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City of Light, City of Dark
illus. by Brian Floca
Scholastic, 1993
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City of Light, City of Dark

Sarah has been told falsely that her mother died. Carlos can’t understand why an old blind man is so interested in a subway token he’s found. Together, Sarah and Carlos discover the truth: The evil Mr. Underton was blinded by Sarah’s mother eleven years ago when he tried to steal the token that’s the source of power for New York City. If the token isn’t delivered to safekeeping each December 21st, the whole city will freeze.

Behind the Book

Avi writes: Comic books—these days we call them graphic novels. As a kid I bought them, traded them, read them, and beyond all else, loved them. My favorite was Captain Marvel (Shazam!) and the whole Marvel Family—Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr., and even Uncle Marvel. Created by C.C. Beck, they were clever, witty, and full of great characters, like the evil Mr. Worm—a real worm!

Years later, when I had written a novel that did not quite work, it occurred to me it could work as a comic book. City of Light, City of Dark, is the result. Creating it brought me in contact with the gifted illustrator Brian Floca, who, as the years went on, has become the illustrator with whom I’ve most enjoyed working. When we worked on this book we lived in the same town, Providence, Rhode Island. We would meet every week or so, to develop the book. It took a long, long time.

Awards and Honors

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, 1993
One of the Best Children’s Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly, 1993
New York Public Library, Books for the Teen Age, 1994


“… Avi and Floca dynamically convey a timeless tale of good versus evil. Brilliantly parodying the superhero cartoons of old, this … is sure to be a hit with reluctant readers and advanced readers alike.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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