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Review: Julie of the Wolves

January 2, 2010

Thirteen year old Miyax is an Eskimo girl living with her husband and his parents.  When she finds life with them unbearable, she decides to run away to Amy – her pen pal in San Francisco.  (Amy calls Miyax Julie, hence the name of the book.)  Luckily, Miyax takes some essential items with her, because soon she becomes lost on the frozen tundra.

Through careful observation, Miyax is accepted by a pack of wolves.  With their help and the skills her father has taught her, Miyax survives and comes to love the Eskimo ways.

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George is a beautiful story.  I was engrossed in Miyax’s story and loved reading about Eskimo skills and traditions and their respect and love for nature.  Miyax’s background is filled in with flashbacks and I found her story fascinating.   I always wonder why we think we need to impose our ways on other cultures when I read stories like this.  At first I cringed at the death of animals, but as I read the book, I realized it’s a natural part of life.

Jean Craighead George got the idea for Julie of the Wolves when she was in Alaska researching an article for Reader’s Digest.  She won the Newbery Medal for the book and so many readers wanted to know more about Julie that George has written two sequels – Julie and Julie’s Wolf Pack, both of which I’d like to read.  Unbelievably, this book was one of the most frequently banned books in the 1990’s.

This is my third book for the Shelf Discovery Challenge, and it’s probably my favorite so far.   I think most children, especially those who love animals, will enjoy this book.

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44 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2010 6:33 am

    Being 13 and married is really different and it sounds a bit strange to me… The story sounds intriguing and I will have to look into it. Thanks for the review, Kathy!

  2. January 2, 2010 7:09 am

    I have to read this book. Thanks for the review ..

  3. January 2, 2010 7:43 am

    I remember this title – my kids read it in class while in elementary school. I’ll have to ask my daughter what she thought of it.

  4. January 2, 2010 8:21 am

    I loved this when I read it as a kid! I read a lot of her stuff back in the seventies. I’ve never re-read it but I do remember reading the sequel, Julie, much, much later and not being impressed so I never did read the 3rd one. I think the last two are written quite a long time after the first, aren’t they?

  5. January 2, 2010 8:27 am

    This book was totally off my radar as a child. I guess I was too engrossed in Judy Blume and ghost stories. It sounds wonderful!

  6. January 2, 2010 8:32 am

    This book sounds like one I should have read when I was younger! I can make up for that now. Glad you enjoyed it.

  7. January 2, 2010 8:34 am

    I’ve been wanting to re-read this book as an adult. This, and My Side of the Mountain.

  8. January 2, 2010 8:51 am

    This was required reading for me in the sixth grade and I remember loving it. I really would like to read it again.

  9. January 2, 2010 9:00 am

    I think I read this one but I can’t remember much about it. I also bought it so Booking Daughter and I can read it for SD Challenge.

  10. January 2, 2010 9:16 am

    I loved this book when I was younger. I’ll have to pick it up again when my daughter reads it!

  11. January 2, 2010 9:34 am

    I can’t imagine being married at 13! I’ve never heard of this book, but I’m going to mention it to The Girl since it sounds really good.

  12. January 2, 2010 9:50 am

    OMG, I LOVED this book when I was in elementary school! I was also really into White Fang; I guess I had a thing for wolves and the freezing north!

  13. January 2, 2010 9:57 am

    Why it would be banned is beyond me. This is one of my favorite books by Craighead George and the other two are equally good. She is an author that I have always enjoyed and I love introducing her to students that have an appreciation for animals and wildlife. Great book to review!

  14. January 2, 2010 11:10 am

    This is one of the books that I’ve seen at the summer library for our school district and have heard wonderful things about it. Married at 13 is a hard concept for us to imagine but it is common in ohter cultures. I’ve not read it but I’m adding it to my wishlist as one of my goals is to read more children’s and YA books. Thanks for sharing this Kathy.

  15. January 2, 2010 11:15 am

    Sad to say I haven’t read this book before. I love that the Shelf Discovery challenge gives us an excuse to go back and re-read old favorites and read new books that can become favorites also.

  16. January 2, 2010 11:55 am

    This was one of my favorite books when I was a child. I am glad you enjoyed it, Kathy.

  17. January 2, 2010 12:01 pm

    I’m so glad you liked this one. I bought it for Julie’s challenge and will be reading it soon.

  18. January 2, 2010 12:08 pm

    My boys both read this and I remember my younger one, in particular, really liking it. So much so, that he read the rest of her books.

