Wilderness and adventure writer Will Hobbs has a new book out for youth readers titled Take Me to the River. Set on the Texas/Mexico border, it is the story of cousins Dylan and Rio on a rafting trip down the Rio Grande. As the two boys are packing for their trip, six military helicopters fly overhead, reminding the boys of recent trouble along the border. The weather advisory warns of the potential for a hurricane in the Gulf. But the two boys are set on their trip, believing that the odds of border troubles or inclement weather are about as likely as running into other people along the remotest reaches of the U.S./Mexico border. “You may well not see another human being during the duration of the trip,” reads the guidebook. But when a man who calls himself Carlos stumbles into camp asking for help, along with a terrified little boy, Dylan and Rio find themselves embroiled in a far bigger adventure than the one they’d originally planned. This book comes complete with a map of their trip and vivid physical details of the river, which Hobbs has paddled several times himself. The author of 18 books for youth readers, Hobbs has a website with excellent resources for parents and teachers, along with a page for each of his books recounting the real-life adventures that inspire his fictional adventures.
Gary Paulsen, who I’ve profiled in this blog before, is another excellent author for youth readers interested in wilderness adventure. Paulsen is a prolific author, meaning that readers who enjoy his work have a lot of titles to choose from. His latest is Flat Broke. This follow-up to Liar, Liar follows the further adventures of Kevin, a compulsive liar. Since his lies in the last book resulted in losing his allowance, his part-time job, and his baby-sitting money, Kevin is looking for a way to raise funds --- fast. Flat Broke is filled with Kevin’s money-making schemes, including a scheme running poker games, renting his sister out as a beautician, and cleaning his neighbors’ garages for an exorbitant fee. What Kevin doesn’t count on is that his schemes get him into more trouble than his lying ever did. In the spirit of great literary schemers like Tom Sawyer, this new series of Paulsen’s does not have the wilderness appeal of classic titles like Hatchet (Brian's Saga Series #1), but is still a sure-fire hit for youth readers interested in a good scheme.
Jean Craighead George is best known for her Newbery Award-winning book Julie of the Wolves, and for My Side of the Mountain and its two sequels, On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful's Mountain, which chronicle the further adventures of a boy and his falcon. In the final book, Frightful’s Mountain, the falcon Frightful returns to Sam, the boy who raised her, only to be chased away because it’s illegal to harbor endangered species. George’s work has increasingly turned towards work about endangered or recovering species. Her most recent books, including Last Polar Bear and The Buffalo Are Back, are picture books looking at endangered species from two different points of view: those that are still struggling and those that are recovering to return to their place in the wild. Fans of My Side of the Mountain might also like her Pocket Guide to the Outdoors, perfect for reliving Sam’s adventures outdoors, whether it’s as an enthusiastic hiker or someone simply out for an afternoon stroll. With over 100 books to her name, George has a variety of books for all ages and reading levels.
What are your favorite wilderness titles for youth readers?
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