Julie of the Wolves

by Jean Craighead George

Paperback, 1974



Local notes

PB Geo




Trophy Pr (1974), Edition: First Harper Trophy Edition 1974, 170 pages


While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack.


Original publication date


Physical description

170 p.; 6.7 inches

Media reviews

With all due respect for Jean Craighead George, I humbly would not recommend the book to be put on school shelves. I know it is hard work to write books, but when misinformation about the Arctic are numerous, one must say something about the book.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ctpress
Julie/Miyax is a 13 year old eskimo orphan who runs away from an “arranged” marriage with the son of a drunkard. Her plan is to travel to her pen pal’s family in San Fransisco. She ends up lost in the Alaskan tundra with very little food and no shelter. Then she befriends some wolves and by
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mimicking their behaviour is being “adopted” as one of the flock, which enables her to survive.

The novel’s overall theme is that of cultural identity. Is she Julie, the name the white people give her? Or is she Miyax, the Eskimo girl of the old ways? So in two ways Miyax is lost. Can she find home and a home?

The journey in the tundra is one thing, the inner journey another - and in the last respect it’s way harder to find a compass.

The novel reminded me of Jean Craighead George’s "My side of the Mountain" - (I liked that one better) although in "Julie of the Wolves" much more is at stake and it’s a more serious novel.

Winner of the Newbery medal - 1973 and in "1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up" - very good narration by Christina Moore.
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LibraryThing member cltnae
What I thought: I read this book when I was younger and enjoyed it very much. I liked reading how Miyax was able to stay alive by following a wolf pack. In the story she tries to talk to the pack leader whom she has named Amaroq to try and get him to help her. This book is a story of survival and
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life without any help other than a pack of wolves that barely aknowledge that she is there. She learns from them and tries to make her way back to civilisation. This book is very engaging, when you read it you feel like you are making the journey with Julie. I thought it was a very interesting story.

Summary: Julie of the Wolves (HarperClassics) by Jean Craighead George (1972) A young girl Miyax is lost in the wilderness of Alaska. She follows a pack of wolves to stay alive so that she may find her way either back home to her husband or to the future she could have in the United States. Miyax has to make a decision to go back to the life that she had with her husband, or go back to the life she had in the United States as Julie. She has to make it on her own out in the wilderness of Alaska.

