A high-energy consciousness raiser, if not a practical guide to environmental issues and action. (Graphic novel. 8-10)

LUZ SEES THE LIGHT

A young eco-activist spreads the word in this message-driven webcomic spinoff.

Showing a realistic 12-year-old’s reluctance to change her ways and expectations, Luz at last sees the environmental light thanks to repeated large-scale power failures and her mother’s continued complaints about the prices of gas ($7.01 Canadian, which puts this story in a very near future) and of groceries that aren’t locally made. With help from friends like her comically high-strung new buddy Robert, a vegetarian and computer geek, and other neighbors, Luz goes on to convert a littered empty lot into a tidy, well-tended pocket garden/playground. Though the dialogue is anything but natural-sounding (“Good-bye, trash-infested lot, hello plant paradise! This is going to change the face of our street forever!”), Luz’s infectious energy comes through strongly both in her tendency to utter grand pronouncements and in the exuberantly exaggerated body language she and the other figures display in the author’s two-color cartoon scenes. Analytical readers may wonder where Luz gets all the free planters and playground equipment, or how she kept her mother in the dark until the park was a fait accompli—but internal logic takes a back seat here to inspirational rhetoric and the rewards of community organizing.

A high-energy consciousness raiser, if not a practical guide to environmental issues and action. (Graphic novel. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55453-581-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more.

LONG DISTANCE

After moving to a new city, a girl attends a wilderness camp to help her make new friends.

When astronomy-obsessed 9-year-old Vega’s dad Wes gets a new job, the family moves from Portland to Seattle. Vega is not happy about this change and doesn’t want to leave her best friend behind, worrying they will grow apart. Vega’s dad Javi thinks making new friends will help her adjust, so he signs her up for Camp Very Best Friend, which is designed to help introverted local children build new friendships. Vega is not exactly eager to go but makes a deal with Wes, agreeing to try out camp as long as he tries to make a new friend too. It quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary outdoor adventure, and Vega and her fellow campers try to figure out what is really going on. The story smoothly incorporates STEM facts with insets on the page to define and highlight terms or tools. An unexpected twist toward the end of this fast-paced adventure that reveals the truth behind the camp will surprise readers. The clean, bright artwork is enhanced by panels of varying shapes and clear, easy-to-follow speech bubbles. Race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are not explicitly addressed; characters’ names and physical appearances indicate a broadly diverse cast starting with brown-skinned Vega and her two dads.

A classic story of outsiders making friends—with a little something more. (Graphic fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5566-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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NIGHTLIGHTS

When a young girl’s imagination and creativity are co-opted by a mysterious new friend, she must find a way to regain what is rightfully hers.

Sandy is a brown-skinned, dark-haired girl with big black eyes and a vivid imagination. At night, as she goes to sleep, she catches the lights bobbing about in her room and turns them into anything she imagines. The next day is spent drawing the fantastical creatures from her dreams, much to the detriment of her schoolwork. When a tall, pale-skinned girl with purple hair befriends her, Sandy is excited, though there is something eerie and unsettling about her new companion. Her excitement soon turns to anger as Morfie enters her imaginative nighttime world and tries to take it over. Readers will cheer at the clever way in which Sandy regains control. Using a lovely palette that includes a liberal amount of rich, dark purple, Colombian-born Alvarez has drawn a world that harks back to her native Bogotá and days in Catholic school, evoking it in wonderful detail and atmosphere. Her pages are not crowded yet are filled with details that will engage readers. The beings that inhabit Sandy’s nighttime world are simply delightful. The album size, cloth spine binding, and spot gloss on the cover are the icing on the cake of this beautiful graphic novel.

A winner. (Graphic fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-910620-13-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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