Happy New Year! I thought I should kick 2021 off by reading the new American Girl book “Kira Down Under” since we are mostly staying at home these days. A fictional trip to Australia sounded pretty good! Of course there will be no spoilers in this blog post.
Kira’s first book is set after the Australian wildfires that occurred at the beginning of 2020. The book also acknowledges COVID. I would say it imagines Kira being able to travel to Australia this past summer, even though I doubt that was possible. Wearing masks is mentioned and I think this is a great way for kids to see their current world reflected in fiction.
The book has glossy paper and includes color illustrations of the main characters as well as a map of the wildlife rescue center. I was glad to see this back in the AG books because illustrations are a great way for young (and older!) readers to better understand what they are reading.
Kira’s personality is “be prepared” — maybe a little too prepared because she is fearful about bad things happening. Other characters help to remind her that she can’t stop some bad things from happening, and in life we need to practice strategies for seeing the good all around us. A great message for anyone.
At the end of the book there is a non-fiction article with photos about a girl in Australia whose family has a koala rehabilitation facility. Additionally, Erin Teagan, the book’s author, has an article about her trip to Australia to gather material for the book. I was impressed she spent time at a wildlife sanctuary to really capture the work that goes on there.
I hope if you are spending some time on the couch this winter you’ll consider this book. It offers a lot for kids and adults!