Nightlights (Nightlights #1)

by Lorena Alvarez (Author)

Nightlights (Nightlights #1)
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: Nightlights

Every night, tiny stars appear out of the darkness in little Sandy's bedroom. She catches them and creates wonderful creatures to play with until she falls asleep, and in the morning brings them back to life in the whimsical drawings that cover her room.

One day, Morfie, a mysterious pale girl, appears at school. And she knows all about Sandy's drawings...

Nightlights is a beautiful story about fear, insecurity, and creativity, from the enchanting imagination of Lorena Alvarez.

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School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 4 Up-At Sandy's parochial school, her talent for daydreaming, doodling, and wandering doesn't endear her to the strict nuns, whose assignments the girl does her best to avoid. A bit of an outsider, Sandy is delighted when she meets a new friend, a strange, pale girl who gushes over her incredible artwork. As the protagonist's flights of fancy begin to merge with reality, she must save herself and the drawings she cherishes. The balanced, muted hues of Sandy's real world contrast dramatically with the lush colors of her hand-drawn fantasies. Alvarez's artwork is gorgeous, alternating between traditional panels and, in the dream sequences, vibrant spreads that spill from page to page with grace and fluidity. Reminiscent of the charming, cheeky protagonist of Luke Pearson's "Hilda" books, Sandy is a rosy-cheeked, pigtailed delight, solving her problems with cunning and-coolest of all-math. Readers will want to pore over this book and its many picturesque details again and again. Perhaps those who frequently find themselves with their heads in the clouds will see a little of themselves in Sandy, whose power to build new worlds will inspire others to make their own dreams come true. VERDICT How is this not on your shelf yet? Every library should have this gorgeous first purchase.-Abby Bussen, Muskego Public Library, WI © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publisher's Weekly

In a captivatingly eerie graphic novel from Colombian artist Alvarez, a young artist named Sandy finds the refuge of her imagination threatened by a mysterious interloper. For Sandy, it's easy to tap into a magical, Technicolor world of friendly, fantastical beasts-owls, giant octopi, tadpolelike creatures, and more-and those imaginings fuel her drawings. This changes when she befriends Morfie, a lavender-haired child who turns up at Sandy's Catholic school, which is run by strict nuns. Sandy's classmates don't notice Morfie, and when she later appears in Sandy's bedroom, she transforms into a sinister, spritelike creature. She begins to dictate how and what Sandy draws, raising uneasy questions about the way that critical opinions can influence an artist. "Once you realize that you need me to tell you... how brilliant you are... nothing will keep us apart!" the increasingly gruesome Morfie tells Sandy. Alvarez's haunting artwork features coiling plumes of lush colors and Miyazaki-esque beasts that create a sense of brooding melancholy. It's a deliciously hair-raising story that thoughtfully explores themes of isolation, creativity, and how social pressures can encroach on individuality. Ages 9-up.

Copyright 2017 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Colombian illustrator Alvarez has achieved something special and unforgettable with her first authorial outing.
—The Bulletin of The Center For Children's Books, STARRED REVIEW

This delightfully unsettling tale is told with humor and imagination and is illustrated with jewel-like panels and lots of white space. There are rewarding details to be found in every scene, especially in the lush landscapes, both real and imagined, and in the drawings within drawings. [...] Young readers, especially young artists, will gobble this up.
—The New York Times

Nightlights is scary, strange and wondrous stuff, its terror heightened by its luminous, polychromatic beauty.
—The Guardian

Alvarez ability to balance panel and page compositions give the book a pleasing feel, even as she creates tension in various ways.
—Rob Clough's High-Low 

Lorena Alvarez
Lorena Alvarez was born and raised in Bogotá, and studied Graphic Design and Arts at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She has illustrated for children books, independent publications, advertising and fashion magazines. Since 2008, she has been part of "La Procesión Puppet Club", an experimental puppetry group of illustrators and visual artists.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
March 05, 2019
BISAC categories
JUV039140 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
JUV014000 - Juvenile Fiction | Girls & Women
JUV008080 - Juvenile Fiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Fantasy
Library of Congress categories
Graphic novels
Comics (Graphic works)
School field trips
Fantasy comics
School children

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