Julie of the Wolves

Julie of the Wolves

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by Jean Craighead George
     
 

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Faced with the prospect of a disagreeable arranged marriage or a journey across the barren Alaskan tundra, 13-year-old Miyax chooses the tundra. She finds herself caught between the traditional Eskimo ways and the modern ways of the whites. Miyax, or Julie as her pen pal Amy calls her, sets out alone to visit Amy in San Francisco, a world far away from Eskimo culture…  See more details below

Overview

Faced with the prospect of a disagreeable arranged marriage or a journey across the barren Alaskan tundra, 13-year-old Miyax chooses the tundra. She finds herself caught between the traditional Eskimo ways and the modern ways of the whites. Miyax, or Julie as her pen pal Amy calls her, sets out alone to visit Amy in San Francisco, a world far away from Eskimo culture and the frozen land of Alaska. During her long and arduous journey, Miyax comes to appreciate the value of her Eskimo heritage, learns about herself, and wins the friendship of a pack of wolves. After learning the language of the wolves and slowly earning their trust, Julie becomes a member of the pack. Since its first publication, Julie of the Wolves, winner of the 1973 Newbery Medal, has found its way into the hearts of millions of readers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This Newbery Award Book winner is the story of a young Eskimo who runs away from an arranged marriage and survives on the tundra through the nurturing of a wolf pack for many months. The book ends with Julie's return to her father and home. When the author was a nature writer for Reader's Digest, she went to Alaska to do a story on wolves, then a burgeoning new field of study. "I was fascinated and even communicated with one of the reluctant female wolves. What an experience!" It was also on that trip that she met Julia Sebevan, the woman on whom she modeled Julie, who told her much about the old ways of the Eskimos. It was George's first-hand experiences with the wolves and her admiration of the elder society that became the foundation for the book.
Carolyn Phelan
In this story, which picks up precisely where Newbery Medal winner "Julie of the Wolves" ends, Julie must find her own path between the Eskimo ways she loves and the modern world that intrudes on the tundra. As the book begins, Julie decides to live with her father and Ellen, her new "gussak" (non-Eskimo) stepmother. Although Julie initially refuses to speak English or let Ellen know she understands it, she lets down her guard and befriends Ellen when she comes to respect her. Fittingly, that scene takes place during a blizzard as Ellen and Julie help a musk ox give birth to a calf. And the wolves? Close by, members of the wolf pack that saved Julie's life in the first book pose a threat to the herd of musk oxen that represent financial security and continued existence to the Eskimo village. Throughout the book, Julie feels a strong conflict with her father, who would shoot the wolves to protect the herd. Yet it was her father who taught her to live by the old ways of the Eskimo, represented by the wolves roaming free on the tundra. To her credit, George does not try to repeat the survival journey of "Julie of the Wolves" in its sequel. Although Julie travels with the wolves again in part of the book, this novel is a survival story only in the broader context: can the old ways survive the encroaching modern culture? An unusually fine sequel.
SLJ.
“Protected by a wolf pack while lost on the tundra, a 13-year-old Eskimo girl begins to appreciate her heritage and the oneness with nature that modern man is destroying. This 1973 Newbery Medal-winning book is compelling. . . . A thrilling adventure story.”
The Horn Book
“The whole book has a rare, intense reality which the artist enhances beautifully with animated drawings.”
ALA Booklist
“The evocatively written, empathetic story effectively evokes the nature of wolves and dramatizes how the traditional Eskimo way of life is giving way before the relentless onlaught of civilization.”
Boston Globe
“It is a book anyone who loves the outdoors will find hard to forget.”
New York Times
“[Jean Craighead George’s] novel is packed with expert wolf lore, its narrative beautifully conveying the sweeping vastness of tundra as well as many other aspects of the Arctic, ancient and modern, animal and human. It is refreshing to see the Arctic well portrayed through a woman’s eyes.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606036993
Publisher:
Demco Media
Publication date:
09/01/1974
Series:
Julie of the Wolves Series
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Julie of the Wolves


By Jean Craighead George

Thomas T. Beeler Publisher

Copyright © 2004 Jean Craighead George
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1581181213

Excerpt

Chapter One

Miyax pushed back the hood of her sealskin parka and looked at the Arctic sun. It was a yellow disc in a lime-green sky, the colors of six o'clock in the evening and the time when the wolves awoke. Quietly she put down her cooking pot and crept to the top of a dome-shaped frost heave, one of the many earth buckles that rise and fall in the crackling cold of the Arctic winter. Lying on her stomach, she looked across a vast lawn of grass and moss and focused her attention on the wolves she had come upon two sleeps ago. They were wagging their tails as they awoke and saw each other.

