Author: Claudia Davila
Illustrator: Claudia Davila
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: August 2011
Genre/Format: Realistic-Science Fiction/Graphic Novel
GoodReads Summary: Change is in the air. Power outages are increasing, and gas prices are soaring. At first, 12-year-old Luz balks, hardly thrilled by the prospect of actually having to walk to the mall. But Luz doesn't mope for long. After all, her name -- pronounced "loose" -- means "light." Soon, this intelligent and spirited chica begins to understand that she must change with the times. As food prices rise, Luz decides to help create a more self-sustainable community by transforming a run-down city lot into a garden where she and her neighbors can grow their own fruits and vegetables. But when she solicits help from her friends -- boy-crazy Anika and computer-whiz Robby -- they think she's a little loco. Luz pedals her idea on the street, but the community is equally dismissive. Can Luz pull off her plan and help change her world alone? This graphic novel is a kid-friendly take on sustainable living in a fossil fuel?dependent world. Preteens will love the fearless, fiery and resourceful heroine and will find inspiration in her efforts to steer her society toward self-sustainable living. Hip and energetic illustrations bring Luz and her world to life in a jazzy, appealing fashion, and a bonus chapter teaches kids how to make garden compost.
What I Think: I have a feeling kids would enjoy this book because of the characters and how the illustrations are engaging. The illustrations truly bring this book to life. The definitely remind me of Raina Telgemeier's illustrations. I could see Luz being friends with the girls from The Babysitter's Club books and graphic novels. It's interesting to see this set in a near future and to see what that might look like if we aren't careful!
I've never seen the word "didactic" used so many times in reviews on GoodReads. So many people were negative about this book and it makes me sad. Honestly, I can see how someone might think this book does get preachy and it does have a motive to send a message to kids, but isn't the message being sent an important one? I say bravo to Luz and Claudia Davila! I'm an adult so I would be curious what kids think of this book, but I think there is a nice mix of talking about the environment while telling Luz's story about what she learns about how she lives her life, to her relationship with her friends (new and old). I hope you read this book and give it a chance. Keep an open mind about the message it is sending to kids - it's a good message, and it's told in a fun way through the graphic novel format - let's encourage kids to read this and decide for themselves.
Read Together: Grades 5 - 8
Read Alone: Grades 5 - 8
Read With: Babysitter's Club Graphix (graphic novels) by Raina Telgemeier, Smile and Drama by Raina Telgemeier, Babymouse (series) by Jenni and Matt Holm.
Snatch of Text:
Visit the Kids Can Press page for Luz Sees the Light for more samples.Mentor Text For: Expository, Persuasive, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write about something you have decided to do or not do to help protect the world - then write a persuasive essay to convince others to try it, too. Write about a time in your life when you had to make a big change - what encouraged you, what helped you get through it, how did you feel about change?
Topics Covered: Integration - Science, Global Warming, Being Green, Friendship, Family, Love, Determination, Hard Work, Community, Multi-Generational
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