Agentes Secretos

Book Title Agentes secretos y el mural de Picasso
(Secret Agents and the Picasso Mural)
Author(s) Mira Canion
Illustrator(s) Mira Canion
Other Contributors David Bruce Bennett, Yajayra Barragan
Published by Self published
Genre Historical Fiction, Mystery and Adventures, Folktales and Legends
Publication date 2017
#Ownvoices N/A
From the author/publisher’s website

Total Word Count
No info

Illustrations                    YES 
Glossary                          YES  
Guiding Questions       NO  
Context                            YES  

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders


Social classes
Middle Class
Sexual Orientation



Family Structures

Body Type

From the author/publisher’s website 

Pablo Picasso’s mural Guernica is on display at the 1937 International Exposition. Both sides of the Spanish Civil War quickly realize that the painting contains clues to the whereabouts of the supernatural Spear of Destiny. Its occult power can change the outcome of the Civil War, just as it has done in other battles throughout history. As Paula’s imagination begins to decipher the hidden symbols, Francisco Franco’s secret agents are not far behind her. They are ready to capture the Spear at the most opportune moment, convinced that impulsive Paula will betray her quest for the Spear.

To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

The illustrations are photographs of France and Spain taken by the author and do not contain the characters. 

We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?
This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Teaching Tolerance


Agentes secretos y el mural de Picasso is a story about two secret agents Paula and Luis in search of the Spear of Destiny, around France, Pamplona, and Barcelona, Spain. This spear is thought to have special powers and whoever holds it gains great power. Two groups of secret agents are in search of the Spear, Javier and Mario (working for Francisco Franco) and Paula and Luis (working for the father of Luis).

It is an easy level reader based in Spain (Pamplona and Barcelona), and Paris, with mentions of cultural products and places such as Picasso’s Guernica, the Spear of Destiny, Las Ramblas, Sainte-Chapelle, among others. All of these cultural landmarks are tied together throughout the story in a creative way. The photographs help the reader create a mental image of the different settings of the story. Since the book focuses on Spanish landmarks, the teacher has the opportunity to expand on deeper cultural practices.

3.18.2022 We previously identified the examples below as language imperialism.  By nature, authors of comprehensible readers create texts that maximize comprehension of the language for language learners whose first language is English, and this can result in unintended language imperialism when the author’s native language is not Spanish.  We acknowledge that this is a complex concept and that there are many forms of expression among speakers of any language – what appears to function as language imperialism to one individual may not to another for various reasons.  We are looking forward to growing our understanding of this concept through future research and dialogue.

There are examples of language imperialism. On page 37 and 38, it says, “De repente, el coche de Paula salta de la calle.” This could mean that the car jumps from the street, however, “saltar” is not a common word used in this context in Spanish. Also, on page 30, “Javier dice a Paula” should be “Javier le dice a Paula”. We also see this at the end of page 30 and the beginning of page 31 “La princesa dice a Paula” should be “La princesa le dice a Paula”. 

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