Synopses & Reviews
Julie of the Wolves
in this middle grade novel that follows orphaned twelve-year-old Nika and her seven-year-old brother Randall as they leave a California foster home to visit a long-lost uncle in the wilderness lake country of Northern Minnesota. A phone call from their uncle sets them on a journey in a small floatplane over the thick green forest canopy, to spend the summer on a wilderness island. Nika, of all people, knows not to get her heart set on anything, but as she follows her uncle in his job studying wolves, Nika stumbles upon a relationship with an orphaned wolf pup that makes her feel — for the first time since her mother died — whole again. Here in these woods, with this wolf, none of the hard things in her past can reach her.
With vivid details about wolf behavior and a deep sense of interconnectedness with nature, this captivating first novel illuminates the intricacies of family while searching for the fine balance between caring for wild animals and leaving them alone.
"Debut novelist Carlson-Voiles renders Nika's emotional turmoil and moral dilemmas with gentle, compassionate strokes. Even the least wilderness-savvy readers will be drawn into the breathtaking landscapes, the human-to-animal relationships and the gradual evolution of Nika's new family. While evoking the girl-wolf-hunter triad of Jean Craighead George's 1973 Newbery Award-winning classic, Julie of the Wolves, the author brings enough of her own experiences with animals and troubled young people into the story that it feels like nonfiction. A little gem of a book for all wild-hearted lovers of the natural world."--Kirkus,
"Carlson-Voiles skillfully folds in generous quantities of information about wolf behavior and issues between wolves and humans . . . A tale with plenty of appeal for animal-rescue fans."--Booklist
"The wealth of information about wolf development and the rescue and care of wild creatures will appeal to budding naturalists, while the vivid, kid-accessible descriptions pack a strong emotional punch."--Bulletin
"Should appeal to all rugged individualists who dream of escape to the forest."--The New York Times Book Review
Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods--all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.
"An extraordinary book . . . It will be read year after year."
--The Horn Book
Hatchet meets Julie of the Wolves in this captivating middle-grade novel about the wilderness lake country of northern Minnesota and the rare bond between a 12-year-old foster girl and an 11-day-old wolf pup.
About the Author
Polly Carlson-Voiles says this novel, her first, grew out of several things: her longtime love of the wilderness country in northern Minnesota, her experiences with wolves at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota, and her career of working with lost and found children as a secondary special ed/English teacher in inner city Minneapolis. She lives with her husband and dog near Ely, Minnesota, high on a ridge across the lake from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, where on lucky nights they listen to the music of the wolves.