Author: Gary Paulsen



Gary Paulsen's mesmerizing modern-day epic Northwind is a story of survival in Norway's remote Arctic wilderness — and also a stunning tale of the interconnectedness of the natural world, and one young boy's search for meaning and his place in the rhythms of nature. 

Twelve-year-old Leif is the orphaned son of an unknown man and a "sea-woman." As a baby, Leif was nursed with sour goats' milk and fed scraps, and as soon as he could walk, he was put to work on fishing boats. One day, the fishermen leave him in a far northern village with a group of "used-up and part-crippled old men." There Leif and his companions are approached by a mysterious ship that brings a deadly disease to the camp.

As the men die one by one, Old Carl sends Leif into the icy wastes in a handcrafted canoe with the admonition to "Keep going north and never come back." Alone on a wild, fjord-riven shore, navigating from one danger to the next, Leif begins to recognize the rhythms and wonder in the violence, beauty, and balance of the natural world. His struggle simply to survive soon becomes something more: a struggle to find his own place in the awesome magic of the world. 

Distilled from Paulsen's own experiences as a life-long sailor and lover of the natural world, Northwind is "a journey between worlds," a story about learning to be. Not to be anything in particular, but just to be. 

Gary Paulsen, best-known for his novels Hatchet, Dogsong, and Gone to the Woods,  passed away in the fall of 2021.

Your young readers will be thrilled, awed, and moved by this stunning novel, and its timeless call for each of us to remember that all things are not just connected but essential — and that we, too, can be a part of that connection, if only we take the time to learn how.