Beating the Winter Blues: Stories of Adventure and Survival

“It was too cold to go out; it was too wet to play…”

These familiar opening words of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat highlight the winter woes that descend this time of year. Tempers and daylight hours are short, temperatures and moods are low, and everyone seems to be catching a case of cabin fever. While the relief of a madcap talking cat bursting through the front door is unlikely, a wealth of adventure and survival tales are available to whisk young readers into far-off places, daring quests, and heart-pounding escapes. The books on this selected list of survival and adventure titles can be found in the Education and Social Science Library S-Collection. Additional titles in this genre can be located by entering “adventure and adventurers – – juvenile fiction” or “survival – – juvenile fiction” into a subject search in the UIUC online catalog.

Stewart, Paul
Beyond the Deepwoods (Edge Chronicles Book 1). 2004.
Young Twig lives in the Deepwoods, among the Woodtrolls, but he isn’t one of them. In a brave attempt to find out where he belongs, Twig wanders into the mysterious, dangerous world beyond the deepwoods.
[Education S Collection: S.St497b]

Lisle, Janet Taylor
Black Duck. 2006.
Years afterwards, Ruben Hart tells the story of how, in 1929 Newport, Rhode Island, his family and his best friend’s family were caught up in the violent competition among groups trying to control the local rum-smuggling trade.
[Education S-Collection: S.L689b]

Mason, Prue
Camel Rider. 2007.
Two expatriates living in a Middle Eastern country, twelve-year-old Adam from Australia and Walid from Bangladesh, must rely on one another when war breaks out and they find themselves in the desert, both trying to reach the same city with no water, little food, and no common language.
[Education S-Collection: S.M381ca]

Hausman, Gerald
Escape from Botany Bay: The True Story of Mary Bryant. 2003.
In 1791, after being transported to Australia in the first shipment of convicts, Mary Bryant, her husband, two children, and seven other convicts, unable to endure the terrible conditions of the penal colony, organize a daring escape in an open boat.
[Education S-Collection: S.H295es]

Stewart, Paul
Fergus Crane (Far-Flung Adventures Book 1). 2004.
Nine-year-old Fergus Crane’s life is filled with classes on the school ship Betty Jeanne, interesting neighbors, and helping with his mother’s work until a mysterious box flies into his window and leads him toward adventure.
[Education S Collection: S.St497fe]

Williams, Suzanne.
Flight of the Silver Turtle. 2006.
Ben, Zara, Sam, and Marcia begin their summer vacation by helping Professor Ampersand and a new friend build the Silver Turtle, a futuristic airplane, but on the day the first test flight is planned, a strange woman steals the airplane with the children inside.
[Education S-Collection: S.F222f]

Hopkinson, Deborah.
Into the Firestorm: A Novel of San Francisco. 2006.
Days after arriving in San Francisco from Texas, eleven-year-old orphan Nicholas Dray tries to help his new neighbors survive the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the subsequent fires.
[Education S-Collection: S.H77f]

Morpurgo, Michael
Kensuke’s Kingdom. 2003.
When Michael is swept off his family’s yacht, he washes up on a desert island, where he struggles to survive–until he finds he is not alone.
[Education Storage: S.M829k]

Fleischman, Sid
Midnight Horse. 1990.
Touch enlists the help of The Great Chaffalo, a ghostly magician, to thwart his great-uncle’s plans to put Touch into the orphan house and swindle The Red Raven Inn away from Miss Sally.
[Education Storage: S.F62MI]

Collison, Linda
Star-Crossed. 2006.
Having been discovered as a stowaway as she tries to reach Barbados in 1760 to claim her father’s estate, teenaged English orphan Patricia Kelley struggles to survive by learning to be a ship’s doctor and by disguising herself as a man when necessary.
[Education S-Collection: S.C697s]

Turner, Megan Whalen
The Thief. 1996.
Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone.
[Education S Collection: S.T855T]

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. 1990.
As the lone “young lady” on a transatlantic voyage in 1832, Charlotte learns that the captain is murderous and the crew rebellious.
[Education S Collection: S.AV51T]

McCaughrean, Geraldine
The White Darkness. 2007.
Taken to Antarctica by the man she thinks of as her uncle for what she believes to be a vacation, Symone–a troubled fourteen year old–discovers that he is dangerously obsessed with seeking Symme’s Hole, an opening that supposedly leads into the center of a hollow Earth.
[Education S-Collection: S.M459w]
Cabin Fever Cures on the Web
More fun ideas are waiting on the web! Check out the following sites for games, crafts, snow sports and more:

Coping With Cabin Fever
Lists suggestions for fun activities broken down by age group.

Beating the Bug: Defeat Cabin Fever With Creative Play
This article by Brenda Nixon offers a variety of imaginative ways to combat boredom.

Winter-Break Fun
Offers printable games and coloring pages, craft ideas, movie suggestions and many other ideas and activities.