Juan and the Chupacabras

Presented by Megan Nider

Garza, X. (2006). Juan and the Chupacabras. University of Houston: Pinata Books.

Author: Xavier Garza
Illustrator: April Ward
Genre: Fiction
Topic: Fictional Creatures passed down through generations
Awards: Tejas Star Book Award

Grade Level: 2

Kansas Reading Standard:

RL.1.4 – Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

RL.1.6 – Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.


The student will compare the difference between Mexican culture and American culture.


Audio Recording on Sunday night by mnider

Criteria for Notable Multicultural Books

Cultural Character: The characters in this book are dressed in traditional Mexican clothes. Their names, Luz and Juan are common Mexican names.

Diverse Language: The first paragraph on every page is in English and the second paragraph is in Spanish. Readers can see the distinctive vocabulary, style and patterns of speech of the Spanish speaking people.

Illustrations: The illustrations in this book are bright and colorful. When the artist drew the houses she painted items that would be found in a traditional Mexican home. In the painting of the church their is the Virgin of Guadalupe, who would be found in many churches.

About the Book

Juan and the Chupacabras is a book about two cousins who listened to their grandfather tell stories about a scary creature named the Chupacabra. The Chupacabra was thought to have sharp fangs and steal children from their homes. Their grandfather tells of a time when he was face to face with the creature. He is so convincing, the children decide they will hide out in the corn field until the too can see the Chupacabra...

Connection to Students

Ask students to look at the clothes of the characters in the pictures. “What looks different?” “Do they wear different colors?”

Have students brainstorm monsters that children are scared of in America. “What are there names, attributes?”

Haves students share examples of tall tales that are commonly shared in America. (Paul bunyun, etc.)

How to Model to Students

I will model for the students how to read with expression and inflection in your voice. I will read a paragraph out loud without using any expression. Then I will re-read that same paragraph with tons of facial expressions and different voice. I will explain that in order to read with expressions and feelings that match the character, you first have to identify what the character is feeling. Explain to students that before you read something out loud it is a good idea to read through it first in your head so that you understand what is happening in the story. Show the paragraph on page 3 where the grandfather is describing the Chupacabras. “It was huge,” he said, “and I could tell by the way the foul beast was licking its lips with its lizard-like tongue that it was hungry for my blood!” Show students that sense the sentence is describing something ugly you can read it like you are looking at something gross and really disgusted by it.

How to Practice and Increase Mastery of Skill

To practice this skill, I will give students three or four sentences from the book that they will practice reading to their partner with expression. I will walk around and listen to students as they are reading and give pointers to help with inflection. This will give students an idea about how to use expression and also gives them a sneak peak inside the book.

How to apply this skill to increase mastery:

To increase mastery, students will be given a journal prompt about a time they were really scared. Have students write a paragrah describing this event. Then students will practice reading with expression with partners.