1973's medal winner, Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George, while not my favorite by the author--that is still My Side of the Mountain, which was a Newbery Honor book--this book was great. We follow as Miyax (Julie is her English name, Miyax is her Eskimo name) flees a marriage (at age 13!) and heads out into the tundra, making her way south with the hopes of eventually reaching San Francisco. Her survival is based on befriending a pack of wolves and her survival skills--passed down to her by her father. Along the way are many cool hunting and gathering sequences and a run in with a wolverine and a bear! Miyax (aka Julie) is a total badass, strong female character--Moms out there, I hope you're listening!
The story held some surprise twists--like the END!--and overall was a fun and fast read. Would I recommend it? YOU BET! And not just to girls, I think this book offers enough adventures and is well written enough that boys would enjoy too. I just really loved that George made Miyax/Julie saw a strong and independent character! Gah! How did I never read this book as a kid?
Age: Amazon lists 13+, but I would say mature 10+.
I am guessing it is aged higher because 1. George, being herself a naturalist, uses one scene in particular to show the negative effects of hunters on animals and the food chain--this is a very Sarah Palin Alaska shooting at wolves from a plane scene.
2. There is a very short scene that alludes to Miyax nearly being raped by her "husband" (also a 13 year old boy). It is vaguely described and if I read this book when I was 10/11yrs. old, I think I may have missed that entirely.