It’s been said that the first casualty of war is truth. That may be true, but right on the heels of truth are holidays and celebrations. In the middle of war or other crisis, who has the time to bake a birthday cake or hang Christmas lights, and yet, nothing else brings a sense of normalcy than celebrating long-standing family holiday traditions.
In a post-SHTF world, how can a family continue celebrating special days when the world as they knew it has come to an end. Depending on circumstances, here are a few ideas to help you begin planning and preparing for right now.
1. Know how to bake a cake from scratch, beginning with grinding your own flour from wheat. Remember that wheat can have a shelf life of 20 years or more, white flour less than 2 years. Along with the recipe and skill, make sure you have all the ingredients for the cake and the frosting. Most of them will be quite inexpensive.
2. Begin selecting recipes for special days that requireinexpensive ingredients. Sounds silly maybe, but one of our favorite Christmas treats of chocolate mint bars ends up costing about $12 for a single batch! I know we can do better with a treat we’ll love just as much but will be easier on the wallet.
3. Use the inexpensive to create special moments and settings. I’ve always loved the look of twinkling white lights, and, surprise! they aren’t just for Christmas anymore! Why not hang a string of lights in your child’s bedroom the morning of their birthday or use them to decorate the backyard or patio for Independence Day. Look for them in the after-Christmas sales. Solar powered lights are even nicer, since they don’t require electricity and would be a great item to have on hand for power outages.
4. Many holidays have a signature food or dish that helps make the day special. For an inexpensive tradition that would be easy to continue through almost any hardship, assign a special recipefor holidays, making sure most of its ingredients can be stored in your long-term pantry. A Dutch Baby pancake is special and doesn’t require any “fancy” ingredients. Use your imagination and make sure everyone knows that this recipe will now be served every year on this special day.
5. Another food related treat is to allow the birthday girl or boy tochoose their favorite recipes for their special day. If that’s too risky, then you prepare a menu making foods you know they love and you just happen to have all the right ingredients for!
6. Be on the lookout all year long for incredible bargains on large quantities of something or another. Sounds vague, I know, but here’s how it worked out for me. One year I was able to buy a massive amount of pink tulle at an unbelievable price. When it was time for my daughter’s 5th birthday, we strung swathes of tulle from the center chandelier in the dining room to each corner of the room and let them drape to the ground. It was an amazing setting for her little-girl tea party. If you see something on sale and you can’t believe the price, snatch it up. You never know when it will come in handy. By the way, if you’re into frugal living and want a support group, join my 52 Weeks Savings Club on Facebook!
7. When my son was 7, he decided he was manly enough to use Axe shower gel and shampoo! So, on Christmas morning he woke up to find sample bottles of Axe products in his stocking, along with a well-wrapped piece of the Limburger cheese he had always wanted to try! Gifts can be practical, fun, and don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Pay attention to what people casually mention in conversations for inexpensive gift ideas.
8. Make it a habit to buy a few holiday decorations, including paper plates and napkins, when they show up in the discount bin at the store. Sometimes all it takes to make a meal or holiday special is eating it on Christmas Barbie paper plates!
9. Begin giving the gift of experiences, rather than things. I learned this a few years ago when my sister-in-law and her partner treated my husband and I to a magical dinner at The Melting Pot. I’ll never forget the evening but so often I forget gifts and who gave them. I’ll bet it’s the same for you and your family. A gift of a “girls day out” is something your mom, sister, or daughter will remember forever, or a “guys day only” for father and son. This is a gift of time and attention, things we all too often do not give to our loved ones in this fast-paced world.
10. Have special read-aloud books that are only read on certain holidays. We’ve always had a book basket filled with Christmas books that is pulled out only in the month of December.
11. Set special dates and traditions of your own. Families with adopted kids often celebrate “Gotcha! Day”, the day their child officially joined the family. Or make it a family “rule” that, “We don’t listen to Christmas music until December 1,” or “Our family always has a family bike ride to the park on Mother’s Day.” Dates and simple traditions give kids something to look forward to and help bond the family together. It also establishes what makes your family unique, as in, “Our family only eats pizza on Fridays!”
