Although looking at our home library may lead to you think otherwise, I do acknowledge that there is such a thing as having too many books. With some guilt, I suspect that we may be closer to that point than not. Despite constant use of the local public library and restricting my own reading to eBooks from the library, I still manage to find books that I cannot resist buying for our daughters. For a while, I tried restricting us to books with strong female characters, but then the Galaxy Zack series ending up being an exception to my rule.
Galaxy Zack series by Ray O’Ryan
At the beginning of the series, Zack and his family move from Earth to Nebulon for his father’s new job at the futuristic tech company, Nebulonics. Zack faces some typical challenges of starting over in a new place: making new friends, figuring out how things work at his new school, trying new foods, and adjusting to new routines. Zack even has to learn new slang (e.g., “grape” is what kids say on Nebulon instead of “great”) and how to greet others appropriately (i.e., making a circular motion with his hand rather than waving). Zack eventually settles in on Nebulon and has some typical adventures there, such as teaching a friend how to swim and preparing for a science fair. Zack joins his school’s Explorer Club, which leads to him having adventures on other planets throughout the galaxy.
The Galaxy Zack books are quick, humorous reads filled with black and white illustrations. They include cool futuristic technology, like foldable hover cars and an IRA (Indoor Robotic Assistant). I appreciate the way that the series tackles issues common in lower elementary school about family, friendship, and school. Life lessons such as the importance of not judging by appearances and how to cope with others that you don’t get along with at first are woven throughout the books in an age-appropriate manner. As a parent, I do wish that there was more of a gender balance in the series. Zack and his friends are boys. Zack’s mother and twin sisters have relatively minor roles. Even a female robot introduced to the household in one of the books causes a lot of problems for Zack. Despite this shortcoming, our daughters have really enjoyed the Galaxy Zack books and are eager to read more of them.
Do you have any recommendations for futuristic, adventure books? Feel free to leave your recommendations!