April 17, 2016

#CanLitChoices: Alternatives for Hatchet

by Gary Paulsen
Bradbury Press
195 pp.
Ages 11+
RL 6.3

Hatchet, recipient of the 1988 Newbery Honor Book and winner of the William Allen White Children's Book Award for 1990, as well as the basis for A Cry in the Wild film, is a favourite novel read by young people across Canada and the U.S. It is the story of thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson who must learn to survive in the northern Alberta wilderness after the pilot of his small plane has a heart attack and dies, crashing the plane.

Themes upon which teachers focus lessons include the following:
• survival (man vs. nature)
• perseverance
• attitude
• fear

But we have a plethora of youngCanLit that can fill the same novel study bill and, of course, I would like to promote them here.  Each one of these deals with the same themes but in different ways and are all the better for the variety of storylines covered.  This listing includes classics and hi-lo reads, as well as middle-grade and YA titles.  There’s something for every reader who wants an adventure story set in the wilderness, many in the wilds of Canada.

Camp Wild
by Pam Withers
Orca Book Publishers
104 pp.
Ages 10-14
RL 3.8
Fourteen-year-old Wilf runs away from summer camp to stay alone in the woods but ends up with a couple of unwanted followers and a fight for survival.
Teachers guide available at http://digital.orcabook.com/teachersguides-campwild-teaching-strategies/

Chocolate River Rescue
by Jennifer Kent McGrath
122 pp.
Ages 8-12
RL 3.9
Three boys rough housing on the ice of the Petitcodiac River in New Brunswick face danger when the ice breaks away, sending them out towards the Atlantic.

Cut Off
by Jamie Bastedo
Red Deer Press
340 pp.
Ages 12+
RL 4.0
Teen Indio McCracken is sent to a wilderness-based rehab camp, which includes a 50-day canoe trip, to help him with his tech addiction.

The Darwin Expedition
by Diane Tullson
Orca Book Publishers
128 pp.
Ages 12+
RL 2.5
After going off run when snowboarding, two boys must deal with an accident, a bear tracking them, impending weather dangers and hunger to survive.

Frozen Fire: A tale of courage
by James Houston
139 pp.
Ages 12+
RL 5.9
Determined to find his father who has been lost in a storm, Mathew and his Inuit friend Kayak brave wind storms, starvation, wild animals, and wild men during their search in the Canadian Arctic.

The Hill
by Karen Bass
Pajama Press
256 pp.
Ages 12+
RL 4.1
March 2016
After a plane crash, a privileged teen is helped by a Cree young man when his decisions have the two pursued by Wîhtiko, the legendary Cree monster.

Island: Shipwreck, Survival, Escape
by Gordon Korman
Scholastic Canada
144 pp., 144 pp., 160 pp.
Ages 8-13
RL 4.6, 4.9, 4.8
Six kids must survive after they are shipwrecked on a deserted island with no food and very few supplies.

Lost in the Barrens
by Farley Mowat
McLelland & Stewart
244 pp.
Ages 12-16
RL 7.1
Jamie MacNair and his Cree friend Awasin are separated from others during a canoe trip to the remote barrens and must find the means to survive the winter in the harsh environment.

by Caroline Pignat
Red Deer Press
206 pp.
Ages 11-14
RL 4.5
In this historical fiction, a young man awakens in the snow, knowing neither his name nor his story but find his way back to himself and survive, with the help of a young Anishnaabeg man.

1 comment:

  1. Another great choice for this list is the middle grade novel LOST IN THE BACKYARD by Alison Hughes, which is nominated for the 2016 Silver Birch Award for Fiction (and actually references LOST IN THE BARRENS several times).