12. Stock up on candles and enjoy a family candlelight dinneron birthdays or Valentine’s Day. Any holiday, really. Kids have seen candlelight dinners in TV shows and movies, but to have one in their own home??? Wow! And, the nice thing for Mom is that it doesn’t even matter what’s on the plate!
13. In truly hard times, sacrifice a little bit each day in order to provide something special later. I’ll never forget learning about one of the moms in the ill-fated Donner party, who was stranded in a tiny cabin surrounded by snow that came up to the rooftop. She set aside tiny bits of food for weeks at a time just so she could tell her kids on Christmas morning, “Today you can eat all you want!” Even nickels and dimes add up when saved over a period of months.
14. Plan for attrition now. Sooner or later your stash of wrapping paper and ribbon will run out. How could you creatively wrap presents in the future? Christmas ornaments will eventually break, fade, or become otherwise unusable. How could you decorate a Christmas tree when your stash of ornaments dwindles? The products we normally use to make holidays special may not be as easily accessible in the future, so it would be smart to stock up on your favorite items now and plan for alternatives down the road.
15. Remember that your attitude sets the stage for any event. If you’re feeling depressed because the money isn’t there for expensive family traditions, the whole family will feel the loss instead of looking forward to a fun, new tradition.
Moms are wired to give and to want to give the best they possibly can to their kids, but consider this. Is it possible that we’ve put too much emphasis on things and other material distractions and have forgotten that we are what our loved ones want more than anything? I’ve seen parents sitting with their kids at expensive birthday parties, immersed in their iPhones or trying to impress the other adults by showing off their own new “toys”.
A difficult future is going to be made easier if family bonds are tight and the love is strong. There’s nothing quite like traditions and holidays to establish and reinforce those bonds, and tight times shouldn’t mean the end to these celebrations. Survival Moms are creative enough to overcome anything!
An evacuation can be pretty scary, even for adults. Just as there are all kinds of reasons to evacuate, there are all kinds of unknowns.
Running around gathering up all your stuff is pretty hectic, even when you have all the answers. From a little kid’s perspective, all that chaos can be overwhelming. You can easily diminish the stress of the event by holding regular evacuation drills with your family.
Practice is the part of emergency evacuation that is least exercised but arguably most important. It’s easy enough to buy a 72-hour kit and explain to the kids what it’s for, but it’s less easy to set aside the time for an evacuation drill. For some reason, this part of preparedness often takes a backseat. This is especially true if you live in an area that hasn’t experienced a natural disaster in some time.
In the spirit of research, (and also in the spirit of practicing what I preach) we finally set aside the time to actually, in real life, do a trial run of our evacuation plan. Here’s what our trial run looked like:
Before our drill, my husband and I sat down with the kids (ages 6, 4, 2, and 2 months) and planned out what we would be doing and who was responsible for what. Each child capable of walking would be responsible for his or her own emergency kit, comfort items, and shoes. Mom (that’s me!) would take charge of the baby and make sure we had all of her relevant supplies. Dad would grab some extra containers of water, and any handy snacks that happened to be in the pantry.
We made excellent time – all four kids were buckled in the minivan along with our 72 hour kits in 4 minutes, 55 seconds. We congratulated ourselves and took a victory lap around the block. It wasn’t until after we unloaded and put everything away that we realized we had forgotten a lot of stuff:
My youngest was born with a cleft palate, and I remembered to grab all her taping supplies for her face, but didn’t realize until after our drill was complete that her dental appliance had fallen out and was left behind in her baby swing. If our evacuation had been for real, that would have been an absolute disaster.
