Monday, November 14, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Wilderness Survival

Stranded! Amy Racina's Story of Survival
written by Tim O'Shei
Capstone Press, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4296-0088-0
Grades 2-6
Reviewed from personal copy.

Amy Racina set out during the summer of 2003 on a 17-day hike through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  She went alone.  She felt comfortable doing this after developing a love of hiking following her first intense hiking trip with her father and brother in 1972.  Amy stayed on the main hiking trails for the first 11 days of her trip.  Then she decided she wanted more time alone and took to the more rarely used trails.  Unfortunately, she lost the trail and had to cross a steep hill to get back to the trail.  While attempting to accomplish this, the ground fell out from under her and she fell 60 feet.

Amy's injuries were severe, including broken bones and a crushed right knee.  She quickly put on a tourniquet to slow the bleeding and then fixed herself some hot soup to keep herself from succumbing to shock.  Amy decided to try to attempt to get closer to the main trail hoping this would make her easier to find. Her determination to survive helped Amy make good decisions that lead to her survival and rescue.
This book is perfect for reluctant readers.  The story is short but compelling.  The attractive illustrations help the reader visualize what it may have been like to be in the situation Amy is in.  There are also a few photographs taken after she was found.  The students I shared the story with were fascinated and had lots of questions and comments.  For those who prefer more detail, this book is not for you.  There is not a whole lot of detail here, just enough to get the story across.  But what is there is very well done. Recommended.

Better yet, combine it with the following book for a great discussion on surviving in the wilderness.  Both of these books are part of a series.  Stranded is part of Capstone's True Tales of Survival series.  The following book is part of the Prepare to Survive series.

How to Survive in the Wilderness
written by Tim O'Shei
Capstone Press, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4296-2281-3
Grades 2-6
Reviewed from personal copy.

The wilderness can be a fascinating, exciting place.  Mountains to climb, trees to admire, animals to spot, skills to learn, the wilderness provides many types of enjoyment for many people.  But for someone who is lost, the wilderness can become an obstacle that needs to be overcome.  Unless you are prepared for it, the wilderness can be dangerous.  Under these circumstances, the decisions one makes regarding shelter, food, water, signals, and animals become all important.  This book addresses some of the basic information that can make it easier to not only survive in the wilderness, but to be found as well.

The author covers all the basics, different types of shelter, how to find food and water, how to avoid injury from animals, how to signal for help, how to cross streams/rivers, navigation, and the importance of not panicking.  The experiences of Amy Racina and Brennan Hawkins are briefly highlighted.  There is a table of contents, index, and short list of other books on similar topics.  The book refers the reader the the Fact Hound website for kid-friendly sites on this topic. This is a children's book especially aimed at reluctant readers. As such, the book is short (32 pages) and concise.  The book does only provide basic information.  But I have read other books on this topic and the information here matches that given in more detailed sources. I recommend the book to readers fascinated by or interested in learning about survival in the wilderness.

Check out Nonfiction Monday for more great children's nonfiction. Today it is being hosted by Playing by the Book.

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