My Side of the Mountain

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jacqueg

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Just wondering how many of you encountered this book as a kid and whether you think it affected your decision to try out this life.

My parents took us camping every summer when we were small - rented a "canned ham" trailer for a week or two and hauled us up to Yosemite or Sequoia NF. I loved it. 

Later, I remember, on those interminable once-a-month freeway drives from our house to my aunt's house for Sunday dinner, looking at all those big bushes in the median strip, and pondering run-away-from-home plans, whether I could live under them.

In the seventh grade, I had a teacher who read "My Side of the Mountain" aloud to us. I was astounded to discover there were adults who did not react badly to the idea of a kid living in the woods on their own.

If it wasn't "My Side of the Mountain" for you, was there a book that had a similar affect on you?

Yes, I ate up "Robinson Crusoe" too, but he wasn't a kid.
 

jacqueg

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Just thought of a couple of others about kids surviving on their own -

Island of the Blue Dolphins
No Children No Pets
Dangerous Island

the last two were Weekly Reader Book Club books.


And of course -
the Black Stallion (the first book)
 

nature lover

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Jacqueg - I absolutely loved, no let me correct that, love that book. I have read it every year since I first read it in late elementary school. There was a movie made but they screwed it up by setting it up in Canada instead of the cat skills. It was an OK movie but for those in love with the book the changes were just too big. Jean Craighead, the author, lived not far from my home in a little Village called Boiling Springs. She and her family were fairly famous naturalists, they ran a small zoo that I used to frequently visit. They did some wild animal rescue and rehabilitation there. I wore out several copies of that book over the years. And I’ll never forget the wonder of a preteen boy actually meeting the person who wrote his favorite book. We had a local red tail hawk who I called frightful. And every time I see a large hemlock tree I look for a soft section to start digging. Thanks for bringing up the memory again I have to listen to it again. I don’t read anymore I listen on the machine from this vision impaired and blind library.

I have also read the whole set of the chronicles of Narnia every year for almost 60 years.
 

Katt

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Wow! This is the first time I've heard this book mentioned by anyone in the history of ever. I owned this book when I was young and I SO wanted to be that kid, because I was a total loser and outcast. I also grew up in NY and camped in the Adirondacks all the time as a kid, which was close enough to the Catskills lol. I lived in Little Falls for a while as an adult, which is really close to the area where the book was based. I actually tried to buy a copy of it since the pandemic, but couldn't find a copy as it's apparently been out of print for a while. Wish I still had my copy. This book and the Little House On The Prairie series were two of my favorites and definitely influenced me.
 

JDub

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nature lover said:
I have also read the whole set of the chronicles of Narnia every year for almost 60 years.

NL,

Iloved that series as well. My next read is going to be: "The Dark is Rising" series by Susan Cooper (I'm sorting stuff in boxes and I've found my son's books)). Loved it when I was a kid and my son did too when he was young.

Cheers!
 

skyl4rk

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Yup. My Side of the Mountain, and The Boxcar Children were some of my favorite books way back when. There was another one about building underground forts, not sure what it was called.
 

Ravella and X

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My parents subscribed to readers digest condensed books and I read tons of shortened versions of books in them from age 7-13 or 14. Two that I especially loved were Once Upon and Island and A Place in the Woods. Neither were about children, and I'm pretty sure both were non-fiction.

I'm not sure if they influenced me or just resonated with my wilderness loving apanthropist soul.
 

vanbrat

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As a kid sticking my nose in a book was much better then interacting with anyone else in my life so I read everything.....

I loved the Little House books, Box Car Children, Jungle Book, Little Women, I loved Tarzan, he was my hero. I think I read all of Walt Morley,s books, he had some really great stories. Call of The Wild, Red Fern. A lot of Stienbeck stories then my mom found them and they got removed. I got more careful about were I read some of the books. We all, hubby, sons, and me read all of Loise Lamores books (I know that is not the right spelling) I even stole a few of my Dads books by him. I think I gave them back ....maybe. I think I read My side of the mountain 3-4 times before it wore out. I didn't read Swiss Family Robinson until just recently. Much better then the Disney movie, a whole different story.

