One Book, One City for Kids

One Book, One City for Kids

Read with us!

One Book, One City for Kids is an annual reading program that encourages upper elementary students to read and discuss the same book. The program also helps to develop a lifelong love of reading among school-age readers, to inspire readers to bring story ideas and themes to life through discussion and creative reactions, and to build collaborative ties between public libraries, school libraries, and area schools.

This year’s One Book, One City for Kids selection is Shine On, Luz Véliz! by Rebecca Balcárcel.

About the author

Rebecca Balcárcel loves popcorn, her kitty, and teaching her students at Tarrant County College as Associate Professor of English. She is the author of Shine On, Luz Véliz! and The Other Half of Happy, which was named a Pura Belpré Honor Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and the Best Middle Grade Book by Texas Institute of Letters. Her most recent book, Boundless, is a collection of short stories by multi-racial/multi-cultural authors. Find Rebecca on YouTube where she analyzes literature and chats about writing as the SixMinuteScholar.

You can find out more about Rebecca at and follow her on Instagram at @rebeccabalcarcel.

Listen to the author talk about her book:

What happens in the book?

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' life. 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.

Cover illustration by Caribay Marquina

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Special thanks!

One Book, One City for Kids is made possible thanks to the support of our sponsors.

Book Sponsors: Independent Bank and Missad Foundation

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