by Scott O'Dell Year Published: 1971
The Newbery Medal winner for 1961, this book could be seen as a precursor to Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (see below). Karana is a 12-year-old Native American who refuses to abandon her 6-year-old brother when her island, Ghalas-at (off the Southern California coast) is evacuated. Shortly thereafter, he tragically dies after being attacked by wild dogs, and Karana begins her solitary wait for a ship to come for her. She waits 18 years. Karana survives by foraging, fishing in the ocean, defending herself from wild dogs and elephant seals, and hiding from the Aleut tribe. Told from her point of view, we share the details of her day-to-day life, watch the days turn into years, and wait for the ship to carry her off her lonely island. O'Dell based this novel on an actual historical figure, known as The Lost Woman of San Nicolas, who lived on the island from 1835-1853.
by Gary Paulsen Year Published: 2007
The story is about Brian, 13, and how he manages to survive 54 days in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Brian was flying to visit his father when the pilot dies of a heart attack in mid-flight. Brian crash lands the plane into a small lake and swims out of the wreckage. He has his clothing, a tattered windbreaker and a hatchet (a gift from his mother). The novel takes us through Brian's days, how he learns patience through his experiences with failures and small successes: building a fire, fishing and hunting, making his shelter a safe one. He endures a porcupine attack, a tornado and being utterly alone for almost two months. This is a tale of adventure but, more importantly, it is a tale of character growth.
by Jerry Spinelli Year Published: 1990
A homeless orphan becomes a legend in a town divided by racism in this sometimes funny, sometimes moving, always exciting story. Jeffrey Magee's exploits may have made him famous, but reconciling a town filled with hate and finding a decent life for himself may be more than even he can manage.
by Curtis, Christopher Paul Year Published: 1997
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.