Survival Stories for Young Readers
Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, Julie of the Wolves, Call of the Wild—so many of us have been inspired by these books in our youth, setting out into the wilderness seeking our own adventures. Having recently read My Side of the Mountain, my nine year old has been working on his shelter and fire building skills, with big plans to head out in the spring on his own. He assures me he will return within the year!
We talked to Terry Lynn Johnson, author of some fantastic survival stories for young readers and a survival expert in her own right, for her take on what's so appealing about survival stories.
"I tend to gravitate in my writing toward survival stories in the outdoors because I love the valuable lessons I’ve learned from my own experiences," she told us. "Being in nature has taught me resilience and an appreciation of my own capabilities. Consciously or unconsciously, I believe we are all drawn to wild places. The more kids read about how characters deal with situations, the more they learn. And that offers them a sense of empowerment."
Terry's latest book, Dog Driven, is an excellent example. Here are a few more to check out as well!
Setting out on a dangerous mission with her sled dogs, 14 year old McKenna has entered a race to spread the word about Stargardt Disease, a form of macular degeneration that has blinded her 8 year old sister. Secretly though, McKenna is losing her own vision. Suspenseful and moving, a great survival story that also looks at disability in a thoughtful way.
The I Survived series, favorites of many young people and reluctant readers in particular, these are now being released as graphic novels!
Based on a true piece of history receiving many accolades, Where the World Ends takes place on a small island off the coast of Scotland, where a crew of school boys have mysteriously been abandoned nad forced to survive on the islands nesting birds and their wits. Beautifully prose and reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, I think young people and adults will enjoy this one.
Set during WWII, Jack Baker of Kansas ends up at a boarding school on the coast of Maine where he meets Early Auden, a boy like no others. Each navigating loss, these two are drawn to each other and end up on a quest to find a great Appalachian bear. Nuanced and layered with many stoires, I really enjoyed this book