Classroom Extensions:
1) I would read this book to my class during our reading time. After I would finish for the day I would ask my students to write down how they feel about the story so far, and what they think will happen next in the story.
2) I would have them do a story map every day that the book was read so they could look back on what they wrote later.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
I loved how Miyak learned to "talk" wolf and was accepted by the wolf pack. I loved how she learned to use the skills she had to survive and to thrive in the wilderness. I ached for her conflict - white ways vs. Eskimo ways. And in some ways that conflict exists for all children growing up to be
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adults - the conflict between idealism and pragmatism. Beautiful writing, especially when describing the wolves. I kept thinking the title wasn't right - she wasn't Julie. But the ending made me re-think that.
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LibraryThing member goodnightmoon
While awkwardly worded at times, this book was touching and thought-provoking. Julie's attempt to balance Eskimo and American lifestyles was fascinating and horrifying. The ending was quite the twist - I didn't predict that last chapter at all. I would recommend it to mature middle schoolers.
LibraryThing member missmichelle
Age Appropriateness: Middle School
Genre: This book takes the reader into the Alaskan Eskimo culture and is therefore a Multicultural book. However, this book would be classified as a historical fiction book because it takes place in the 1970s and accurately depicts the Alaskan wilderness and what
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it was like to be an Eskimo back then, Julie is a fictional character, yet she is very plausible and experiences real situations, such as hunting to survive in the wilderness and sticking with the Eskimo traditions.
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LibraryThing member mariah2
Julie, or when she goes by her Eskimo name Miyax, is a young Inuit girl, that ends up running away from her husband to escape a marriage she was not interested in. Her intention was to go to San Francisco to move in with her friend Amy. After spending some time in the Alaskan tundra she finds her
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true path, and it turned out it was not the path to San Francisco. Miyax learns the language of the wolf, and is adopted by a pack that is lead by a wise wolf she named Amaroq. The Wolf pack had saved her life on several occasions, and she was able to return the favor. This was a great story about self reliance, self discovery, respect for nature, and the movement between cultures.
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LibraryThing member punxsygal
A young Eskimo girl of 13 leaves Barrow and her marriage to a young boy to seek her way to San Francisco. Out on the Alaskan north slope she loses her way and her food supplies run out. Using lessons from her father, she begins to observe the world around her and the interactions of a nearby wolf
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pack. The lessons she learns keep her alive. This was my second reading of this Newberry award winning book, both times as an adult, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
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LibraryThing member michaele4kk
Julie of the Wolves is another survival type book by Jean Craighead George. Julie, or Miyax as she is called by her village, is a young girl who runs away from home because she feels it isn't safe there any longer. When Julie stumbles across a pack of wolves she is very frightened, but somethng
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amazing happens. The wolves except her into their pack. Julie rights a journal on surviving in the wilderness and living with a wolf pack. Her journal is also full of intriguing thoughts. Ultimately she will have decide if she wants to be Julie of the wolves forever or once more become Miyax of her village. For anyone who has ever wanted to live with wild animals this is a great book. I loved it because I'm a huge fan of nature but by the end I was a tad bored. This book is very thought provoking but doesn't have very many action or thrill scenes. I Julie of the Wolves 4 stars!
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LibraryThing member alcrivello
Story of a girl and her friendship with a pack of wolves.
LibraryThing member eyeluv2read
This Newberry book is a winner. There is one scene where Miyax, (Julie), deals with an attempted rape by her “husband” who is slow and only trying something as he is being teased by others. That one scene is in the middle of the book and is what precipitates her running away. The story starts
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with her lost in the Alaskan wilderness where she learns to talk “wolf” and be accepted by the pack. When her pack leaves when the pups are sufficiently grown to travel, she recalls her life as Miyax. When her mother died, her grieving father moved from town to the seal camp where he raised her from age 4 to age 9 when her aunt “rescues” her so she can move back to town and attend school. Her heartbroken father goes out on a hunt and never returns. Miyax, known as Julie in town, takes the “out” she has been given by getting married at the age of 13 as her father arranged before she left him at the age of 9. After she reviews her life, she is back in the present alone, but her wolf pack comes back! Things go ok as she tries to find her way to civilization so she can move to San Francisco to be with her pen pal. Tragically, as they get closer to civilization, a hunter from a plane kills the leader of the pack and wounds the pup he is training to be leader. Julie realizes she doesn’t want to be with such “civilized” people until she runs across a young couple out hunting in the old ways who mention her father. She goes to him to realize HE was the hunter that killed her wolf pack leader! She runs away again, but doesn’t get far before realizing the old ways are dying and the new ways are here to stay and she returns to her father. The book was written in 1972, and may not appeal to all kids, but I would read it again and would recommend it.
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LibraryThing member MaeBHollie
Miyax, also known as Julie as her English name, lives on top of the world in the Alaskan wilderness, where she learns her Eskimo traditions and way of life. After marrying at the age of thirteen, she decides that she must run away to San Francisco where her pen pal lives. She takes off across the
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Arctic but soon becomes lost and without food. That’s when she finds herself slowly being accepted by a pack of wolves. She learns how to speak their language and soon the wolves help her survive by bringing her meat. She also uses the survival training taught to her by her father to ensure that she stays alive. But as she finally makes it the civilization she discovers that she has fallen in love with not only the wolves, but her way of life.

This book delves deep into wolf life, the pack structure, the tundra environment, and Eskimo traditions. While I found it all very fascinating, it was also very slow. Not much really happens in the book besides waking up each new day, seeing what the wolves are doing, and figuring out what to make for dinner. But I can totally see why this won the Newbery. I was transported into a different culture and environment and learned something new. Needless to say my eleven year old daughter hated it and was not able to finish it because it was too slow for her.

