Northwind — Review

Thought for the Day:

“Success? I don’t know what that word means. I’m happy. But success, that goes back to what in somebody’s eyes success means. For me, success is inner peace. That’s a good day for me.”
~ Denzel Washington ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

I recognize some of my weaknesses as a writer, and the biggest one is that I simply don’t submit very often. Moriah Richard of Writer’s Digest has a good article HERE called Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Submitting Your Work. Check it out.

Writing a mystery? Lady Jabberwocky has a good post HERE with tips for creating a detective’s sidekick. Actually, the tips could work for any main character’s sidekick. Worth a read.

If our characters don’t change from the beginning to the end of our stories, what is the point? But they shouldn’t turn on a dime. HERE Kristen Overman has an excellent article on Good Story Company on The Importance of a Nuanced Character Arc.

Rain on the roof woke me early this morning. It’s June. We NEVER get rain in June in the Sacramento area. The temperature will only get to the mid-70s today. Next weekend we are looking at 104 or so, much more typical for this time of year. I am loving this lovely weather and wish it would stick around, but I know better, so I will enjoy it while I can. Summer, for me, has a couple important events — the French Open and Wimbledon tennis tournaments. I don’t much care for any of the other tournaments, but I am obsessed with those two. Americans have a terrific young rising star to watch — Coco Gauff. She is going to take the tennis world by storm, and although she lost yesterday in her first major final, it was so exciting to watch her get there. And the young Norwegian who took on Nadal in the men’s final today showed flashes of what he will be, and he will also be fun to watch as he grows into a big star. Nadal looked so good today, I wonder if he can’t win all the majors this year. Amazing for an old man (just turned 36!).

Last week I promised a gently-read paperback of Crazy in Poughkeepsie by Daniel Pinkwater to one of you. The winner this time is Myra. Congratulations, Myra! Thanks for reading and commenting. I will get your book out to you soon.

I should have reviewed this book here before now. It came out in February, but I kind of forgot about it since I had already passed along my copy. Of course, when I saw a Gary Paulsen book on the review list for the Portland Book Review, I had to have it. I have loved everything of his I’ve read. Northwind is unlike anything else I’ve read by Paulsen, but it is every bit as compelling and exciting as his other survivor stories, which, I believe, are all contemporary. Here is the review I wrote for PBR.

Leif is an orphan; his father was unknown and his mother died giving birth. He was raised on the docks by a variety of people, but he never belonged to anyone. He grew up being used pretty much as slave labor on a number of ships. Now around thirteen, he’s lucky enough to be taken under the wing of one of the sailors, Old Carl, who, with some other men, makes a fish camp. One day, a strange ship comes to the camp and sick men come onto shore, spreading disease. The men begin to die, and Old Carl tells Leif to flee to the North. He takes a dugout canoe and a few supplies and heads out, but he hasn’t missed the sickness entirely.

Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen was the king of survivor stories for middle graders. This one is set hundreds of years ago off the coast of Norway and is written in such a way to convey the time and place. The characters are interesting and believable, and the story is very compelling with lots of tension on every page. Paulsen was a master storyteller and this book is no exception. Youngsters will love it.

Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

20 thoughts on “Northwind — Review”

  1. I would love to read this story. Paulsen is a great writer so know Northwind will keep me riveted! I’m jealous of you actually getting rain. That hasn’t happened in far too long here in New Mexico. Send it our way!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a fascinating book! You keep coming up with books I want to read. Thank you, Rosi. Enjoy the rain and cool while you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I glad that books like this are being written. I think they help children to ask the question: “What would I do in a situation like this.”
    Since I won the last book giveaway, please don’t include me in the drawing this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These orphan books are unsettling but full of universal truths. I just finished Gary D. Schmidt’s JUST LIKE THAT. I wanted to write a blog review about it, but I am still unpacking the story in my mind. Has anyone else read it yet? Thanks for sharing! Beth

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think orphan books do help kids sort through the problems they face and appreciate what they have. I haven’t read Just Like That, but after reading your comment, I ordered a copy. I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on it. Thanks for the comment.


  5. I’m going to pass on this one. The teacher who did an author study on Paulsen retired, and this was just… a bit gruesome. Paulsen did a few historical fiction books, like The Cookcamp, The Legend of Bass Reeves, Soldier’s Heart, and a whole series of Westerns (Tucket’s Ride) that I weeded as being out of step with current views on Native Americans. He just wrote SO MUCH. I did really like How to Train Your Dad. His humorous books are always a delightful surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do think his humorous books are always a nice surprise. He’s written so prolifically, I know I’ve missed a lot of his books. I did like this one, though. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  6. What a lovely cover to draw readers to the story. I like Paulsen and this sounds like an interesting story that only he would write. Engaging storyline and characters.

    Rosi, did you grow up in Sacramento? If so, do you remember a syndicated advice columnist, Helen Bottel and her column “Helen Help Us?” I knew her well and know she passed many years ago. But she was famous in her home town.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a beautiful cover, Isn’t it? I did not grow up in Sacramento. I’ve only been in the area since 2002, and I have never heard of Helen Bottel. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  7. I have the same problem of not submitting enough. I’m too busy revising and trying to make things perfect. The article really helped.
    I have this book on my to read list but just haven’t had the time to give it a go. Gary Paulsen books are some of the first that got me interested in MG lit. Thanks for featuring your review on MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

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