Julie of the Wolves
by Jean Craighead George
Her English name is Julie Edwards. Her Eskimo name is Miyax. She was brought up in the traditional ways of an Eskimo hunting camp. She was uprooted at age nine and sent to an English-speaking school. She was married at thirteen to a dull-witted boy in the city of Barrow at the northern tip of Alaska. And now she has run away, hoping to catch a boat from Point Hope to San Francisco, where her pen-pal lives.
But Miyax soon finds herself lost in the Arctic wilderness. Lost and starving. Her traditional upbringing on an island in southwestern Alaska did not fully prepare her for survival inland, north of the Artic Circle. When we first meet Miyax, she has already pinned her hopes to a pack of wolves. If she can get them to accept her as a member of the pack, she may survive.
As Miyax falls in love with a wolf puppy named Kapu, you will fall in love too. As she weathers the long winter night, you will shiver with her. As she faces the menace of a lone wolf, you will feel her tension. The beauty of a life eked out of one of the harshest environments on earth will reveal itself to you. The tragedy of such a way of life becoming a lost art form will move your heart. In language at one time rich and simple, naturalist and Jean Craighead George - author of many pieces of environmental fiction - will captivate your imagination.
Except perhaps for its confusing and slightly disappointing ending, I was completely convinced by this winner of the 1973 Newbery Medal. The book is as old as I am, but it speaks to themes that are on people's minds today. And the unfulfilling ending may result from the fact fact that this is the first book in a trilogy, continuing with Julie and Julie's Wolf Pack.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 10+
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