Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. (English, Spanish, and audio) Aladdin, 1996. A thirteen-year-old boy is
lost in the woods for 54 days after a plane crash. He has only a hatchet to help him survive.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House in the Big Woods. Harper Collins Children's Books, 1976.
Pioneers carving out a home in the woods
Grahame, Kenneth. Wind in the Willows. Barnes & Noble Books, 1995. The animals are warned
not to go into the `wild woods.'
Middle/Junior High:
London, Jack. Call of the Wild. Simon and Schuster Children's, 1999. A dog is taken back to his
wild roots.
Golding, Arthur. Lord of the Flies. Putman Publishing Group, 1997. Boys' social organization
breaks down to savage behavior when they are stranded on an isolated island.
Robin Hood. There are many versions of this at various reading levels. The forest is a haven of
safety for a noble thief and his band. Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe also has sections on Robin Hood
and the forest.
High School:
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. Dover Publications, 1991. A man finds a wildreness in his
own heart and in the colonialism of Africa.
Cooper, James F. Last of the Mohicans, The Deerslayer, and The Pathfinder. The morality of the
wilderness is superior to the hypocritical morality of `civilization.'
Dante. The Inferno.
Raffel, Burton (translator). Beowulf. Mass Market Paperback, 1999.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Macbeth meets three outcast women in the woods. Burnham
Woods comes to Dunsinane, and terms of the forest are used metaphorically throughout.
Shakespeare, William. Midsummer Night's Dream. Humans become enchanted at night in the
forest by magical creatures good and bad.
Thoreau, Henri David. Walden, or Life in the Woods. Dover Publications, 1995.
Suggested Written Activities:
Students can demonstrate their understanding by writing an essay about the role and meaning of the
forest in their reading matter. They may refer to the puritan attitude and other roots of the portrayal of
the forest in their book or story, such as the medieval European tales, the Greek myths, Norse Sagas,
American Transcendentalism and Manifest Destiny, or biblical sources.
Students can demonstrate their understanding of the theme `wilderness' as treated by various authors by
writing a poem that depicts the role of wilderness, either in their literature or in their personal experi-
Students can do a comparative analysis of two works in which the forest is depicted. In the elementary
grades this could be a discussion about the forest in two or three different stories.
Students can talk or write about how the forest is viewed today as compared to the 17th through the19th
century, including comments about the economic, political, and aesthetic issues related to conservation
and exploitation of resources.