1 of 2
Xavier Garza's first book was “Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask,” published in 2005.
2 of 2
Unlike the U.S. versions of wrestlers, the luchador in Mexican culture is a more revered figure.
Superman, Batman, and Spiderman all conjure images of superheroes fighting supervillains. Children want to be them, and who can blame them? However, many children (and those who are young at heart) in Latin communities have a slightly different hero — in the form of the luchador (wrestler). Unlike the U.S. versions of wrestlers, the luchador in Mexican culture is a more revered figure. When one mentions Mil Mascaras, El Blue Demon or El Santo, quite often they aren’t thought of for their in-ring prowess; they are instead seen as protectors of the meek.
Rio Grande City native Xavier Garza, who defines Lucha Libre as “the theater of the poor,” takes the romance of the Luchador a step further. Since his first book published by Cinco Puntos Press in 2005, “Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask,” Garza hopes to bring the same magic he saw when he was a child.
While he has written other books focusing on folklore of the South Texas region, it is the “Lucha” books that define him and excite young readers of all backgrounds. Garza often hosts library readings all over Texas. Garza’s “The Great and Mighty Nikko! A Bilingual Counting Book” was featured in the New York Times Book Review of important children’s picture books. When asked why the Luchador connects with his readers, Garza states that he feels it’s the fact that the Luchador without his mask is just like us, his true power lies in the secret identity. With the mask on “…they have bigger-than-life stories in their movies and when they're wrestling in the ring.”
His current book series, which explores this secret identity angle, has received numerous awards, including the 2014 Texas Institute of Letters Children’s Book Award. This series is especially important to Garza as the main hero, Maximilian, is inspired by his son. The third installment of the book “Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club” came out in October of this year.
Garza’s books can be purchased in any book store and amazon.com.
By Mary Ann Escamilla