By Marissa Wells
Eleven-year-old Eden’s life is upended after she saves a wasp nest from destruction and discovers she can communicate with the queen wasp.
Their conversation leads Eden on an adventure to the Institute of Lower Learning, a secret laboratory devoted to the peaceful co-existence of humans and insects. The institute is full of secrets, too, and 9-year old August, who’s had disastrous encounters with bugs, would like to use them to get rid of all insects.
Will Eden and her insect friends be able to protect the institute? Find out in “The Big Dreams of Small Creatures” by Gail Lerner.
“The Big Dreams of Small Creatures” is Lerner’s first novel and it has been a lifelong ambition for her to write a book for children.
“When I was 10 years old I had a wonderful English teacher who read a chapter of ‘Charlotte’s Web’ aloud to us at the end of class,” Lerner said. “At the end of the chapter we’d all shout, ‘One more chapter!’ Literally ever since then I’ve wanted to write a children’s book that would make 10-year-olds shout ‘One more chapter!’”
“The Big Dreams of Small Creatures” will capture the attention and curiosity of children as each chapter ends in a conflict or cliffhanger.
“My intended audience is third- through sixth-graders and the grown-ups who love reading with them,” Lerner said.
The book sheds light on the relationship between humans and insects as we witness the adventures of Eden, August, Queen Wasp and the brother-sister ant duo. Each chapter is narrated by a different character, which allows readers to hear from different characters’ points of view.
“One thing I love is that, really, the best books make you feel empathy for characters you don’t know,” Lerner said.
It’s Lerner’s hope that her book proves to be enjoyable and insightful.
“I hope that readers will gain more empathy for insects, humans who are different from them, and for the natural world,” Lerner said. “I hope they’ll realize how interconnected we are with the people and creatures around us. Most of all, I hope they laugh.”
In addition to being an author, Lerner is a television and film writer and director. She is based in Los Angeles. For more information about the author and her work, visit gaillerner.com.
“The Big Dreams of Small Creatures” is available for $18.99 (hardcover) via Amazon, Target, and wherever books are sold.