Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Xavier Garza is a prolific author, artist, and storyteller whose work focuses primarily on his experiences growing up in the small border town of Rio Grande City. Garza has exhibited his art and performed his stories in venues throughout Texas, Arizona and the state of Washington. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Xavier Garza is a prolific author, artist, and storyteller whose work focuses primarily on his experiences growing up in the small border town of Rio Grande City. Garza has exhibited his art and performed his stories in venues throughout Texas, Arizona and the state of Washington. His book Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel was a Pura Belpre Author Honor Book in 2012.
"The fluid colloquial English and Spanish and grainy graphic-novel style illustrations executed in acrylics make for an attractive package with definite appeal for boys. This title is sure to become popular." Criticas, starred review "Garza's illustrations are oversized, wildly colored and presented in bold outlines, recalling both Mexican folk art and the rowdy spirit of the stylized sport. They are sure to draw in every wrestling fan under the age of 10." Kirkus "This is a really fun book for little lucha libre fans." -NBC Latino "[An] engaging story Smoothly integrated information in fluid colloquial English and Spanish combines with grainy graphic-novel-style illustrations executed in acrylic to create an oddly compelling and sophisticated package. Certain to be a popular choice." School Library Journal "Recommended! Children familiar with the sport will welcome the vibrant visual paean, while fans of wrestling, comic-book superheroes, and all things pugilistic will wonder where lucha libre has been all their lives. The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "The sport [lucha libre] became 'a poor man's theater,' according to Garza. The masked fighters, known as 'luchadores,' are classified as either 'tecnicos' (working-class heroes who play by the rules) or 'rudos' (bad guys who use dirty tactics to get ahead). It's the classic struggle between good and evil. 'Somehow, in the nick of time, the good guy will triumph,' Garza said. 'And if he doesn't, it's to set up a bigger match down the road.'" Boston Herald Review "Without resorting to the kitsch or comedy that plagues so many other pop portrayals of these masked men, Garza's hyper-exaggerated, vibrant illustrations spring to life from the book's pages and convey an aura of reverence and awe befitting his young protagonist. Carlitos has a blast and, chances are, you will, too. It's the next best thing to having front-row seats for the Friday-night match." San Antonio Current "Garza's excellent contribution to children's literature will definitely introduce new audiences to the fantastic world of lucha libre." El Paso Times "For the kids is the main event, about a youngster whose father takes him to watch wrestling while visiting his big bicep-ed tio Vicente, who suspiciously is never there when the Man in the Silver Mask is For the grown-ups, the story is followed by 'a brief but tremendously exciting history' of lucha libre. Both age groups should appreciate Garza's paintings, with their folk art/street mural vibe, thick line strokes and white-warm colors even if it's for different reasons." Alive Columbus "Narrated by a young lucha libre fan, The Man in the Silver Mask tells the story of a boy's trip with his Papa Lupe to a match. The eye-popping illustrations, by author Xavier Garza, highlight the exciting world of Mexican wrestling where the action is brutal, the crowd goes wild, and real men wear masks." El Paso Inside & Out Magazine "Wrestling matches in Mexico feature good guys (los tecnicos) and bad guys (los rudos). At the match in Mexico City, Carlito wishes his Tio Vicente could be there, but the famous luchador The Man in the Iron Mask has eyes that look very familiar Garza highlights the power of wrestling (Lucha libre) in Mexico, and the mythology of good and evil played out on the wrestling stage." Yellow Brick Road "Xavier Garza tells the story of Lucha Libre, Mexico's freestyle wrestling sport, which mirrors a fight between good and evil. Favorite heroes and feared villains in outrageous costumes wrestle for victory in the wonderful Mexican tale." Teaching Tolerance "[The] dramatic tension is subtle throughout the book, particularly in contrast to the bold illustrations and poster-style design, which are more exciting than the narrative. Garza includes a valuable addendum regarding the history of lucha libre, which is informative without being inaccessible to children." Children's Literature