This book has been banned because of the attempted rape of Julie, which is basically her husband kissing her on the lips and then she runs away. I don’t even know if I would use the word rape here. It was all but one sentence.

But because it has been banned teachers should use caution and check with your school first.

Possible extension activities:

Students create a large wall mural showing the many different animals found in the setting of Julie of the Wolves. Post a list on a bulletin board so class members can note the animal and a page number where it is mentioned as they read the story.

Students can then work together to categorize the animals, find out what each one looks like, and draw or paint them on the mural. The chart the animals in the story by these categories.

mammals* Birds* Insects* Fish

After that a discussion could ensue about local wildlife and where each creature fits in the chart.
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LibraryThing member rheasly
Julie, who is also known by her Eskimo name Miyax, is a thirteen year old girl who comes of age while living with a wolf pack in the Alaskan tundra. With both parents out of the picture and forced into an arranged marriage, Julie runs away from her home in an effort to reach her pen pal in San
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Francisco. During her journey she befriends a small wolf pack and learns to live in harmony with nature. Her challenges and hardships are beyond what many thirteen year olds face these days, but the themes of self-discovery and independence are ones that any pre-teen or early teenager can identify with. The book is beautifully written and is a page turner. For younger audiences, I would suggest reading in a group so that some of the challenges Julie faces (such as her husband abusing her) can be discussed and processed.
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LibraryThing member debnance
A young girl is forced to befriend a pack of Arctic wolves as she attempts to escape from an intolerable marriage. The details of life with the wolves was nothing short of amazing; who would believe before reading this story that a girl could live among wolves and who would, after reading it, not
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believe it? Julie/Miyax desperately tries to survive and find food as she crosses the frozen world of the Arctic. It is only with the help of the wolves that she is able to find nourishment. In return, she helps them in their time of trouble, helping them avoid the dangers of the human world. The book left me thinking about it; that, to me, is the measure of a good book. Julie unexpectedly finds her father, but the reunion is not as she thought. Her father has changed and she has changed. How can Julie go forward? Can Julie and her father once again live together?
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LibraryThing member nancyjensen
I read this book last summer with my two daughters. We started with Jean Craighead George's The Wolves are Back, which is written for a Picture Book audience. We loved it so much though, that we read all three of the Julie books next. I love it when stories transport me to a totally different
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seting. This series did that. We were transported to life near the Arctic Circle in Alaska.
Julie's oneness with the wolves is what stays with me most. That and her reconciliation with her father. These are great books for fifth graders and up to read as free choice books.
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LibraryThing member cedargrove
Deserving of the Award It Won

In spite of some of the detail of subject matter covered in the course of the novel, this book is rich in stunning visuals, and depictions of customs and rituals of disparate cultures - human and animal alike - and the expectations of both. The characters are well drawn
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and we, as readers, connect with them and through them with the story being told.

It is a story that is both inspiring and heartbreaking at the same and alternate times; a story that questions love and loyalty in two different settings, and Julie's relationship with the wolf pack is perhaps one of the most moving and empowering parts of the storytelling, setting the tone for the human triumphs and tragedies that are also part of the story.

Even the inclusion of some of the more morally risque parts of the story does not in any way lessen the appeal of this book, for what better way to challenge such abhorrent behaviours than to examine them openly; to bring them to light in a forum against which they might be discussed, because sadly, such things are still the reality of some children.
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LibraryThing member MoochPurpura
While I was familiar with some version of this as a young person, this is my first recollection of ever reading this book. I found it moving, engaging, and tragic, yet realistic. The young hera/ heroine Julie/Miyax deals with the shifting expectations on the border between innocence and experience,
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childhood and adulthood, Arctic First Nations and white ways, and more.
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LibraryThing member nbmars
This is a great "issues" book for middle graders published in 1972 about a 13-year-old Eskimo girl who must learn to adjust to a reality increasingly tangled up between the old world of traditions and the new world of the gussaks, or white-faced.

