Monday, March 23, 2015

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Red Wolf

I probably wouldn’t have picked this book to read, if it wasn’t nominated for the Silver Birch Award, but I’m glad I got to read it. Everyone should read this book.

Here’s the Amazon description:

Life is changing for Canada’s Anishnaabek Nation and for the wolf packs that share their territory.

In the late 1800s, both Native people and wolves are being forced from the land. Starving and lonely, an orphaned timber wolf is befriended by a boy named Red Wolf. But under the Indian Act, Red Wolf is forced to attend a residential school far from the life he knows, and the wolf is alone once more. Courage, love and fate reunite the pair, and they embark on a perilous journey home. But with winter closing in, will Red Wolf and Crooked Ear survive? And if they do, what will they find?

Red Wolf  by Jennifer Dance, Dundurn, Toronto: 2014.

My Take:

This book is an eye opener if you don’t know much about the experiences of Native people in residential schools. It was heart breaking to read Red Wolf’s story – and to realize that it’s based on real events. Along with the story of Red Wolf, there’s a parallel story of a wolf pup struggling to survive after its parents were killed, but I was more emotionally connected to the story of Red Wolf and what was happening to him. This is definitely a book that makes you think. It may also make you feel angry and sad that these atrocities happened.

As a writer, this is a good book to read to see how to build an emotional story using historical details and facts.

Opening Line:

“The men slowly reached for their rifles, eyes searching through the lengthening shadows.”


“Red Wolf froze like a frightened fawn, hoping the predator would pass him by.”

“The day before, when Red Wolf was still a child, he would have giggled, but today there was no laughter in him.”

“After a fresh snowfall, when the barbs of the fence were piled high with soft white cones, an illusion of peace blanketed the school.”

Other Info:

This is a debut novel for author Jennifer Dance.  She lives on a small farm in Ontario and enjoys 
spending time with her horses. She is concerned about the environment and loves the outdoors.

Red Wolf won a Moonbeam Medal for Historical-Cultural Preteen fiction.

On her website, Jennifer says, I know from my life experience what it's like to be discriminated against…I think that this has given me a slightly different perspective when it comes to my writing.”

Her second book, Paint, was published in January 2015. I'm looking forward to reading it!

For more, visit Jennifer Dance's website.

Looking for more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books? Visit Shannon Messenger’s blog for a list of bloggers reviewing great books today! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the Keeper of the Lost Cities series.


  1. Wow! Sounds like a powerful story. And what a strong first line. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I'd previously seen the cover for this one but didn't know what it was about. Thanks for bringing me up to speed. I'll be sure to find a copy as it sounds excellent with some superb writing.

  3. Thank you for bringing what sounds like a very powerful novel to my attention, Andrea.

  4. This sounds like a real good read. Definitely putting on my "must read" list.

  5. Thanks for telling me about this book. I hadn't heard of it. I'll check it out.


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