Her hands trembled and her heartbeat quickened, for she was frightened, not so much of the wolves, who were shy and many harpoon-shots away, but because of her desperate predicament. Miyax was lost. She had been lost without food for many sleeps on the North Slope of Alaska. The barren slope stretches for two hundred miles from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean, and for more than eight hundred miles from Canada to the Chukchi Sea. No roads cross it; ponds and lakes freckle its immensity. Winds scream across it, and the view in every direction is exactly the same. Somewhere in this cosmos was Miyax; and the very life in her body, its sparkand warmth, depended upon these wolves for survival. And she was not so sure they would help.

Miyax stared hard at the regal black wolf, hoping to catch his eye. She must somehow tell him that she was starving and ask him for food. This could be done she knew, for her father, an Eskimo hunter, had done so. One year he had camped near a wolf den while on a hunt. When a month had passed and her father had seen no game, he told the leader of the wolves that he was hungry and needed food. The next night the wolf called him from far away and her father went to him and found a freshly killed caribou. Unfortunately, Miyax's father never explained to her how he had told the wolf of his needs. And not long afterward he paddled his kayak into the Bering Sea to hunt for seal, and he never returned.

She had been watching the wolves for two days, trying to discern which of their sounds and move ments expressed goodwill and friendship. Most animals had such signals. The little Arctic ground squirrels flicked their tails sideways to notify others of their kind that they were friendly. By imitating this signal with her forefinger, Miyax had lured many a squirrel to her hand. If she could discover such a gesture for the wolves she would be able to make friends with them and share their food, like a bird or a fox.

Propped on her elbows with her chin in her fists, she stared at the black wolf, trying to catch his eye. She had chosen him because he was much larger than the others, and because he walked like her father, Kapugen, with his head high and his chest out. The black wolf also possessed wisdom, she had observed. The pack looked to him when the wind carried strange scents or the birds cried nervously. If he was alarmed, they were alarmed. If he was calm, they were calm.

Long minutes passed, and the black wolf did not look at her. He had ignored her since she first came upon them, two sleeps ago. True, she moved slowly and quietly, so as not to alarm him; yet she did wish he would see the kindness in her eyes. Many animals could tell the difference between hostile hunters and friendly people by merely looking at them. But the big black wolf would not even glance her way.

A bird stretched in the grass. The wolf looked at it. A flower twisted in the wind. He glanced at that. Then the breeze rippled the wolverine ruff on Miyax's parka and it glistened in the light. He did not look at that. She waited. Patience with the ways of nature had been instilled in her by her father. And so she knew better than to move or shout. Yet she must get food or die. Her hands shook slightly and she swallowed hard to keep calm.

Miyax was a classic Eskimo beauty, small of bone and delicately wired with strong muscles. Her face was pearl-round and her nose was flat. Her black eyes, which slanted gracefully, were moist and sparkling. Like the beautifully formed polar bears and foxes of the north, she was slightly short-limbed. The frigid environment of the Arctic has sculptured life into compact shapes. Unlike the long-limbed, long-bodied animals of the south that are cooled by dispensing heat on extended surfaces, all live things in the Arctic tend toward compactness, to conserve heat.

The length of her limbs and the beauty of her face were of no use to Miyax as she lay on the lichenspeckled frost heave in the midst of the bleak tundra. Her stomach ached and the royal black wolf was carefully ignoring her.

"Amaroq, ilaya, wolf, my friend," she finally called. "Look at me. Look at me."

She spoke half in Eskimo and half in English, as if the instincts of her father and the science of the gussaks, the white-faced, might evoke some magical combination that would help her get her message through to the wolf.

Amaroq glanced at his paw and slowly turned his head her way without lifting his eyes. He licked his shoulder. A few matted hairs sprang apart and twinkled individually. Then his eyes sped to each of the three adult wolves that made up his pack and finally to the five pups who were sleeping in a fuzzy mass near the den entrance. The great wolf's eyes softened at the sight of the little wolves, then quickly hardened into brittle yellow jewels as he scanned the flat tundra.



Continues...


Excerpted from Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George Copyright © 2004 by Jean Craighead George. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jean Craighead George wrote over one hundred books for children and young adults. Her novel Julie of the Wolves won the Newbery Medal in 1973, and she received a 1960 Newbery Honor for My Side of the Mountain. She continued to write acclaimed picture books that celebrate the natural world. Her other books with Wendell Minor include The Wolves Are Back; Luck; Everglades; Arctic Son; Morning, Noon, and Night; and Galapagos George.

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