Finding fiction to enjoy has aways been a challenge for me. Thankfully, that issue didn’t arise while I was reading the first book of Lee Welles’ Gaia Girls series titled Enter the Earth. (Full disclosure: Lee Welles writes for this blog, but I was assigned to review her books before she came on board.) The premise of her series, listed as for ages 9 and up, is as follows:
What would you do if you could hear the Earth asking for help? In the Gaia Girls book series, that is what happens to four girls, each from a different region of the world. They are approached by Gaia, the living organism of the Earth. Each is endowed with powers over one of the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. They must learn to use their powers to help Gaia survive the effects of modern humanity.
The first book centers around a girl named Elizabeth Angier and one very eventful summer at her family farm in New York state. She and the family’s undeniably lovable dog Maizey take on a big business factory farming operation that is trying to buy up all the farms in her town. On top of that, her best friend is moving not only out of town but out of state to Florida. Just as her troubles start to reach their boiling point, Elizabeth is greeted by an eager otter named Gaia who will change her world forever.
Enter the Earth is a quick and enjoyable read that I would recommend to everyone from age 9 to 90. The book has already won two national awards and a new dedicated reader – me (and hopefully you very soon). While the topic of factory farming might seem a bit heavy for young kids to delve into, it is presented in an intelligent and logical way that will appeal to the eager sense of learning that our little ones are blessed with.
At the end of the story, a collection of word finds and illustration puzzles are included, along with discussion questions for you and your kids to ponder together. Poised to be the eco-Harry Potter or a New Age Babysitters’ Club, the Gaia Girls series is off to a very noteworthy start.
[This post was written by Victoria Everman.]