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A Newbery Honor Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults and Notable Book

A teen boy wants to trade in the noise of his contemporary world for the song of nature and the old ways in this poignant young adult adventure.

Something is bothering Russel Susskit. He hates waking up to the sound of his father’s coughing, the smell of diesel oil, the noise of snow machines starting up.

Only Oogruk, the shaman who owns the last team of dogs in the village, understands Russel’s longing for the old ways and the songs that celebrated them. But Oogruk cannot give Russel the answers he seeks; the old man can only prepare him for what he must do alone.

Driven by a strange, powerful dream of a long-ago self and by a burning desire to find his own song, Russel takes Oogruk’s dogs on an epic journey of self-discovery that will change his life forever.

Photo by Ruth Wright Paulsen

Gary Paulsen (1931–2021) was one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers, author of three Newbery Honor titles, Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He wrote over 100 books for adults and young readers. 

"Unusual and moving...a remarkable book." -- School Library Journal, starred review

  • ALA Newbery Honor Book
  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • ALA Best Books For Young Adults
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Children's Book in Social Studies
  • Volunteer State Book Award (TN)

More books from this author: Gary Paulsen