George Lopez’s new novel features comedy and chupacabras in rural New Mexico

The new release Chupa Carter is a mid-level adventure story set in rural New Mexico and written by comedian George Lopez and Ryan Calejo.

In Calejo, originally from South Florida, New Mexico’s beautiful and varied landscapes make it the perfect setting for kids to let their imaginations run wild.

“It was like there was magic in the land and in the air there,” Calejo said. “It was palpable, which I guess explains why New Mexico is rightly called the Land of Enchantment. It’s not just the scenery that makes New Mexico so awesome, at least why we wanted to situate the history there, it is also its cultural diversity.

The book features comic illustrations by Santy Gutierrez and features a character, Jorge, who has more than a little in common with George Lopez.

The story follows 12-year-old Jorge, unhappy at being sent to live with his grandparents in a fictional town in New Mexico. But Jorge quickly befriends a lost chupacabra, Carter. The chupacabra and Jorge, dressed in converse, face dangerous mythical creatures and an even scarier college principal.

“George and I are super excited just to really inspire kids to believe that anything is possible. One of the most important messages in the book is that we don’t want kids to feel like people’s opinions are at their subject really had power over them,” Calejo said.

The book focuses on the life-changing power of friendship and how friends can help you feel grounded in a new school or town. It also encourages children to realize that they are bigger than their doubters.

“Jorge feels like a lot of the adults he meets only see him as a troublemaker and sometimes that makes him act like a troublemaker and for Carter the chupacabra, who is our other main character, he knows that the whole world sees him as a monster,” Calejo said.

“He worries that the opinions of others have slowly started to shape the opinions of himself. The message we want kids to take away is don’t live up to people’s expectations of you, but live up to your own expectations. We wanted children to realize that they are bigger than their doubters. They can come from anywhere and rise above everything.

George Lopez’s voice comes through clearly in the dialogue, and it’s no wonder, since many of the stories come straight from his childhood.

“A lot of times George will remember a hilarious story from his childhood, and we will heed it. So a lot of situations or funny things his grandparents tell him are real things his grandparents told him. or situations he remembers when he was little. He has a lot of George in there.

Besides creating some good jokes, the book also required a lot of research online and at the library.

“To me, a lot of these stories are like cultural time capsules,” Calejo said. “They’re like a culture wrapped in history and they give us incredible insight into what our ancestors believe and stuff like that, so I like to be as authentic as possible with those.”

Lopez was one of Calejo’s heroes growing up. Seeing him tell jokes on TV made Calejo want to get up and tell jokes in class when he was in middle school, and sometimes his teachers even let him.

“I wanted to be a comedian and it was George who inspired me to do that. It kind of goes back to that representation thing, watching him on TV was kind of like watching a member of my family and his success really got to me. inspired to dream bigger.

Chupa Carter is the first in a series of four books that follows the adventures of Jorge and his friends. The upcoming book will feature a city mystery that revolves around a pinata.

Calejo is also the author of Charlie Hernandez seriess.

Irene B. Bowles