Recipes for Blended Cultures

Keka Novales, The Hickory Creek wife/mother/author spends many hours with Lola, a fictional second-generation Latin American young girl, as she navigates the “firsts” of growing up.

“Lola’s story came to me when my first daughter was born,” Keka said. “Being an author was always my dream. As years went by, Lola was never far away. I wanted to show my kids that if you work hard, dreams do come true!”

A lot was happening in Keka’s life. She constantly moved with her family, from Guatemala to South Carolina, then to Kansas, and later to Florida. Her husband’s work moved them from one state to another. It seemed packing and/or unpacking became the primary focus of her life until their third child was born.

“It becomes much more difficult to move when you have children,” Keka explained. “We came to Texas and started putting down roots.”

And finally, Lola came to life.

¡Hola, Lola! is an early chapter book series about a second-generation Latin American girl and her exciting experiences at a new school, making new friends, visiting family in Guatemala, and many more adventures. Readers will love meeting Lola, her family, friends, and stories focusing on family, heritage, and cultural exploration.  And, yes, there are gentle lessons to learn.

“My goal was to create stories that celebrate family and heritage while at the same time promoting kindness,” Keka said. “I also wanted to capture the magic grandparents bring to children’s lives, which is why Lola’s grandmother, Abuelita, plays such an important role.”

Lola and the New School highlights Lola moving in the middle of a school year. Abuelita convinces her she can conquer anything. With the love and support of her family, she can adapt and make lasting friendships at a new school.

Bad Luck Lola brings out Lola’s fears of common bad luck superstitions – black cats, broken mirrors, walking under ladders – and explains how her own negative thinking creates her dark moments. In Guatemalan Summer, Lola shares her summer visit to Guatemala to learn about her heritage and finding her place. Dance of the Feathers focuses on being comfortable in our own feathers/skin.

“Kindnesses, no matter how small, can truly change the world!” Keka added.

Keka poured her heart, soul, and natural bent for kindness into Lola. She hopes to share the series’ launch with as many people as possible on August 1 at Patchouli Joe’s Books and Indulgences in Denton at 4:00 p.m. The books also will be available in stores and online on August 1. For more information about the author visit



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