In their debut picture book, Frederick Luis Aldama and Chris Escobar invite young readers along on the adventures of Chupacabra Charlie, a polite, handsome, and unusually tall ten-year-old chupacabra yearning for adventure beyond the edge of los Estados Unidos. Little does Charlie know when he befriends a young human, Lupe, that together, with only some leftover bacon quesadillas and a few cans of Jumex, they might just encounter more adventure than they can handle. Along the way, they meet strange people and terrifying danger, and their bravery will be put to the test. Thankfully, Charlie is a reassuring and winsome companion who never doubts that he and Lupe will return safely home. With magical realism, allegory, and gentle humor, Aldama and Escobar have created a story that will resonate with young and old readers alike as it incorporates folklore into its subtle take on the current humanitarian crisis at the border.
by Jon Theiss
Frederick Luis Aldama is the Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin & Affiliate Faculty in Radio-Television-Film. He is founder and director of UT Austin’s Latinx Pop Lab. He is also Adjunct Professor and Distinguished University Professor at the Ohio State University.
Aldama is the award-winning author, co-author, and editor of 48 books, including The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie and International Latino Book Award and the Eisner Award-winning Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics. The Spanish version along with the animation adaptation of The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie drops August 2021.
Aldama is creator of the first documentary on the history of Latinx superheroes in comics (Amazon Prime). He is editor and co-editor of nine academic press book series as well as editor of Latinographix, a trade-press series that publishes Latinx graphic fiction and nonfiction. He is contributing writer and for Latinx Spaces where he regularly writes on Latinx comics, TV, and film as well as features his “Mighty Peter & Professor Latinx” popcast with Peter Murrieta. At the “Professor Latinx YouTube Channel”, Aldama regularly produces popcasts that feature scholars and creatives. Aldama has interviewed the likes of Jaime Hernandez, Ho Che Anderson, Anthony Mackie, and America Ferrera (forthcoming).
While at the Ohio State University, Aldama held a joint appointment in English and Spanish/Portuguese, as well as faculty affiliation in Film Studies and the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. He was recipient of the Rodica C. Botoman Award for Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring, the Susan M. Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award, Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, Ohio Education Summit Award, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Outstanding Latina/o Faculty Award, Emerging Community Engagement Award, City of Columbus Diversity & Outreach Award, and Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award.
This fall 2021, Aldama’s introduction “Marvel’s Voices: Making Home, Making Community” will appear in Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades. In spring 2022, Aldama will publish another children’s book, With Papá, illustrated by Nicky Rodriguez.
About the Author
Frederick Luis Aldama
About the Illustrator
Chris Escobar is a chaotic neutral half-goblin from the Midwest, he occasionally writes in third person. He is an illustrator, print maker, and cartoonist that enjoys anything art related. Currently he is based in Savannah, GA.
“As with the vast majority of Aldama’s writing, the story centers on and gives agency to the Latinx experience.… Aldama and Escobar have created a vibrant, exciting, and thought-provoking book that will bring joy to children of all cultures and experiences.”
- Daniel A. Olivas, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Reads like a classic folktale. Escobar’s hauntingly surrealistic ink-and-watercolor illustrations carry readers along as Charlie searches for a purposeful “quest” and for acceptance.…Readers learn that children of all backgrounds—creature and human alike—are the same inside, an idea that transcends societal boundaries and promotes world peace.”
“The adventure Charlie and Lupe embark on is a timely and courageous one as it addresses the migration crisis on the border and the imprisonment of children.”
- Kirkus Reviews
"Promising to be the first of many adventures, Chupacabra Charlie shines a light on a most relevant topic, family separation. Aldama and [illustrator Chris] Escobar offer a tool to talk to children about this crucial issue naturally and tactfully, while instilling in young readers the notion that everyone can do something to help."
- Latino Book Review
- Latinxs in Kid Lit
"This young readers’ book is refreshing in the way it incorporates life at the border, through bilingualism and storytelling rooted in Latin American traditions such as Realismo Mágico."