We learned some other things, too. Even though everyone knew this was for practice and we weren’t actually in any danger of zombie attack, my two-year-old panicked. “I can’t find my blankie! Where’s my other shoe?” I told her, as I was packing up the baby’s things, that she should check upstairs in her room, but for some reason she could only walk around in circles in the living room worrying herself sick. In contrast, my oldest had his shoes, socks, favorite toy, and 72 hour kit in hand and was the first one to be buckled into the car. The four-year-old cheated and found his own favorite toy and blanket long before I started the stop watch, the second I announced the evacuation drill.
READ MORE: Do most people think clearly and rationally when under the gun with a real life emergency evacuation? Read this.
We experienced a slight hiccup when the 2-year-old was unable to lift her own 72-hour kit. She struggled along with it out to the car for about five feet before collapsing into a puddle of toddler frustration. Only later did we realize that she had been trying to lift her older brother’s kit – the two kits are in identical bags.
My husband, whose brain switched into autopilot when we began our drill, briefly forgot that we had a fourth child. Not until we unpacked the car did he turn to me and ask, “Oh, no! Did we forget the baby?” (No.) In his defense, she was in a really quiet mood at the time.
So knowing how our trial run went – the good and the bad – how will this impact our future drills, or even a real evacuation?
Evacuations aren’t the only thing that we need to drill with our kids. Schools, businesses, and military bases around the world participate in fire and earthquake drills. If it’s good enough for Amelia Earhart Elementary down the street, it’s probably good enough for all of us.
In my neck of the woods, the local government sponsors annual earthquake drills. I’ve taken the opportunity to participate in them with my kids when I can (it usually involves hiding under the kitchen table), and I’ve found this to be very helpful. When the recent earthquake in Ecuador came up as a topic of conversation, my 4-year-old interrupted to say exactly what he would do if we experienced one at home. His personal emergency plan was exactly the one we had discussed and practiced as a family. That’s my boy!
Fire drills, admittedly, can be a little tricky because they often involve climbing out windows. All the more reason to practice! Invest in a decent fire escape ladder, and help your kids become comfortable climbing down them. If you have very young children who cannot climb on their own, then I encourage you, the parent, to become proficient at using a rope ladder while carrying a kid with one arm. I confess this is a skill that I have not yet mastered, but it’s one that I know will be really good to have.
If your kids go to school, they have undoubtedly participated in a school fire drill. Most bus riders have gone through a bus evacuation drill out the back emergency door. Some schools are even conducting active shooter drills as preparedness drills.
But have you had a fire drill in your own home? Have you talked about how and when to exit your car after an accident? Do they know what to do in case there is a shooter at the mall?
Parents tend to TELL their kids what to do instead of SHOW them. We say that in case of fire, we will meet at the big oak tree across the street. What we don’t often do is show them how to actually get to that oak tree. We TELL our kids, “Don’t get in a car with strangers,” but we don’t SHOW them how to fight back if someone grabs them.
As children get old enough to be home or out in public on their own, these drills become even more important because they will not have you to give instructions in an emergency. We need to prepare them, using active drills, to protect and potentially save their own lives.
It’s early in the morning. The kids are still asleep and the sun is just starting to rise. I’ve woken to use the restroom but decide, since I’m up, it’s a great time for a drill. I poke the test button for the smoke detector, go into my daughter’s bedroom and yell, “FIRE DRILL! FIRE DRILL! FIRE DRILL!” She realizes what is happening and rolls out of bed. She hurries to the door and places her hand on it. “The door is hot!” I shout. She turns to the window, unlatches and opens it, removes the screen and crawls out the window.
I then proceed to my son’s room. He feels the door for for heat. “The door is not hot!” He grabs a shirt to cover his mouth, opens the door, and begins to low crawl down the hallway. He makes it all the way to the front door, unlocks it, and goes outside to our meeting point across the street where his sister is already waiting.
After the drill, we talk about the possibility of going to a neighbor to call 911 and what, if anything, they could have done differently.
