In Nelson’s (Chrysalis, 2015, etc.) illustrated blend of fact and fable for all ages, children around the world join in meditation and other practices to rescue the Earth from global warming.
Our planet is a living being named Gaia, asserts this book, which embodies magic and can change her shape and size into whatever she likes. Her soul mate is the “great and noble stag Ananda,” another magical being who circles the globe to keep light and dark in balance. But despite their powers, Gaia is currently dying, thanks to climate change—a phenomenon that’s hard to fight due to the political influence of the greedy rich, who include twin brothers Cain and Brutus. They want to drill in the North Pole for the element “technetium,” which magical creatures know as “Mortium, the death element.” Some adults work to defend Gaia, but her “best hope was in the young-ones.” The book then describes some real-life efforts by young people (such as those in the activist group Earth Guardians) to help the Earth and suggests further activities for young readers before turning to the story of five “innocent and kind and good” cousins: Liam, Leora, Arthur, Joey, and Maya. They work together to heal Gaia through such means as imagination, healing intentions, art, and telepathy, which bring in more helpers and eventually spark a Great Healing. By straightforwardly declaring the reality of magic, telepathic powers, and healing thoughts, this book may disappoint readers expecting an approach to combating climate change that’s more grounded in scientific thinking. For example, Nelson explains that cells “somehow communicate with each other” through exchanging “electrical information,” which is true of neurons, but most other types of cells communicate through chemical signals. The book also says that this communication works on an “ever-expanding scale,” such that “Gaia” and possibly the galaxies communicate with humans, but the real difference between cellular communication and human speech is more than one of scale. Also, the story gives up on change through political action as an effective weapon; an important climate accord is reached only through the catalyst of pure-heartedness. Still, Nelson taps into a powerful modern fantasy of saving the Earth, and her hallucinatory, colorful illustrations help tell the story.
A warmhearted, hopeful book that falters on its science.