I grew up doing a lot of hiking, and naturally liked to read outdoors-y books, everything from Heidi (the Alps!) and Farmer Boy (I still dream of making my own maple syrup) to Island of the Blue Dolphins (brave, but too lonely). My Side of the Mountain and Julie of the Wolves were perfect–the stories were more adventurous than anything I’d do, but not as bleak as, say, Hatchet or The Cay. And for all their celebration of nature, the books never felt sappy or forced. George wrote from experience: My Side of the Mountain apparently took just two weeks to write.
I know I’ll be reading and re-reading her books for years to come, and I look forward to discovering the ones (like Julie’s Wolf Pack) I haven’t read before.