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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Two sisters were among the first born on Mars. Hellas Planitia is an impact basin that was chosen billions of years after its formation as the location for the first human colony on Mars, called Dawn. This is where the Generation Mars series takes place. In the previous book, Ori and Cas faced a crisis that taught them about the air on Mars and understanding its importance. In Shelter: Generation Mars, Book Two by Douglas D. Meredith, Ori and Cas are back with another adventure that also teaches them a vital survival lesson. The action takes place in the future, with humanity now living on Mars, which immediately establishes a background rooted in this vast landscape. The story centers on two sisters who have grown up being trained to survive on Mars and each book features an important survival element. The opening describes the sisters' experiences while they're in the middle of their Surface Training. When an away mission takes an unexpected turn, Ori and Cas learn the importance of shelter and working together to bring their family back home safely.
Douglas D. Meredith created this series as an introduction to hard science fiction for children. Shelter will engage children in wanting to know more about science, planets, and space, and should appeal to a variety of ages. The vocabulary isn't dumbed down but explained in a manner that makes even the more difficult concepts easy to understand. The attention to detail is precise. Meredith weaves in an undercurrent of longing for earthly things such as wanting to play on the surface, sit and look at the sky, feel the grass, and climb trees. Humor is derived from the way the sisters interact. They may have been born on Mars but they still behave like ordinary kids, such as Ori being excited about working in the crop domes or the two trying to sneak out with a soccer ball to play on the surface. Their relationship is at the heart of the adventure as their love for their family drives them forward and pushes them to be courageous. The illustrations are in black and white which pairs well with the hard science fiction genre and portrays vivid images of the landscape of Mars. This is a great resource for children as it is informative and humorous, with likable characters and an adventure that will spark interest in the genre and a desire to learn about science. Notes are featured after the adventure and include coronal mass ejections, radiation, and gene editing.