I was eight when I first went away to a rustic girls’ camp in Maine. An enthusiastic tomboy with a propensity for climbing trees and building forts, I was completely dazzled by this wilderness escape. At the end of the week I wanted to steal a canoe, row over to the other side of the lake, and live off the land for the rest of my life. Instead I went home and proceeded to obsessively read wilderness survival novels. With The Kings of Summer in theaters, I was reminded of my lingering affinity for classic tales of survival and self-reliance. These are a few of my childhood favorites.5 Wilderness Novels for Your Junior ThoreauClick To Tweet
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen is well known for his outdoorsy children’s novels. In Hatchet, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is stranded alone in the wilderness following a deadly plane crash. With a small ax his only survival tool, he learns to live off the land the hard way. Paulsen also published an alternative reality sequel. Brian’s Winter was written on the premise that if Brian had not been rescued after fifty-four days, he would have had to survive winter in the wild. Hatchet is twenty-six years old now and is a true children’s classic.