Synopses & Reviews
Elizabeth Angier was happy to be at the end of the school year. She thought her summer on the family farm would be full of work and play with her best friend, Rachel, and her other best friend, her dog, Maizey. However, Elizabeth didn’t anticipate the Harmony Farms Corporation moving to her town. Her world starts to crumble as her best friend moves away and her parents whisper of farmers selling their land and the effects this factory farm operation could have on them. When she thinks things can’t get much worse, she meets the most unusual creature, Gaia, the living entity of the Earth. Strange things begin to happen to her, around her, and through her! Elizabeth discovers that with these new powers comes responsibility. A dire mistake makes Elizabeth wonder if meeting Gaia has been a blessing or a curse. Will Elizabeth have the strength to fight a large corporation? Or will her upstate New York home be spoiled by profit driven pork production that fouls the air, land, and water?
Kids Bookshelf Review by Christina Lewis:
"Elizabeth was looking forward to spending her summer vacation with her best friend Rachel and her dog Maizey on their farm, Three Oaks Farm. But that all changes when Elizabeth discovers that Rachel is moving away and meets an otter who she can communicate with. Elizabeth learns that the otter's name is Gaia, and she needs help to save the earth. Elizabeth is both excited and frightened when she discovers the power she has to communicate with the earth, but does she have the strength to accept the challenge and drive out the evil forces threatening their farm and community? "Gaia Girls" is a delightful book with a powerful message. Kids will enjoy the mixture of fantasy and environmental concerns. Her relationship with her best friend Rachel seemed to drop part way through the story, and I would have liked some closure or communication between the two friends before Rachel moved away. An exciting story that will get kids thinking about the world around them and how they can make a difference too! (Ages 9-12)."
From Treehugger.com, September 4, 2006
"Following in the vein of Nancy Drew, the Babysitters Club, and, dare I say it, Harry Potter, the Gaia Girls series is the next group to offer heroes battling modern day villains for the kid with an eco-conscience. Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth is the first in the series and establishes Elizabeth, the first character, with the power of "earth" - the ability to work with and command soil/trees/creatures in the soil. Reminiscent of Captain Planet, the other three girls will be endowed with the power of water, air and fire. Each chapter includes great illustrations that help to color many of the scenes that take place.
While the book is a light, fast read, the themes are mature for young readers, and the author does a good job to not sugar coat any of the issues. In Enter the Earth, Elizabeth takes on the issues of factory farms and the loss inherited knowledge as small farms are pushed off of the land due to shrinking profits. Elizabeth encounters Gaia; the spirit of the earth in the body of a cute, waving otter that explains in beautiful detail how everything in the world is connected and why it's so important to take care of the environment. Welles also explains things like organic versus conventional farming and describes the conditions in a factory pig farm."
"While the book is intended for younger readers and is full of whimsical elements, like talking otters, Welles manages to balance the cuteness with frank depictions of factory farming operations. "Enter the Earth" is an engrossing story for all ages." - Chris Oryschack, Collegiate Times
"Despite this book (and the music, secret codes and website) being aimed at a younger audience it does capture adults with all the ease of Harry Potter. I for one will be lining up for copies of the next books." City Hippy.com
"Following in the vein of Nancy Drew, the Babysitters Club, and, dare I say it, Harry Potter, the Gaia Girls series is the next group to offer heroes battling modern day villains for the kid with an eco-conscience. Enter the Earth is a great read." Treehugger.com
"Gaia Girls is a delightful book with a powerful message. Kids will enjoy the mixture of fantasy and environmental concerns. An exciting story that will get kids thinking about the world around them and how they can make a difference too!" —Kids Bookshelf
"Written by summer camp nature director and wellness expert Lee Welles presents Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth, the first novel of the Gaia Girls Book Series. A young girl, Elizabeth Angier, is shocked when the powerful Harmony Farms Corporation moves in and absorbs family farms like those of her parents and neighbors. As the repercussions of the gigantic factory farm loom closer, Elizabeth unexpectedly encounters the mysterious Gaia, the living entity of the Earth itself. Elizabeth receives a gift of Gaia's power, and strange things begin to happen around and through her. But with these amazing new powers come heavy responsibility, and the challenge of taking on a whole corporation and its profit-fueled pork production that befouls air, land and water. Though written for young adults, Gaia Girls is an engaging parable of taking responsibility for one's place on the Earth for all ages." -Midwest Book Review
"Billed as “fiction with a mission,” this well-written supernatural adventure unabashedly seeks to convert young readers to an ecologically green philosophy. Ten-year-old Elizabeth lives on a thriving farm owned by her family since the 18th century.Remarkably attuned to nature, she learns why when she meets a talking otter that claims to be Gaia, the spirit of the Earth. Elizabeth has been chosen as one of four girls to receive powers that will enable her to fight to save Earth from the ravages of humans. She learns how to travel through trees, listen to the voices in the earth and even willfully move the earth. Her battle becomes personal as a corporation begins to buy up the whole area to build a massive and destructive pig farm. When her parents are unable to fight City Hall, Elizabeth realizes that she must use her new powers to save her home.
The author’s easily accessible style fits her target audience well, creating sympathy for the protagonist by portraying common friendship difficulties experienced by young girls. Suspense builds as Elizabeth’s parents fail in their fight, and Elizabeth battles the forces of bureaucracy.
Welles deftly handles the increasing tension while delivering her consistent and persuasive message, presenting an interesting, exciting story. Includes a CD, as well as a puzzle within the chapter illustrations to further engage readers. We eagerly await the next installment in this planned series. (Fiction 9-13)" - Kirkus Reviews
"In a time when more and more of the natural world is being destroyed around us, this book's refreshing message of hope and its gentle call to action is sure to appeal to young environmentalists of all ages." - Marya Jansen Gruber, Through the Looking Glass children's book review
National radio tour, National Whole Foods Markets tour. Interactive website (www.gaiagirls.com) contains puzzles, movie, blog, and tips to help Gaia. Curriculum guide and support materials for teachers.
This first installment of the Gaia Girls series introduces four girls, each from a different region of the world, who are endowed by Gaia, the living organism of the Earth, with powers over one of the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Hidden in the illustrations are codes that readers can use to unlock cool prizes at GaiaGirls.com.
About the Author
Lee Welles is a freelance writer who lives and works in upstate New York. The Gaia Girls series was inspired by her personal experience as a summer camp nature director, her love of the outdoors, and reading about James Lovelock's Gaia Theory. Ms.Welles regularly appears on television and radio as a wellness expert and writes a weekly wellness column.