The first book in The Keepers Trilogy by Jackie French Koller is A Wizard Named Nell. As Janan began reading on her own, I still wanted to find books I could read to her at bedtime. LGRs are children first and Janan still wanted me to read her bedtime stories. So, I had the bright idea of finding books I believed were just above her reading level for that special nighttime ritual.
The premise of the story is the kingdom of Eldearth, which has always been protected by a Wizard of Light, is in jeopardy because the current Wizard is getting too old to keep out the bad guys (sound familiar? This is very similar to the premise of The Fairy Realm series Janan loved so much and seems to be a common Fantasy genre theme.). Of course, in Eldearth, only boys can become the next Wizard of Light (by successfully completing a quest), but Nell is determined SHE will complete the quest and become the first female Wizard of Light in Eldearth's history.
Nell is a strong female character who not only shows drive and passion, but compassion and heart, as well. While I love a good, strong heroine, my favorite aspect of this book became the fact that Nell finds she needs her male counterpart, Owen, throughout the story. Showing a beautiful balance of masculine & feminine energy working together for the greatest good. Because of this, both boys & girls will love this book.
The book is typically rated in the 4th to 6th grade range, but Janan read all three at the age of 5 or 6. Yes, SHE read them. As often happened with many of the bedtime stories I believed I'd discovered (and thought were above her reading level), after about the first or second chapter she would take over and complete them on her own.
This is a trilogy, so for those who find they enjoy A Wizard Named Nell there are two more to follow. The Wizard's Apprentice and The Wizard's Sceptar.
One word of warning! Make sure you have Book 2: The Wizard's Apprentice waiting in the wings, because though you will know Nell completes the quest at the end of Book 1, you don't know if she becomes the Wizard of Light until Book 2!
Janan wanted to ring in on this series! Here's what she had to say:
"I LOVED this book because it had wizards and the author was a very good author. I really like the way she writes."