There are a lot of series books written for this age group—11 through 14, because children this age love reading about and developing a relationship with characters through several books. There are series books about horses, about babysitting and about the troubles that some kids have at school. The Wild At Heart series is interesting because it’s about five kids who volunteer to work at a vet clinic—and along the way learn to solve some of their personal problems by helping save animals. Though most of the main characters are girls, there is also one boy.
Written by well known children’s author Laurie Halse Anderson, there are twelve books in the series so far, with several more in the planning stage.
The five kids — Brenna, David, Maggie, Sunita and Zoe — agree to help Dr. Mac during an emergency at his animal clinic. Though the kids have seen each other at school, they don’t become friends until they start working together at the clinic. Then they become a team dedicated to rescuing lost and unwanted animals—sometimes accidentally endangering themselves in the process. Along the way the kids learn to take care of all kinds of animals, big and small, and become advocates for animals when no one else will.
Published in 2007, the first book, Fight For Life, has eleven year old Maggie living with her grandmother and trying to adjust after the death of her parents. When she finds out about a dog breeder operating an illegal puppy mill, she decides to stop him and find homes for the puppies. Along the way her own wounds are healed and she develops a closer relationship with her grandmother and cousin.
In the third book, Trickster, vet volunteer David falls in love with a horse named Trickster when the horse is brought to the clinic with an injured leg. Seen as a goof-off who never takes anything seriously, David wants to ride the horse but no one thinks he can. He takes on the hard and dirty job of cleaning stalls at the owner’s stables while the injured horse heals—planning to prove to the owner – and himself — that he is responsible enough to ride Trickster.