The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Twelve-year-old Matt is left on his own in the Maine wilderness while his father leaves to bring the rest of the family to their new settlement. When he befriends Attean, an Indian chief’s grandson, he is invited to join the Beaver tribe and move north. Should Matt abandon his hopes of ever seeing his family again and go on to a new life?

I got into this phase. I don’t remember when, but what happened was I would just pile up wilderness survival books on my bed and start up on one. Then I’d go the next one. And the next one. Julie of the Wolves, Hattie Big Sky, My Side of the Mountain, Hatchet and The Sign of the Beaver made up most of that pile.

I never really understood it. There was just a sort of thrill in the unknown, an unexpected wonder in learning about survival in the wilderness. All of these books had a sort of explainable writing style that I really enjoyed.  The plot line is sweet, the ending bittersweet. I loved My Side of the Mountain, but I couldn’t accept the ending, so I was really happy when I read this book and the ending was satisfactory. Five awesome reads.

1) Julie of the Wolves by  Jean Craighead George

I actually liked the sequel to this book better than Julie of the Wolves. It had a more satisfactory ending. Julie of the Wolves was an amazing story of what it means to grow up, and it was a great introduction, I just liked the two other books better.

Synopsis: Miyax, like many adolescents, is torn. But unlike most, her choices may determine whether she lives or dies. At 13, an orphan, and unhappily married, Miyax runs away from her husband’s parents’ home, hoping to reach San Francisco and her pen pal. But she becomes lost in the vast Alaskan tundra, with no food, no shelter, and no idea which is the way to safety. Now, more than ever, she must look hard at who she really is. Is she Miyax, Eskimo girl of the old ways? Or is she Julie (her “gussak”-white people-name), the modernized teenager who must mock the traditional customs? And when a pack of wolves begins to accept her into their community, Miyax must learn to think like a wolf as well. If she trusts her Eskimo instincts, will she stand a chance of surviving?

pg count for the paperback: 176

Series: Julie of the Wolves

2) Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

More of a girl book than a guy book. This book is about more of a modern settlement kind of survival, and is a truly heartwarming story. I just recently finished the sequel, Hattie Ever After, and it is a truly worth follow-up to this story.

Synopsis: Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle’s homesteading claim.
For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie’s been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle’s homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends–especially Charlie, fighting in France–through letters and articles for her hometown paper.

Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a “Loyal” American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie’s determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.

pg count for the hardback: 289

Series: Hattie

3) My Side of the Mountain by Elizabeth Craighead George

This was like my dream book, I was completely infatuated with the idea of training a hawk and making friends with animals and such. It’s amazing to read this book, but it’s too bad about the ending. Really happy with the results in the other books though!

Synopsis: Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going–all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land, and grows up a little in the process. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life. But his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger. No reader will be immune to the compulsion to go right out and start whittling fishhooks and befriending raccoons.

pg count for the paperback: 190

Series: Mountain



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