Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Module 4: Julie of the Wolves

Wolf Girl by Nan Lawson


Julie (Miyax) is a young Eskimo girl who flees her home after an arranged marriage goes awry in the form of attempted rape.  Out on the tundra, Julie spends time getting to know a wolf pack and eventually assimilates into their pack as one of their own.  She learns how to survive on her own, and receives assistance from the wolves as well.  She names them and loves them as individual wolves with different personalities and places in the pack.  Originally, she is on her way to flee to California to live with her pen pal, but time passes and eventually she is forced to make the decision of whether to live with her father who had been presumed dead (but is later discovered to be alive and well in another village, and is now a man she does not recognize as the father she once knew and loved) or live alone protecting her wolf pack on the snowy land of Alaska.


Readers who enjoy Island of the Blue Dolphins will also surely enjoy Julie of the Wolves.  Julie/Miyax is a strong, complex character, and the tale of survival alone would be intriguing to readers who wish for independent female protagonists, and the addition of the wolf pack makes the story also about the bonds of friendship and ecological/environmental responsibility.  The story deals with real problems (arranged marriage, rape) so it is not a lighthearted tale.  Readers looking for an emotionally sound and serious read will gravitate to Jean Craighead George's coming-of-age tale.


Julie of the Wolves is #32 in the list of 100 most frequently challenged books: 1990-1999 published by the American Library Association (ALA).

"Gr 6 Up-- When an Eskimo girl runs away from an arranged marriage, she becomes lost on the tundra. Nurtured by wolves, she reexamines her cultural traditions. Childhood marriage and the subtle mention of attempted rape occur in this epic adventure, but readers will focus on Julie's relationship with her wolves, her will to survive, and the wealth of detail provided about tundra mammals and Inuit life" (Reutter, 2004).

"The heroine of George's elegant Newbery Medal-winning book, a young woman running with the wolves long before Clarissa Pinkola Estes came along, 13-year-old Miyax (known as Julie to her pen pal) survives a harsh journey on Alaska's North Slope thanks to her knowledge of Eskimo ways and her ability to communicate verbally and physically with her lupine friends. A sequel called ''Julie'' came out in 1994 and continued her story as she and her wolves adjusted to a world in which the old style of living meets the new. ''Julie's Wolf Pack,'' the second sequel, picks up the trail" (J. D., B., 1997, para 3).


This book is a great book to recommend to readers who enjoy epic adventures of a natural sort.  Readers who enjoy Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Yearling will probably enjoy Julie of the Wolves.  The book may also be a good recommendation for people looking for books that will increase vocabulary and the skill of understanding unknown vocabulary through contextual clues.


J. D., B. (1997). CHILDREN'S BOOKS; Running With the Wolves. New York Times Book Review, 58. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Reutter, V. (2004). Julie of the Wolves (Book). School Library Journal, 50(5), 64. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

1 comment:

  1. I read all of those books as a child! lol, and I loved all of them :)