Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Outdoorsy Book

I have very little to do with the outdoors, unless it's finding a quiet, comfortable place to read. But I do know that I have many students who are passionate about the outdoors and struggle to find themselves in books that explore these issues. That's my one beef with realistic fiction--I haven't found many books within this genre that these adventurous students can connect with that isn't Hatchet.

That was until I found Ryan Gebhart's There Will Be Bears. Tyson, the main character, has his hopes set on elk hunting with his grandpa. Unfortunately, his grandfather's health is dwindling, and his parents' decision to move his grandfather to a nursing home makes it seem as if Tyson's dream will never come true.

Tyson is like so many students: He sees a disconnect in what he is expected to remember and regurgitate in school, is encountering changing friendships, and is trying to make his family happy while becoming an individual.

While the first half of the novel is leading up to a trip that Tyson begins to believe will never happen, the magic in Gebhart's storytelling really takes place in the second. When they are finally able to embark on their trip, Tyson learns that hunting and all that it entails is far more difficult--both emotionally and physically--and rewarding than he imagined.

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