Sometimes during a drill I throw a curve ball. “The windows are stuck! You can’t get them open!” We then talk about it being okay to use a chair to break the window and place a blanket over the window sill to prevent cuts from broken glass. I have them pick up a chair and practice swing it so they get an idea of how heavy it is and the kind of force they would need to use. Another test: “The cat is meowing in the hallway!” As much as we love them, their job is NOT to go after the pets.
The first time we ran through this drill, I learned that not only did my daughter not know how to work the window locks, but that her skinny arms weren’t strong enough to actually open the window. She ended up practicing opening the window every few days until she figured out a way to leverage her body weight and get them open.
If you live in a two story home, you should have a fire ladder. (You do have one in each upstairs bedroom, right?) But have you actually ever used it? Don’t just have it sitting in the box hoping you’ll never need it. You do not want your child to try to figure out how to use it with a fire burning outside the door.
Some fire ladders are single use for emergencies only while others are multi-use and can actually be used in a full drill to climb out your window. Even with a single use ladder, you can show your children how to attach it to a window sill, what steps to take to deploy it, and tips for climbing out the window to safety. With a multi-use ladder, practicing climbing to the ground will reduce the level of fear of the ladder itself during a true emergency.
Children, young ones especially, need to be reminded that firefighters may look scary with all their gear on. Show them what a firefighter looks like and teach them that there is no such thing as a “stranger” when it comes to someone helping them out of a fire or other disaster. They should go with anyone who is there to rescue them.
Don’t just show your kids the multiple ways to get out of the house if it is on fire. Also show them all the ways your home is protected to prevent fire. Show them the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers and explain how they work. Teach them of the importance of not leaving the kitchen when something is cooking on the stove top and to unplug curling irons and toasters. Remind kids that matches, lighters, and candles are not toys and shouldn’t be used except with permission from an adult, while also teaching how to properly use and extinguish them.
These drills follow the same line of thinking as the fire drill. Even if your area isn’t prone to these types of disasters, teaching your children how to respond to them is still a good idea. Show them some short videos on tornado and storm safety, teach them safe earthquake response, and then later start a drill when they aren’t expecting it.
“Don’t get in a car with strangers.” It’s good advice, but does your child know how to fight off a larger adult who has grabbed them? You’ve probably also taught your children not to hit or kick or bite. But does that include against strangers who are trying to abduct them? Be sure your children understand that any level of violence from them is acceptable when fighting off someone who is trying to hurt them.
Find a self defense for kids class in your town so they can not only learn practical ways to fight back, but they can also practice hitting and kicking. Believe it or not, most people, adults included, don’t know how to effectively hit another person in their own defense.
I was in a fairly serious car accident a few years ago. No one was badly hurt but three cars were smashed up, and fortunately my children were not in the car with me. In the immediate moments after the crash I sat their dumbfounded and needed to be given instructions to get out of the car. I learned that I needed to discuss this with the kids.
If we are in an accident, what should you do? If the driver or another adult is able to give instruction, kids are to comply. But what if the adult is unconscious or otherwise unable to help? If you are able, undo seat belts and get yourself and your siblings out of the car together. WATCH FOR OTHER CARS when leaving the vehicle. If someone is very injured, leave them in place and get help. If they learn nothing else, the two rules for a car accident are: if you’re able to leave the vehicle, do so… and watch out for other cars.
This is the hardest one for a lot of families. We worry about scaring our children. We don’t want to even think about our children being in an active shooter situation. But teaching your kids what gunfire sounds like, the difference between hiding and taking cover, and what to do if they find themselves in this situation could mean the difference between life and death.
The run-hide-barricade-attack training response is good for older children in school who will potentially have the ability to make their own decisions in an active shooter scenario. It is also good information for all children who find themselves at other public places (like malls, sporting events, restaurants, etc) when a shooter arrives.
Sometimes when we are in a store or restaurant, I will ask my kids, “If you heard gunshots right now, what would you do?” Depending on their answers and the situation, I might ask additional questions to get them thinking about a plan. For yourself, or for older children, consider this short video training for active shooter response.
