My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
There are two gifts I would like to give my children. One is a love of reading and the second is a love of nature. What better way to do that than great stories about children making it on their own in the wild? Books about survival in nature are great because they inspire kids’ imagination, while encouraging them to learn more.
Like Ronia the Robber’s Daughter and Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain is another great book about a kid living off of the land. Published in 1959 and the recipient of a Newberry Honor, this book has a timeless quality that holds up 50 years later. It is ranked as a 6th grade reading level, but will appeal to strong younger readers as well. It is not a fast paced adventure, but it is interesting with lots of detail about animal, seasons and nature. For example, Sam manages to capture and train a falcon to help him hunt – something he learns from the library. I think this book is perfect for thoughtful children who like learning about how things work. If you are going camping or think you will be spending time in nature soon, this is a great book to get your child excited about your trip. If you are not planning any nature trips soon, I strongly encourage you to read, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv and join the “No Child Left Inside” movement.
– Jessica Wheeler