In Part I of this short book, Miyax (called Julie in
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English), decides to run away and stay with a pen pal in San Francisco, but gets lost without sufficient food on the North Slope of Alaska. She comes upon a wolf pack, and in desperation, determines that her life depends on the pack accepting her and helping her survive. This is the story of how she accomplishes that goal.

In Part II, we find out how Miyax got in her present predicament, and in Part III, we learn how it is resolved.

This book has been banned in some school districts. The reason is that Julie, although only 13, has been married off to Daniel, a young Eskimo boy. Generally, these arrangements are ignored until the children grow. But Daniel is teased, and so tries to have his way with Julie. Fortunately for Julie, Daniel, who is "slow," doesn't actually know what to do once he has knocked Julie down, and she escapes. It is then she decides she must run away.

Aside from just a few pages, most of the book is about Julie and her attempts to become a part of a wolf pack. She observes the wolves hour after hour, and learns what different behaviors and sounds communicate. She quickly learns which wolf is the “wealthy” wolf, or the leader. (She had learned from Eskimo hunters that “the riches of life were intelligence, fearlessness, and love.”) She bravely tries to emulate what she sees and hears, so that the wolves will think she is one of them.

When she finally makes it back to "civilization," she finds that the village of people is not so civilized after all, and that someone she idolized is also not the hero she believed him to be.

Evaluation: This heart-warming book, winner of the 1973 Newberry Medal, is not as fast-paced as more recent books, but will give children a great deal to think about and discuss. I found the story charming and liked the resilence and faith of the character of Miyax.

There are two sequels, Julie and Julie's Wolf Pack.
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LibraryThing member devilish2
Reasonable storyline, but beautiful evocation of the tundra, its animals and plants, the interconnected of life there with the seasons and the weather. Subtle and beautiful.
LibraryThing member olivegreen1
Rich story of Miyax, an Eskimo girl, who is stranded out in the Alaskan tundra and who befriends a wolf pack in order to survive. An amazing tale of survival and a girl straddling the worlds of tradition and modernity. A profound reading experience.
LibraryThing member Bibliotropic
The first thing people might be struck by, if they first read this book now, will be the outdated expressions and terminology. For example, Eskimo. The 'modern teenager' that Miyax struggles with is a teenager from the time this book was written, which is the 1970s. For those reasons alone, this
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book loses some points to modern readers. It's very hard to relate to a main character in a different time and from a different culture that isn't necessarily being portrayed very accurately. Doubly so when that character from another time and culture spends a good part of the book learning to communicate with animals in a way that, to be blunt, typically takes far longer and is far more complex than it's represented here. It can give a lot of false impressions.

On the other hand, to older readers, this can be an interesting look at how people 30-40 years ago actually viewed another culture, so there's a weird sort of anthropological double-interest thing going on here.

I have to say, though, that this book was probably one of the first to get me interested not only in other cultures (especially ones with more tribal/traditional methods of life) but also in survivalist fiction. Miyax is trapped in the Arctic, away from civilization and amenities, and thanks to an unsetting sun, cannot even navigate by stars to find her way to safety. With very little in the way of supplies, she tries to survive, eventually befriending a small local wolf pack and learning to communicate with them through gestures and posturing in order to get them to help her.

For all that it sounds simple, though, there are many elements of this book that are dark and hard-hitting. The reason Miyax runs away from home in the first place is because she married at the age of 13 and her husband, a rather dull-witted boy, tries to rape her. The text actually doesn't make it clear whether he just attempted to or actually succeeded, but that doesn't take away from the trauma of the situation. Miyax believes her father to be dead, and the wolf she considers her adoptive father is later shot and killed by hunters looking to make a quick buck from the fur trade. Miyax is almost killed herself during this event.

A more subtle darkness exists in the very last line of the book, one that can sadden and disillusion many. Miyax spends the book affirming and reaffirming that she is a person of tradition, that she doesn't want to follow the ways of the white people who disrespect her culture and world around her. While she has a "white" name, Julie, she dislikes it and very often refuses to use it. She is proud of her heritage and her culture. After finding out that her father is alive and well but has adopted white ways, she makes the decision to return to the tundra and to live on her own, traditionally, hunting for her food and avoiding white ways as best she can.

