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Far Northby Will Hobbs
Synopses & Reviews
From the window of the small floatplane, fifteen-year-old Gabe Rogers is getting his first look at Canada's magnificent Northwest Territories with Raymond Providence, his roommate from boarding school. Below is the spectacular Nahanni River — wall-to-wall whitewater racing between sheer cliffs and plunging over Virginia Falls. The pilot sets the plane down on the lake-like surface of the upper river for a closer look at the thundering falls. Suddenly the engine quits. The only sound is a dull roar downstream, as the Cessna drifts helplessly toward the falls . . .
With the brutal subarctic winter fast approaching, Gabe and Raymond soon find themselves stranded in Deadmen Valley. Trapped in a frozen world of moose, wolves, and bears, two boys from vastly different cultures come to depend on each other for their very survival.
Fifteen-year-old Texan Gabe flies north into the wild subarctic of Canada to visit his dad who is working at a diamond mine. A tragic accident leaves Gabe and his roommate Raymond stranded in a remote region of Canada. Raymond is forced to recall the wilderness knowledge that he learned in his youth in order to survive, and Gabe must find the inner strength to save them both after Raymond is injured in an icefall.
After the destruction of their floatplane, sixteen-year-old Gabe and his Indian friend struggle to survive a winter in the wilderness of the Northwest Territory.
About the Author
Will Hobbs is the author of fourteen novels for upper elementary, middle school and young adult readers, as well as two picture book stories. Seven of his novels, Bearstone, Downriver, The Big Wander, Beardance, Far North, The Maze, and Jason's Gold were named Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Far North was selected by the ALA as one of the "Top Ten" young adult books of 1996, and Ghost Canoe received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1998 for Best Young Adult Mystery.
Will's books have won many other awards, including the California Young Reader Medal, the Western Writers of America Spur Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, the Colorado Book Award, and nominations to state award lists in over thirty states. A graduate of Stanford University and former reading and language arts teacher, Will has been a full-time writer since 1990. He lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.
In His Own Words...
"Readers often ask me, "What made you want to write in the first place?" That's easy for me to answer: It was because I loved reading. If you like reading stories, you too might start thinking, I want to try that. I want to write a story!
"I grew up in an Air Force family. We lived in Pennsylvania, Panama, Virginia, Alaska, northern California, southern California, and Texas. I have three brothers and a sister. While we were living in Alaska, I fell in love with mountains, rivers, fishing, baseball, and books. Books I read on my own were always the best part of school for me. I was always going on adventures in my imagination.
"We moved from Alaska to California when I was halfway through fifth grade. I roamed the hills almost every day after school, and in the summers I went backpacking in the Sierras. After graduating from Stanford University, I moved to southwestern Colorado, where my wife, Jean, and I now make our home. We do lots of hiking in the nearby San Juan Mountains. You won't be surprised to learn that I was a reading teacher for many years before I became a full-time writer.
"About half of my ideas for stories come from life experiences, and the other half come from reading, as I learn more about whatever has sparked my interest. In the Grand Canyon one year, we met some rafters from Canada who told us about a remote river they loved called the Nahanni. I found a book on it, and we soon found ourselves heading way up into northern Canada, hiring a bush pilot, and flying in to the Nahanni. A thirteen-day trip on our raft led to months of fascinating reading about the land and people of the Northwest Territories. The result was Far North, set on the Nahanni.
"Learning to write well is like learning to play a musical instrument or a sport. It takes practice and dedication. My big breakthrough was learning to write with the five senses. In the world of the story, both writer and reader are imagining what it's like to be someone else, so you want to let the reader hear, see, taste, touch, and smell what your characters are experiencing.
"When I'm starting a new story, it takes a lot of faith. I'm like a woodcarver staring at a block of wood. It helps me to remember how, in the story of Pinocchio, that block of wood turned into a real boy. If you just keep working, you'll reach a point when the story starts coming to life. That's what a writer lives for! From that point on, you're hearing conversations in your head, you're seeing things happen, and you're just writing it all down."
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