Together they'll face moose, bears, and the terrors of the subarctic winter.
Down the Yukon: Amid the shouts and the cheers and the splashing of oars, it was pandemonium. "Nome or bust!" Jason yelled. In the shadow of the Arctic Circle, Dawson City is burning, changing forever the lives of thousands in the Klondike gold fields. All the talk is of Nome, nearly two thousand miles away, where gold has been discovered in the beach sands. Jason Hawthorn is itching to join the new rush. He and his brothers have been cheated out of their sawmill, and Jason has vowed to buy it back. A race to Nome has been announced, with a $20,000 prize. Jason's partner in his canoe is the girl he loves, Jamie Dunavant, freshly returned from the States as she promised she would. The Great Race across Alaska will be a grueling test for the two of them as they face the hazards of the Yukon River, two very dangerous men, and the terrors of the open sea. Only their combined skills, courage, and mutual devotion can pull them through.
The Big Wander: 14-year-old Clay Lancaster has come all the way from Seattle to Monument Valley in Arizona, and he doesn't give up easily. He and his older brother Mike are searching for their uncle, who disappeared into this vast and colorful land Clay has seen only in movies. When Clay's brother gives up the search and heads home, Clay stays by himself, working at a remote trading post. On a tip about his uncle, he takes off with only a burro for company into the wild redrock canyons of the Navajo reservation. What awaits him is the adventure of a lifetime among the Navajos and across the Colorado into Utah, where his uncle has been trying to save the last wild horses of the Escalante Mountains. Clay meets a girl named Sarah and together they try to rescue his uncle from a desperate situation.
Changes in Latitude: On vacation in Mexico, 16-year-old Travis learns about endangered sea turtles and tries to figure out how he fits into his own family, which he comes to realize is as "endangered" as the turtles. "I'm the one with the headphones and the shades," Travis starts out, "trailing behind like I'm only loosely affiliated with these people. I used to think I was the center of the universe, but by the end of the week down there I found out this wasn't the case. I found out something about what's really important and what's not. I guess that's why I'm writing this down, to let you know the price I paid and let you draw your own conclusions."
Ghost Canoe: After a sailing ship breaks up on the rocks off Washington's storm-tossed Cape Flattery, Nathan MacAllister, the 14-year-old son of the lighthouse keeper, refuses to believe the authorities, who say there were no survivors. Unexplained footprints on a desolate beach, a theft at the trading post, and glimpses of a wild "hairy man" convince Nathan that someone is hiding in the remote sea caves along the coast. With his new friend, Lighthouse George, a fisherman from the famed Makah whaling tribe, Nathan paddles the fierce waters of the Pacific -- fishing, hunting seals, searching for clues. Alone in the forest, Nathan discovers a ghostly canoe and a skeleton that may unlock this mystery of ancient treasure, betrayal... And murder.
Far North: From the window of a small float plane, 15-year-old Gabe Rogers is getting his first look at Canada's magnificent Northwest Territories with Raymond Providence, his roommate from boarding school. Below is the spectacular Nahanni River: wall-to-wall whitewater racing between sheer cliffs and plunging over Virginia Falls. The pilot sets the plane down on the lake-like surface of the upper river for a closer look at the thundering falls. Suddenly the engine quits. The only sound is a dull roar downstream, as the Cessna drifts helplessly toward the falls.... With the brutal subarctic winter fast approaching, Gabe and Raymond soon find themselves stranded in Deadmen Valley. Trapped in a frozen world of moose, wolves, and bears, two boys from vastly different cultures come to depend on each other for their very survival.
Downriver: No adults, no permit, and no river map. 15-year-old Jessie and her six companions from Discovery Unlimited, an outdoor education program she's been sent to by her father, "borrow" the company's rafting gear and take off down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon on their own. Floating beneath sheer red walls, camping on white sand beaches, exploring caves and waterfalls, Jessie and the others are at first having the time of their lives. Pursued by helicopters, they boldly push on into the black-walled inner gorge, the heart of the Grand Canyon, only to encounter huge rapids, bone-chilling rain, injuries, and conflict within the group. What will be the consequences of their reckless adventure?
Beardream: When spring arrives in the mountains, the bears emerge from their dens -- all but one. The Great Bear thinks he is awake, but he is still dreaming. In a village below the mountains, a boy everyone calls Short Tail is concerned that no one has seen the Great Bear. Is he still sleeping? If he doesn't wake, he will starve. Short Tail climbs into the mountains to find the Great Bear and slips into a dream of his own, a magical dream in which he finds the Great One. In return for his thoughtfulness and respect, Short Tail is shown a marvelous secret, the bears' dance, to be shared with all of his people.
Howling Hill: Hanni the wolf pup is playing happily with her family by the river when suddenly all that is familiar slips away from her: She is swept downstream clinging to a log, until her entire pack disappears from sight. Now, for the first time, Hanni must face perilous waters, roaring falls, and chilling winds alone. Once ashore, how will she ever find her way through the vast snowy landscape to return home again? With courage, persistence, and a little help from a bear who can't sleep, Hanni finds her way back, discovering along the way her voice within. This delightful adventure brings a touch of warmth to the cold, far north, where wolves sing pure and deep at the top of Howling Hill.
Critics and readers alike have lauded the works of Will Hobbs. The American Library Association has named seven of his novels as Best Books for Young Adults, including Bearstone, Downriver, the Big Wander, Beardance, Far North, the Maze, and Jason's Gold. The ALA also named Far North and Downriver to their list of the 100 best Young Adult Books of the Twentieth Century. Ghost Canoe received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1998 for Best Young Adult Mystery. Other awards include the California Young Reader Medal, the Western Writers of America Spur Award, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, and the Colorado Book Award. Hobbs has been nominated to state award lists in more than thirty states.
Many similarities can be seen across Hobbs' books. Most of his books are outdoor adventures, filled with danger and excitement, and serving to communicate to the reader Hobbs' own love of natural surroundings. He rarely dabbles in fantasy, with Kokopelli's Flute being a major exception. Instead, Hobbs relies on more realistic settings for his stories, especially places he has visited himself. In fact, all of his books are based upon his personal life experiences, or a field of personal interest that he has researched. The main characters of his stories are young adults, with subtle but complex personal issues that help fuel the conflict of the story.
Hobbs is known for the memorable characters he creates to drive his novels. One such character is Cloyd Atcitty, the protagonist of Bearstone, and its sequel, Beardance. Cloyd is a young Native American man of the Ute tribe. We learn through him of the sacred bond his people felt with bears. In both novels, Cloyd goes to great lengths and places himself in danger to protect the lives of bears, as well as his friend. Cloyd also touches upon the metaphysical; he dreams of bears and receives important messages in this way that help him to develop a greater understanding of himself and his heritage.
Hobbs' style of writing is extremely descriptive. He considers a major breakthrough in his writing to have come about when he learned to describe scenes using all five of the senses. His descriptions of places are vivid and lively; many of them are places that he himself has visited at one time or another, and he draws upon firsthand experience of natural sites to great effect. Hobbs uses his characters to grapple with contemporary social themes, especially regarding young adults, such as independence and apathy, or the response to…