And no sooner does Miyax decide that than the bird companion she befriended, the thing that represents the spirit of the wild to her now that her adopted wolf-father is gone, dies.

And the final line of the book calls her Julie.

Her entire mental pattern shifted there, with that revelation. Her pride evaporated, her strength crumbled, and all that she had clung to in the wild was gone. What choice did she have but to return to the father who forsook the old ways, thus forsaking the old ways herself, and to symbolically give herself a new life. Even when I first read that, it made me sad, though I couldn't fully articulate why.

The author manages to cram some very complex and deep issues into such a short books, which is wonderful to see. However, it seems that the range of the book goes from brushes with things great and deep to long periods of somewhat shallow observation, liberally sprinkled with interesting survival methods and trivia about life in the Arctic (some of which has been proven wrong, but was believed to be true when the book was written). I can't deny that the story is interesting and the messages are ones that people ought to pay attention to, but it has such distance from today's events that I think a great deal of the books high points might be lost on modern readers.

Still, I enjoyed it then, and I still enjoyed it now.
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LibraryThing member edenjean
Miyax’s struggle for survival in the barren Alaskan wilderness leads her to seek the aid of a pack of wolves she encounters. Growing to love the wolves like family, even as she depends on them to survive, Miyax must ultimately decide between continuing to follow her father’s traditional
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teachings or finding a new way of life. This coming of age story is also an adventure novel, a soul-searching monologue, and an environmental study; readers will come away with a greater appreciation for the natural world, for cultural traditions, and for family.

Ages 10 and up
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LibraryThing member aimless22
Another story of a survivor. Well written and very educational about Eskimo life and beliefs.
LibraryThing member DebbieMcCauley
Miyax is a young Eskimo caught between two worlds. On one side she lives a traditional Eskimo way of life; on the other she is English speaking Julie with a pen pal in San Francisco. Her mother is dead and her father has disappeared. Miyax flees from an arranged marriage across the North Slopes of
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Alaska. A week later she finds herself completely lost in the wilderness. A wolf pack provides her only chance of survival. Miyax studies the complexities of the pack, and learns about their behaviours. In time she is accepted by the pack

A fascinating insight into the traditional Eskimo way of life, detailed and well researched.
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LibraryThing member ChasidyBrown
Summary: This was about an Eskimo girl by the name of Miyax that runs away from her village when it become unsafe for her. She gets lost in an Alaskan wilderness and without food and shelter she is sure to die, but then she becomes friends with a pack of Arctic wolves. Even tho its a struggle to
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survive the wolves become her family. In the end she has to decide either to stay with the wolves or find a way back to her old life.
Review: I thought this book was good! My nine year old son loved it. Any child that is interested in survival or animals would enjoy this.
Extension: Multiculture, Animals and Humans, Eskimos
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LibraryThing member mirrani
The writing is what wins this book the Newbery Award. A reader doesn't need the illustrations to form a visual in their mind, the look, the feel, and the emotion of Eskimo life in a frozen land are so well written that they almost become a part of you. The story looks into Eskimo life, but also
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into the lives of wolves, helping readers to understand that every animal has a way of communicating, if we only take the time to listen.

The human story is both heartbreaking and motivating. A girl runs away from a fate she hasn't chosen, to try and make her own way. Though I'm not sure that attempted rape (or being a runaway) is the right thing to include in a book for younger readers, it is important to understand that the book is meant to be read in the culture for which it was intended. Julie is a strong character who decides to protect herself, find her own destiny and makes out on her own in a way she has learned to do from her own people. Though her plans change as she journeys onward, she never loses her determination.

I can see where some would prefer to read the book before giving it to a young reader, but this is still a book worthy of the golden badge it has earned on its cover. When shared together, this is a story of strength, and the bonds between humans and nature that can not be missed.
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