Kids love realistic (well, mostly) stories about survival against all odds. It’s what makes Hatchet so wildly popular—and it’s what makes the vast I Survived series such a success. Kids will absolutely devour stories about other children who managed to escape dangerous situations by the skin of their teeth (especially ones based on actual events!). Here are five new stories for readers who can’t get enough of survival stories.
Wildfire, by Rodman Philbrick
With recurrent disasters decimating parts of California, wildfires are on the mind of many readers. The new novel from Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick brings the nightmare to life. Sam Castine’s summer camp is right in the path of the wildfire. As the flames eat at the drought-dry trees, the camp evacuates—but when Sam doubles back, trees fall and block his path to the evacuation bus. Now, there’s nothing to do but run and hope that the fire won’t catch up. This suspenseful adventure novel hit shelves September 3.
Storm Blown, by Nick Courage
What would you do if a hurricane was hurtling towards your island? Storm Blown imagines exactly that. Living on an island, Alejo is used to a little rain—but when people start evacuating, he knows that this storm isn’t like the others. Emily wants to surprise her brother with an adventure, even though he’s trapped sick at home—but when Megastorm Valerie arrives, it’s right in Emily’s path. Can Alejo and Emily survive? Not only is this book perfect for fans of the I Survived series, but it touches on the ever-timely environmental disasters that cause and are caused by extreme weather.
Ann Fights for Freedom: An Underground Railroad Survival Story, by Nikki Shannon Smith
What if the I Survived series focused more on female, historical heroines? That’s what the new Girls Survive series sets out to do. When her family’s slave master decides to sell Ann and her younger brother to different owners, she convinces her family to stay together and flee on the Underground Railroad. Each book in the series—which includes books on the Titanic and the Civil War—includes historical context, discussion questions, and glossaries for those inclined to the historical side.
Bone Talk, by Candy Gourlay
Samkad lives in the Philippine jungle, soon to be a man and desperate to grow up—even as he worries about being taken away from his best friend Little Luki. But when a bad omen sends him in another direction, he meets a new brother, one who warns him of Americans bringing destruction right to his doorstep. Set at the end of the 19th century, Bone Talk is about survival, growing up, and the dangers of colonialism rather than the dangers of nature.
A Grain of Rice, by Nhung N. Tran-Davies
Yen and her family have survived the fall of Saigon, but there’s not much for them under the oppressive Viet Cong government. Ma thinks their best chance of survival is to flee their village in the Mekong Delta and risk it all for a better life. But selling everything they own and traipsing across Vietnam is no easy trip. This hard-hitting, realistic historical novel will appeal to those who love the gritty-but-true settings of the I Survived series.