without words; Detailed; Minimally colored:
Hussenot, Victor. The land of lines. A boy and a girl from different worlds explore a mysterious and changing landscape, encountering adventure and danger. (NoveList Plus)
Oxlade, Chris. The car. Traces the evolution of the automobile, discussing the people, problems, achievements, and technological advances associated with its development (NoveList Plus)
Stamps, Caroline. Cars. Explores all types of automobiles, including cars of the past, concept cars, race cars, and monster trucks, and discusses how cars are made, safety tests, and fuels of the future. (NoveList Plus)
Lowriders in Space.
By Cathy Camper. Illus. by Raul the Third.
2014. 112p. Chronicle, $22.99 (9781452121550). Gr. 3–6. 741.5.
First published October 15, 2014 (Booklist).
Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria love fixing up cars together, but they are tired of working for tough old el jefe, so when they see an ad for a universal car competition—including a category for ranflas (lowriders), their favorite kind of car—they get busy fixing up the hunk of junk in their yard so they can win the contest and open their own garage. It’s slow going until they stumble on some old plane-engine parts, and then things really start flying when, ¡que chido!, their rocket-powered car zips into space for a stellar detailing job. Raúl’s snazzy panels—impressively drawn in only red, blue, and black ballpoint pen on tea-stained paper—resemble an amped-up Mighty Mouse cartoon rendered in anarchic yet skillful doodles. It’s a joyfully explosive style, and it perfectly matches the Latino characters and barrio setting. Camper sprinkles Spanish slang throughout (all defined in a glossary at the end) and closes with a note about the development of lowriders by Mexican Americans in Southern California after WWII.¡Estellar! —Sarah Hunter
Camper, Cathy Lowriders in Space
112 pp. Chronicle 2014. ISBN 978-1-4521-2155-0
(3) 4-6 Illustrated by Raul, III Gonzalez. Lowriders series. To win a competition, animal friends Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria, and Flapjack Octopus build a rocket-powered lowrider out of space materials collected as they drive through the galaxy. The unique ballpoint-pen illustrations explode with energy as the hip, witty text drops occasional Spanish slang. An afterword explaining the history of lowrider cars puts the graphic novel into cultural context. Glos. (Spring 2015 Guide)
School Library Journal:
Lowriders in Space
Gr 4–8—Camper introduces readers to Lupe Impala, Flapjack Octopus, and Elirio Malaria, three friends who love working with cars and dream of having their own garage shop. One day they see an opportunity to achieve their goal—a car competition where the prize is a “carload of cash and a solid gold steering wheel.” When they start working on a lowrider to prepare it for the competition, an out-of-this world journey begins. Through anthropomorphic characters, the author narrates a tale of friendship, teamwork, and the passion for lowriding. She incorporates astronomy to this adventure, providing readers the opportunity to familiarize with terms from both worlds. Raúl the Third’s colored pencil-and-marker illustrations effectively depict images from the lowriding subculture, while including references from Mexican pop culture, such as the iconic comedian Cantiflas and Chespirito’s El Chavo del Ocho. The way he alternates among full-page artwork, spreads, and non-rectangular panels works well with the story and strongly supports its visual understanding. However, although it is true that some Latinos code-switch in their conversation, the use of Spanish words didn’t feel organic to the story. There is also inconsistency in the use of accents, and footnotes that point readers to phrases and word meanings are explained as “nonsense words in Spanish,” when that’s not necessarily the case. Lowriders in Space fills a gap of Latino graphic novels for kids, and its quirky characters and illustrations have the potential to engage children. Let’s hope that future installments will have a more accurate and natural use of Spanish. A helpful glossary of astronomy and lowriding terms is appended.—Sujei Lugo, Somerville Public Library, MA
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:
Camper, Cathy. Lowriders in Space. Illustrated by Raúl The Third. Chronicle, 2014. hb 9781452121550, pb 9781452128696, ebook 9781452130507
This buoyant graphic novel highlights lowrider culture with all the flair the subject deserves. Three eccentrically anthropomorphized animal pals labor under a demanding boss, hoping for the day that they can open their own garage. A contest to find the vehicle with the best detailing seems promising, except for the minor problem [End Page 249] that they don’t even possess a car to make fancy. However, that problem is nothing that an abandoned junker, some cleverly gathered supplies, and a trip through space won’t solve, and the resulting car is truly magnificent. There isn’t much plot in this graphic novel, as it is clear from the start the earnest, cooperative friends will emerge victorious, but it’s obvious that the story isn’t really the point here. The magnificent red, blue, and black pen drawings set against lush, creamy backgrounds make each page individual works of art, the illustrator balancing charm, hipness, and artistry perfectly in the loopy yet stylish car buffs. In addition, the automotive slang and smooth Spanish/English mix are as fun and engaging as the central narrative arc, and the charm even extends to the copious end materials, which include a glossary, artist note, an impeccably edited note about lowriders, and an epilogue. While the author makes it clear that being poor isn’t some sort of magical state of being that inspires happiness, it’s also evident that the one with the most money doesn’t always win the day, and that a community that supports you can compensate for a great deal. It’s not a bad takeaway, and artistically inclined readers will undoubtedly leave not only delighted with the story but also inspired by the artist’s extreme low-tech approach to drawing that produced such impressive results. Review code: R*– Recommended. Gr. 5-9. April Spisak (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, January 2015 (Vol. 68, No. 5))