Chronicle Books Shine On, Luz Veliz!
Chronicle Books Shine On, Luz Veliz!

Shine On, Luz Veliz!

By Rebecca Balcarcel


Publication Date: March 26, 2024

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Ages 8 to 12

A beautiful coming-of-age story for fans of Front Desk and Merci Suárez Changes Gears, this award-winning book celebrates identity, language, heritage, family, and the determination to follow one's own inner light. Now in paperback!

Have you ever been the best at something . . . only to lose it all?

Luz Véliz is a soccer star—or rather, she was a soccer star. With her serious knee injury, it's unlikely she'll be back on the field anytime soon. But without soccer, who is she? Even her dad treats her differently now—like he doesn't know her or, worse, like he doesn't even like her. When Luz discovers she has a knack for coding, it feels like a lifeline to a better self. If she can just ace the May Showcase, she'll not only skip a level in her coding courses and impress Ms. Freeman and intriguing, brilliant Trevor—she'll have her parents cheering her on from the sidelines, just the way she likes it.

But something—someone—is about to enter the Vélizes' lives. And when Solana arrives, nothing will be the same ever again.

Unforgettable characters, family drama, and dauntless determination illuminate Luz's journey as she summons her inner strength and learns to accept others and embrace the enduring connection of family. Through it all, Luz's light is a constant—a guide for others, a path forward through the dark, and an ineffable celebration of her own eternal self.

FAST-PACED FAMILY DRAMA: Fast-paced, deeply felt, and with all the high highs and low lows of adolescence, this story is downright fun—a page-turner even while it's dealing with serious issues.

WHO AM I?: This book grapples with a topic so many young people deal with daily: one's relationship to heritage and culture. Luz confronts her ties to her home country, the place of her father's birth, and her family itself in a thoughtful, emotional journey filled with humor, urgency, and grace.

CODING IS COOL!: Coding is a language many kids enjoy learning and are encouraged to master. The way this book frames coding and computer programming as an opportunity for communication, bonding, and building fun, practical skills will speak loudly to kids already interested in the field while also resonating with those who aren't.

AN ALL-AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: This is an important book for its thought-provoking, empathetic look at immigration in the United States and how the threat of deportation informs the experiences of some of our country's most vulnerable communities. With lyrical prose, deeply felt characters, and a relatable story, Shine On, Luz Véliz! adds substantively to our fraught discussion about immigration and opens it to young readers.

AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR: Rebecca Balcárcel won the Pura Belpré Author Honor, which recognizes literature for children or youth that best portrays the Latino cultural experience, for her first book, The Other Half of Happy. Shine On, Luz Véliz! was a finalist for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Golden Kite Award, a 2023 Rise Booklist Honoree, winner for Best Middle Grade Book from the Texas Institute of Letters, and more. Balcárcel is a beloved presence in the children's literature community and is making her mark as a writer to watch.


Perfect for: Kids who love reading about complex relationships Kids who love coding Parents, teachers, and librarians seeking engaging middle school novels and STEM books for kids Fans of The Other Half of Happy Fans of Pam Muňoz Ryan, Meg Medina, Rebecca Stead, Kelly Yang, and Kwame Alexander

About the Author

Rebecca Balcárcel’sdebut novel, The Other Half of Happy, is a Pura Belpré Honor book and was named a Booklist Top 10 First Novel for Youth of the Year and an ALSC Notable Children’s Book. She currently serves the students of Tarrant County College as associate professor of English and lives in Bedford, Texas. Find her on YouTube as the SixMinuteScholar.

Format: Paperback

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Publication Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9781797227757

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