What’s one of the cardinal rules when we leave children at home on their own? Don’t open the door to strangers! Have you told your children what to do if a stranger comes in anyway? As soon as someone starts to force their way into the house, your children should leave out another door, preferably on the other side of the home and then go to a trusted neighbor for help. If they cannot leave the house for some reason, grabbing a phone and hiding while calling 911 is the best response. Again, don’t just talk about what to do. Actually practice running out an alternate door and going room to room to identify good hiding places.
My children have been very fortunate to be able to participate in “Be Ready Camp” sponsored by the State of Alabama. One of the most important things they learned was basic first aid. They were taught with a hands on approach how to stop bleeding, splint a broken bone, and more.
Children can also learn CPR and use it effectively. If you can’t find a local class that will teach children, talk to your child’s school about teaching a course to students or purchase a kit to bring home to teach your kids yourself.
This is a new one for my family. While I had given the “Say no to drugs” and “Don’t get into a car with someone who has been drinking” lectures, we hadn’t had real, applicable discussions about these situations. I read an article recently that talked about this very thing and it was a light bulb moment for me. We can’t just TELL our kids not to drink, but instead we must help them find the words to use when the situation happens. Kids often want to say no, but they just don’t know how. I won’t rehash the whole article, but go read it. Failing to know what to do in these social situations can lead to a personal or family disaster just as devastating as any of the other incidents mentioned here.
Children are capable of handling more information at an earlier age than many parents give them credit for. We’ve all heard of the stories where a very young child calls 911, or a child who has been taught survival techniques is able to save their own life. You know your child better than anyone else. Keep the lessons and skills age appropriate.
The idea is not to scare your children or have their thoughts constantly filled with “what ifs.” The discussions and drills I have with my family my seem extreme to some, but it works for us and my kids are well-adjusted, prepared individuals. Decide how much preparedness you want to teach your own kids and begin to drill them. Without the drill, the information might be lost in time. Every skill you give them is one that might save their lives.
As I write this, I’m sitting in our family room contemplating what, if anything, I would grab on my way out the door in an emergency evacuation. As it turns out, other than this laptop, there’s really nothing else of vital importance, except our three dogs. Scanning my kitchen, I came to the same conclusion. I’d leave my three sets of crystal stemware behind (what was I thinking when I bought that stuff???) as well as my knife block and pots and pans.
For the most part, items of real, immediate value are found in our bedrooms: changes of clothing, sturdy shoes, toiletries, and some financial records. My Grab-n-Go Binder needs to be updated as do the clothes in our family 72 Hour Kit. Could we evacuate in 30 minutes? As it stands right now, no. I need to repack our Bug Out Bags/72 Hour Kits and make sure our most important papers are all in one, handy place.
Could your family evacuate in 30 minutes? Run through this assignment together one night this week, and see how close you are to that 30 minute deadline. Here are a few steps to get your evacuation plan streamlined and speedy.
Once you have your plans and preparations in order, it’s time. Yell out, “Evacuate! Evacuate!”, set a timer, and see how close you get to that thirty minute goal. Evaluate the results.
An evacuation is an extremely tense and fearful experience. Just ask anyone who has had to run for their lives from an oncoming flood or firestorm. Preparedness helps take some of the panic out of the process, and when the whole family is informed and is involved with the planning, you can count on getting out quickly and efficiently.
Do you want to inspire your kids to be free and self-sufficient? There’s nothing better than a good book to point them in the right direction.
My kids are total bookworms, so I enlisted their help to compile this list of favorites. Some folks may pooh-pooh the idea of fiction as a teaching tool, but reading about a character who is smart, adaptable, self-reliant, and skilled can influence the way your child or teenager thinks. These books are not all specific to kids in prepper families – many of them are just tales of kids who are put into situations in which they must rely on their wits and courage to survive, while others outline the dangers of too much government.
