One crazy (not so little) book that takes you to the 1940s and shows us how fashion caused a riot. Or more accurately, the fact people wore something “different” and were “different” and the prejudices against being different caused people to cause a riot.
Lizard in a Zoot Suit shows the layers of events that would lead to the events that would lead to the real-life Zoot Suit Riots. The fact there is a disguised Lizard creature trying to help two sisters when they find themselves in trouble, is an afterthought. Twin sisters Flaca and Cuata, are opposite in every way. Flaca loves a good fight, Cuata loves fashion and hopes her mother doesn’t see how short she’s rolled up her skirt. But when the two get in the middle of history and a being from underground helps, things get out of hand and both girls are thrown in the middle of loyalties, friendship and trying to stop the men from hurting their new friend.
The things the Mexican community in Los Angles endured during World War II is at the heart of things, but the real message is how we fight for each other, how we overcome our differences and how family is everything.
The idea of “different” and “fear of that” and racism come together in the simplistically drawn graphic novel by Marco Finnegan. They wanted a piece of his families and communities’ history shown and does this with realism and fantasy. This is an intense story covered by a seemly “innocent” theme (a lizard person trying to hide from the government and Navy) but is much more. An afterwards by the author/illustrator shows his inspiration and the history of the Zoot Suit Riots.
Find Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle if you want a story that focuses more on the riots and history itself.