August 25, 2009

Jean Craighead George

Jean Craighead George's best known work is Julie of the Wolves, the story of an Inuit girl who is accepted by a pack of wolves when she gets lost on the Alaskan tundra. The winner of the 1973 Newbery Medal, the book is a perennial choice on school reading lists. But did you know that Ms. George has written other novels? Among them are two sequels to Julie of the Wolves.

Julie's decision to return to the modern world and live with her father is not an easy one. Her father has forsaken many of the Inuit ways, and worst of all, he will shoot Julie's wolves if they threaten the village industry, the musk ox. In this book, Julie tries to remind her father of the connection between animals and humans, the old ways and the new, and people with each other.

Kapu is the son of the wolf leader Amaroq, whose pack saved Julie's life. Amaroq was killed and Kapu became the new leader. In this captivating tale, Ms. George introduces the reader to the world of wolves.

Thirteen-year-old Billie Wind does not believe in the legends of her Seminole ancestors, especially their belief in talking animal gods. As punishment, she agrees to spend two days and a night alone in the Florida Everglades. When she is trapped by fire, the days turn into weeks. To survive, she befriends an otter, a baby panther, and a turtle and realizes that the animals do talk, in their own unique ways. More importantly, she learns to listen to the Earth. Published in 1983, Jean Craighead George's message of environmental awareness is still relevant today.

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