Julie by Jean Craighead George

This is the sequel to Julie of the Wolves. I originally read Julie of the Wolves because we owned a copy of Julie and I wanted to read it to the kids. I had to read the first book in the series before I could read the second one. We enjoyed Julie of the Wolves, so it didn’t take too much to convince the kids to read this book.

Published: 1994

Genre: historical middle grade fiction

Length: 227 pages

Setting: Kangik, Alaska, it felt like the 1960s, immediately after the events of Julie of the Wolves

Summary: Julie is now living in Kangik with her father, Amorak, and his white, pregnant wife, Ellen. There is an uneasy balance between modern American life, and traditional Eskimo life in the village. To make money, Amorak has created a village-wide corporation to raise musk oxen and sell the wool. Unfortunately, they are currently a target for what’s left of Julie’s wolf pack, since the caribou have once again failed to return to Kangik. Amorak threatens to shoot the wolves if they kill a musk ox, so Julie leads the pack farther into the tundra. She participates in traditional festivals and gathering food (like walrus), and helps Ellen during her pregnancy. Peter, one of the musk ox herders, falls in love with Julie and tries to convince her to marry him. She decides to get a college education (so she can teach her native languages to other Eskimo children) first, after the caribou return.

Final thoughts: If you enjoyed Julie of the Wolves, you really should read Julie since it directly answers the question hanging over the end of Julie of the Wolves – now what is Julie going to do? Julie has made it to her father’s house, but life is not the perfect idyll that she envisioned when out on the tundra with the wolves. She wants to live a traditional life, but modern technology and sensibilities are creeping in everywhere. Eventually Julie realizes a blending of the old and new is the best for her and her community.

Once again, the reader gets a fantastic description of life in the high Arctic. You see dog sleds and snowmobiles, hunting for walrus and canned food, traditional celebrations (blanket toss, anyone?) and young people being sent to Fairbanks for further schooling. Julie slowly opens up to Ellen and tries to instill Eskimo values over Minnesota values. It doesn’t always work, but she tries. I found the adaptations to living in such extreme cold to be fascinating. When Julie talks about zero degrees being warm, it makes me shiver! The kids got into the story as well, often asking questions about Julie’s actions in different situations.

Title comes from: The narrator’s name is Julie

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #34 for the year,  a J in my Title Alphabet Challenge, and #11 in my Finish the Series Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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