  19. January 2, 2010 1:02 pm

    I’ll be reading it soon for the challenge too. Can’t wait to see if I can figure out why it was banned!

  20. January 2, 2010 1:14 pm

    I loved this book when I read it as a kid! I am so glad you reminded me of it!

  21. stacybuckeye permalink
    January 2, 2010 2:08 pm

    I never read this one growing up, but it sounds good. If I could quit crying over the death of the animals that is.

  22. January 2, 2010 2:10 pm

    I don’t think I have ever read about Eskimo’s. I would find it really interesting and it must be excellent if the author went on to write two more books.

  23. January 2, 2010 2:17 pm

    such an interesting story line. I love wolves so I’m sure I would enjoy this.

  24. January 2, 2010 2:25 pm

    Figuring out why this book was banned sounds like a great challenge. You’re going to have me reading this book. Great review, Kathy.

  25. January 2, 2010 4:02 pm

    I know a few kids who would probably really enjoy reading this book. I’ll definitely pass the title on to their parents!

  26. January 2, 2010 4:15 pm

    Great review! I think I’d also find this quite intriguing–I know so little about Eskimos! Hard to believe that this book was banned (because of the animal deaths?).

  27. January 2, 2010 4:37 pm

    I like books that give insight into different cultures and the Eskimo are so interesting. I always like their exhibits at the museum. Thanks B!

  28. January 2, 2010 6:05 pm

    It sounds very interesting. I will have to get my hands on a copy and check it out.

  29. January 2, 2010 10:12 pm

    I’d really love to read this one. Thanks for the great review.

  30. January 2, 2010 10:27 pm

    This brings back memories … though I thought it was a different author who wrote it. Maybe I’m not thinking of this book or mixing it up with something else.

  31. January 2, 2010 10:49 pm

    It always amazes me the books I missed out on when I was a kid. I have this title on the kids shelf. I plan to read it one of these days.

  32. January 3, 2010 1:31 am

    great review!… I haven’t read this book since I was a kid… your review reminds me that maybe I should pick it up and use it with my students!

  33. January 3, 2010 10:12 am

    This one–and the sequels–are still my 16-year-old daughter’s favorite books, besides Harry Potter.

  34. January 3, 2010 12:40 pm

    I loved her My Side of the Mountain but I still haven’t read this book. Maybe sometimes this year I’ll get to it!

  35. January 3, 2010 5:39 pm

    Awwww, great series!!! I love these books! I’m going to check out the shelf discovery challenge!

  36. January 3, 2010 9:35 pm

    I wonder why it was banned so many times? I love reading banned books and thumbing my nose at those that would try to limit what we are allowed to read…it’s the rebel in me, I guess! This sounds like a nice story and I wouldn’t mind learning more about Eskimo culture.

  37. January 3, 2010 11:01 pm

    I read this in grade school and really enjoyed it! I don’t remember much about it at all, except that I liked the story. I am not sure why people-in-animal-families stories appeal to kids so much, now that I think about it…

  38. January 4, 2010 6:00 pm

    This sounds like a fascinating book, and I think my daughter would love it as well. Come to think of it, she may already have read it. I will have to ask her. Great review, I’m glad you liked the book so much!

  39. January 5, 2010 10:05 pm

    I haven’t read JULIE OF THE WOLVES, but you’ve convinced me that I should. My son is working with it now, as part of a longer study unit in their 6th grade curriculum. I wonder what he’ll think when I start reading “his” book? 🙂

  40. January 7, 2010 12:10 pm

    I remember picking this book from one of those Schoolastic book club pamphlets when I was a kid – it was surely a good one. Glad you enjoyed it.

  41. January 9, 2010 9:26 pm

    I, too, remember buying this from the Scholastic book club in elementary school back in the late ’60s/early ’70s. My favorite of hers, though, was My Side of the Mountain. I wanted to live inside a hollowed-out tree and own a falcon! 🙂 Thanks for the memories.

  42. January 9, 2010 10:16 pm

    I loved this book, especially reading about how she learned to communicate with the wolves. I didn’t know about the sequels until I was an adult, and I didn’t find them half as good. I really don’t understand why it was banned.

  43. January 12, 2010 1:49 pm

    I think I could spend a year catching up on all the classic young adult novels I’ve neglected to read. I wonder if that’s feasible . . .

    Nice review – thanks for reminding me about this title!

  44. January 21, 2010 8:28 am

    I loved this book when I was younger. I remember reading it over and over!

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