Luz Sees the Light

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Twelve-year-old Luz is a normal girl, craving ice cream and walking her neighbor's cat to save money for a much-desired pair of shoes at the mall, living in an unnamed city in the present day. But rolling blackouts, the high price of gas, and soaring import costs soon impinge on her happy-go-lucky life, and she decides to do something about it with the aid of her best friend Anika, computer nerd Rob, and hippie survivalist Gord. After learning a hard lesson about the costs of her imported shoes, Luz has a change of heart and gets everyone involved in building a neighborhood garden. Although Dávila's agenda is very clear—teaching kids about sustainable food and the growing costs of energy—she delivers her message with lively, duo-tone cartooning and a likable cast of characters. An epilogue even shows how to compost. As portrayed, Luz is an unstoppable burst of activity; if there were only a way to harness Dávila's drawings of her, all our energy problems would be solved. While a bit more narrative to hold together the lesson might have improved the story, this is still an enjoyable book that should inspire kids to act locally. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
Saving power never seemed that important to twelve-year-old Luz, who likes leaving the television and radio on as she microwaves her favorite brownies. But when a blackout cuts off all the power in her neighborhood, Luz begins to realize how dependent people are on electricity. Things get worse the next day when higher gas prices make it difficult for her mom to drive her to the mall all the time. As Luz learns her neighborhood will experience blackouts regularly, she decides to help provide her neighbors with a way to cut their energy and food costs by turning a vacant lot into a community food garden/park. But no one seems interested in helping out. Can Luz's plan still work? This first book in Davila's "The Future According to Luz" graphic novel series provides several examples of the ways people carelessly waste energy while also revealing possible ways to conserve gas and electricity. Davila even includes a brief section at the end where Luz learns how to make compost. That said, Davila's characters often come off as a bit preachy when they complain about other countries filling their malls and grocery stores with cheap imports. Likewise, Luz's transformation from careless energy-hog to civic minded-environmentalist is remarkably abrupt, while her community park is built in a very short time with hardly any mention of zoning laws or other challenges involved in such a feat. While Davila deserves credit for trying to teach kids about energy conservation and civic minded behavior, her efforts to cram all of these lessons into one story does tend to oversimplify the problems. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
Kirkus Reviews

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)

School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Everyday scenarios teach Luz how to live with less impact on the environment. Her neighborhood experiences blackouts due to excessive electricity use, gas prices are so high that her family has to ride bikes to the mall, and her mother buys local foods at the supermarket to save money. Eventually, the 12-year-old is inspired to turn a vacant lot into a community garden. Though the story is a little didactic, Luz and her friends are an engaging and diverse group (Luz is Latina and her best friend is African American), and the cartoon-style illustrations are drawn with humor. The plain palette of black and paper-bag brown reflects the story's environmental message. This book is a good transitional reader for children interested in activism or the environment.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554535811
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/1/2011
  • Series: Future According to Luz Series , #1
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Graphic designer and children's illustrator Claudia Dávila was born in Chile and now makes her home in Toronto. She was formerly the art director of Chirp and Chickadee magazines.

Graphic designer and children's illustrator Claudia Dávila was born in Chile and now makes her home in Toronto. She was formerly the art director of Chirp and Chickadee magazines.

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