Julie of the Wolves By Jean Craighead George

October 12, 2008
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George is an exciting book full of adventure, survival, and the deep friendship between a girl and her wolves. Jean Craighead George has written numerous books for children, many of them award-winning. Julie of the Wolves, her most successful book, was published in 1974.

Julie of the Wolves is the story of a young Eskimo girl who runs away from her immature husband in a prearranged marriage. Heading toward her pen pal in San Francisco, she gets lost in the immense Alaskan Wilderness and has to live off of the land, just as her ancestors did many years before. With her sleeping skin, sewing needle and knife, she starts off toward Point Hope in order to catch the ship to San Francisco.

Miyax, a young Eskimo girl, takes center stage as the protagonist of the story. It is love, loss and everything in between as Miyax travels through the fierce Alaskan wilderness with some help from a kindly wolf pack led by the majestic wolf, Amaroq. As a reader, one gets to see all of their adventures, but also one sees their conflicts. These conflicts include the character vs. character aspect of Miyax vs. Jello, the outcast wolf, and the conflict of Miyax vs. herself to trust her father’s teaching and keep on trying to ask the wolves for food because, “Wolves are brotherly.”

This amazing story, with Miyax’s ingenious Eskimo ways of survival, sparks the reader’s interest. It draws them into the story making them not want to put the book down saying, “What will Miyax do next?” The story also has a great theme of trust because she had to trust the wolves to bring her food and not turn on her. The wolves also needed to trust her to not hurt them like many other humans hurt wolves.

Readers will find this book very thrilling and enjoyable because of the many adventures of Miyax and stories like, “Grizzly!” or her days at “Seal Camp,” but most of all, the reader will absolutely enjoy the feeling of being in a different, interesting culture like that of the Eskimos in this story. There are many differences between the culture of America and the culture of the Eskimos in Canada and Alaska. Especially interesting are all the things that Miyax can think to do that we wouldn’t even dream of doing, like the time she froze wet clumps of grass to make support beams for her tent.

Readers twelve and older will enjoy this adventurous page turner. Within the main conflict of Miyax vs. Nature, Julie learns to live along with nature instead of defeating it. This is a great book because of the fun feeling one gets while reading this fantastic story by Jean Craighead George.

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