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Lost in the Barrens
by Farley Mowat
ISBN 0316586382 / 9780316586382 / 0-316-58638-2
Publisher Little Brown & Co (Juv)
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Farley Mowat's Lost in the Barrens is the quintessential Canadian tale of adventure. First published in 1956, it won the Governor General's Award for Juvenile Literature, the Canadian Library Association's Children's Book of the Year Award and the Boys Club of America Junior Book Award. And it is as exciting a book for contemporary kids as when it first appeared. Orphan Jamie Macnair has left the safety of boarding-school life in Toronto to join his Uncle Angus, a trapper, in the icy reaches of the Canadian North. Jamie is utterly enchanted by the Arctic and is able to share his fascination with his new friend, Awasin, a member of a nearby Cree camp. When Jamie and Awasin have a chance to join a band of Chipeweyans on a trip to the remote Barrens, they jump at the opportunity. But when their canoe capsizes and they are separated from the group, it takes all their ingenuity to survive winter in the Barrens. Lost in the Barrens is at once a powerful and exciting adventure story and a sensitive look at Canada's First Peoples and their traditions. It is enhanced by Mowat's own knowledge of and passion for the Canadian North, and young readers will be fascinated by all the details that Mowat includes, from making sleds and boots to the nomadic tradition of following the caribou herds. Older readers who enjoy this adventure tale might want to check out the sequel, The Curse of the Viking Grave, as well as some of Mowat's non-fiction books about the North, including People of the Deer, Tundra, and Sea of Slaughter. (Ages 10 to 16) --Jeffrey Canton [via]