This month Julia K, our young on-the-farm correspondent, read a new book by Lee Welles. This is her review.
By Lee Welles
Reviewed By Julia Krusenbaum
A novel for ages nine and up.
Gaia Girls Enter the Earth is an extraordinary novel that takes place in the beautiful hills of Avon, New York in modern day. Nine year old Elizabeth Angrier's life seems to be headed downstream faster than Sing Song Creek (a creek on Elizabeth's farm).
To make matters worse, in the midst of her confusion her best friend is moving to Orlando, and her own farm is in danger because of factory farms moving in the area. These factory farms believe that money is the satisfaction of life. But living on a family farm, Elizabeth knows that there is much more to the satisfaction of life…something better.
"Harmony Farms'" factory farming method is to put many animals in a small barn. Elizabeth's family disagrees with this method because they believe that animals belong outside and need space to stay healthy. So when Elizabeth hears about "Harmony Harms" and their theory, nothing seems worse. Her best friend gone? Her farm gone? Elizabeth's farm had been in the family for many generations and she was proud of that. Her farm is a home to her as well as many animals and earth beings. It's all she has known. The soil is in her blood. What will she do? What can she do?
In the middle of this crisis Elizabeth meets Gaia, a talking otter. She soon discovers that Gaia is more than a talking otter—Gaia is the being of the earth. Gaia teaches Elizabeth to listen—to listen to what the earth has to tell you. Sometimes she gives the best advice. Gaia has come to help Elizabeth save her farm and also to get help from Elizabeth to save the earth, because the citizens of the earth had stopped listening and stopped taking care of her. Gaia gives Elizabeth many powers to help save her farm, but will it be enough to outdo backhoes, bobcats and other polluting machines that are used to transform farms?
Personally this book has taught me to listen to things that you can't hear unless you are open to believing in. In our rushed lives, no one takes the time to stop and listen to the most important messages of the earth. This book shows how important that is. I think Lee Welles not only wanted to write an enjoyable book to read, but to help people understand three important things:
As a great writer, Lee Welles was able to make these messages clear as well as tell an exciting story! This book will keep you flipping pages!
"The earth is speaking to us, but we can't hear because of all the racket our senses are making, sometimes we need to erase them—erase our senses, then maybe the earth will touch us, the universe will speak, the stars will whisper."
Visit www.gaiagirls.com for puzzles, video, the author's blog, special events and more.
It's not just for big people anymore. Learn more about Earth Day and kids at www.earthdinner.org
Farm Fact: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hog, chicken and cattle waste has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Organic farmers take care of their land and animals to keep the water clean.