Ok now I gotta go find some of my old books and dust them off and read something. Some of them went with my kids when they moved out too. They loved them too. I think that is were my Walt Morley books went.....

I would rather read the book then the movie any day. One of the reasons I have avoided most of the Harry Potter movies I want to have a chance to read the books first.
 

Stargazer

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"Where the Red Fern Grows" (I always cry.)
"The Old Man and the Sea" (Hemingway, I have his complete works but this one is my favorite.)
All the Wilder books.
 

LERCA

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Great book but in my case it was Island of the Blue Dolphins that was my fantasy. By coincidence I grew up and still live where I can see the islands around San Nicolas, the island the book was based on. It also was based on a true story which I never knew. I desperately wanted her life. My family and Girl Scouts went camping but although travel is my passion I always want to go home to a home base. I’m fascinated by true nomads.
 

Tony's Dream

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I almost ran away from home, not because I was unhappy, but rather I wanted to live like this kid! I live in a small town of 1200 and I remember building a fort in the woods by the river where my friends and I would go to on the weekend to camp and live off the land. We would shoot a rabbit, duck, coon, whatever we could and roast it at our camp. Life was great when I was young.
 

Sofisintown

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

That mostly did it for me, as I identified sometimes with the father and sometimes with the kid...

I may be biased, because the majority of my trips had been on motorcycle. I didn't have a car when I was young.
 

crofter

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My decisions not influenced by books, other that Bob's on living in a car, van, etc. Plus my own life experience. I got serious about camp hosting after reading Bob's blog.
-crofter
 

travelaround

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I love that you're writing about juvenile literature in this thread! That's my thing! I love Island of the Blue Dolphins - my mother gave that to me not long after it was published. I was maybe - 11? I haven't read My Side of the Mountain! It has been on my TBR list for a few years and I may have a copy here (or maybe it was burned in the forest fire that ate my home last September.)

This is "Middle Grade March" on Booktube this month. (I have a Booktube channel on YouTube.) I've read some great juvenile literature this month. My favorite so far is The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, about a girl naturalist in Texas, but a close second is The Brave, about a OCD boy living on an Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota.
 

travelaround

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Has anyone here read Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise? It is about a girl living in a skoolie. Maybe we should all get a copy and have a group reading experience?

coyote-sunrise.jpg
 

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Cammalu

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After going to the movies and seeing “My Side of the Mountain” my best friend, Christine, and I started planning. I think I was in 3rd grade. We were serious and going to go out into the wilds by hitchhiking north across the US.

Living in Miami there weren’t very many “woods” to practice in but we did know of a couple empty lots that were side by side which had never been cleared so had a lot of brush and coconuts.

We skipped school and headed there to build our fort. We made it between a couple of trees and out of dead palm branches, coconuts, and whatever else we could find. We stayed there all day (which is forever when you are eight years old).

Finally we got hungry to a point where we had to start the trek back to the neighborhood. I think we were only a couple blocks away but we thought we were really far. On an on we went and at one point spotted my mom’s station wagon heading our way. We jumped off the sidewalk into some bushes.

Neither of us had watches so we were going to get near the school so we knew when they let out so we could go home to eat. We did find a couple of tiny snails on a wall that we managed to scarf down.

After awhile we heard the school bells and headed home and planned to start saving our pennies by picking up bottles to cash in so we could have a little money for supplies. We were also going to look through our garages to see if there was anything we could take with us.

The next day we wrote our own excuses and signed our mother’s names in our eight year old handwriting. We were thick as thieves and the chances of us both being sick on the same day well.. I guess we hadn’t thought that through.

All day everything went just like always at school until I got home... they knew!!! We were so busted... that was the end of any planning for awhile.

I think it was about a year later that I first read the book.
 

WalkaboutTed

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I grew up in Fort Lauderdale and my sisters and I would build "forts" on vacant lots and open coconuts and pretend that we were living off the land.

All the coconuts are gone from Florida since the 70s-80s when Lethal Yellowing killed all the coconut palms in South Florida. Not many vacant lots either nowadays. That took some of the magic away.
Ted
 

Cammalu

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Wow Ted. You were right next door! I didn’t know the coconuts were gone. What a shame!
 
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