Hello, readers! Today I’d like to introduce you to a middle grade girl whose story I cannot wait to read! Leonora is the star of A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano, which is coming out in January from Walden Pond Press! Her story will be the first in the “Love Sugar Magic” series, which sounds almost as delightful as the thought of spending the afternoon in a bakery with no budget.
Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.
Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.
Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.
And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?
Hello, Leonora! Welcome to the blog! For our readers hoping to learn about you, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
Hi! Um, okay, I guess my name is Leo, or Leonora, or Little Leo, or Cucaracha if my sister Marisol is calling. I’m almost twelve, I have four older sisters (it sometimes feels like too many!), and my family runs a bakery. It’s called Amor y Azúcar Panadería, and it’s really good; if you’re ever in Rose Hill, Texas you should definitely stop by. We also add some special magic to our baking, but don’t go telling everything that. It’s at least sort of a secret.
Your family is all about baking! What is your favorite baked good to eat?
That’s not fair! I like all of them! But I guess if I have to pick, I really like both making and eating puerquitos (some people call them marranitos), which are brown pig-shaped cookies that taste kind of like gingerbread (but they’re made with piloncillo, not ginger). Also I can make them fly, which is a pretty cool spell if you ask me.
What is your favorite thing to make?
Oh no, I already answered this one! Except Mamá would probably say my favorite thing to make is mischief…
Did you believe in magic before you found out your family was magical?
Definitely! I always tried to use my magic powers to turn my sisters (well one sister in particular) into a toad, and things like that, but it never worked. Actually, I should check if there’s a spell for that…
If you had a free day with nothing to do, what would you do?
I like reading and visiting my friend Caroline (now that she moved back from Houston) and playing on her trampoline. But I never really have a totally free day, because I have to keep studying both magic and baking so I can be the best baking bruja in the world!
If you could spend a day with someone you admire (alive, dead or fictional) who would it be?
I would really like to spend a day with my Abuela. All my sisters got to know her better than I did, and even though she hangs around as a ghost, I don’t get to talk to her very much.
What talent would you most like to have?
That’s a hard one, because I already have the coolest talent in the world! I would like to know what my special birth power is, though–everyone in my family gets one, but usually not until we’re older, which stinks!
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I had to write this question for school once! I said I would straighten my hair to be easier to deal with (like my sisters’ hair), but then the boy next to me said he would change to have x-ray vision and I realized that worrying about my hair totally ruined my chance for superpowers! So now I decided that I like my hair just the way it is. But I guess now I sort of already have a superpower, so maybe I should work on telling fewer lies.
What do you always keep with you?
Mamá would want me to say that I always keep my family’s love with me, but if you mean like a bracelet or necklace or lucky rock something, I don’t have anything like that. My friend Caroline has lots of bracelets and rings, but that’s because she says they’re as good as fidget spinners for keeping your hands busy (she needs that or else she bites her nails).
If you were in need of comforting, what would be the best thing that someone could do for you?
Tell me the truth and not treat me like a baby. And maybe give me a cookie.
What is your most treasured possession?
It’s not *really* mine, but my family has an old recipe spell book that I sort of borrowed. It shows the history of my family and their spells, and someday I can write my own recipes in it and be part of the chain.
If you could tell the whole world one thing about yourself, what would it be?
That someday soon I’m going to be the best bruja the world has ever seen.
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