In no particular order, (and just in time for Christmas) here is a list of favorites from the Luther Family Library of Awesome and Influential Books. I’ve included a little synopsis from Amazon with each book.
This 9 book set follows the adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family from their little homestead in the middle of the frigid Northern forest of her younger years through the journey west on a wagon train, farming, education in a one-room school house, up until Laura becomes an adult and gets married.
There’s something about orphans struggling to get by that inspires great works of fiction, and this vintage series is no exception. The Alden children begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process they find a grandfather they never knew they had.
The world can be a scary place! There are snowstorms and mean snakes, hot jungles and wild rivers. But intrepid adventurer Jake and his dog Miller aren’t scared —they’re prepared! In Jake & Miller’s Big Adventure, young readers discover it’s never too early to start prepping. Learning how to use life-saving survival equipment like canned goods, water filters, first aid kits, Mylar blankets and emergency radios can keep you safe, healthy and happy even in the scariest of adventures—whether you’re deep in the jungle or hunkering down at home.
“This book is a cross between Dr. Seuss and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged,” writes the publisher. Younger children will enjoy the rhyming verse and beautiful, full-color illustrations on every page, while older children and adults will enjoy the strong message that speaks in favor of free markets and against excessive government regulation, bureaucracy, and taxation.
Prepper Pete works very hard to keep his family safe by preparing for events that may happen in the future… things such as power outages, bad storms, illness, and other disasters. Join our hero as he explores the many reasons to “be prepared” and fun things your family can do, too!
Prepper Pete works very hard to keep his family safe. When his son Charlie becomes old enough, they enroll in a gun safety class together. Join our hero, his son, and their friends in this fabulously illustrated book as they explore many of the important aspects of gun safety ***** A Note For grownups If knowledge is power, then in the case of firearms, “knowledge is safety.” Familiarity with guns for kids often helps avoid the “forbidden fruit” syndrome, which can create a safer environment. When they are an appropriate age, work with your kids to familiarize them with firearms, and always stress the importance of gun safety!
A unique and colorful conservative children’s book, “Founders’ Fables” helps families explain America’s most treasured values through the use of ten simple fables. These stories address the principles of the Founding Fathers and the concept of limited government through the use of funny and memorable characters. Each story, written in rhyme, begins with a quote from one of our founders and is followed by age-appropriate discussion questions and a short art activity to inspire the child to an even deeper understanding. Topics addressed within the stories include self-reliance, national debt, pork barrel spending, socialism, eminent domain, free speech and government intervention in business and private lives. This book can be understood and enjoyed by children ages 5 to 85!
The Newberry Medal-winning story of a 12-year old girl who lives alone on a Pacific island after she leaps from a rescue ship. Isolated on the island for eighteen years, Karana forages for food, builds weapons to fight predators, clothes herself in a cormorant feathered skirt, and finds strength and peace in her seclusion. A classic tale of discovery and solitude.
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. The series follows Katniss and her allies as they fight for their freedom from the tyrannical Capitol.
One choice can transform you. This series tells a gripping dystopian tale of electrifying choices, powerful consequences, unexpected romance, and a deeply flawed “perfect society.”
On a six-mile hike on the Maine-New Hampshire branch of the Appalachian Trail, nine-year-old Trisha McFarland quickly tires of the constant bickering between her older brother, Pete, and her recently divorced mother. But when she wanders off by herself, and then tries to catch up by attempting a shortcut, she becomes lost in a wilderness maze full of peril and terror. As night falls, Trisha has only her ingenuity as a defense against the elements, and only her courage and faith to withstand her mounting fears. For solace she tunes her Walkman to broadcasts of Boston Red Sox baseball games and follows the gritty performances of her hero, relief pitcher Tom Gordon. And when her radio’s reception begins to fade, Trisha imagines that Tom Gordon is with her—protecting her from an all-too-real enemy who has left a trail of slaughtered animals and mangled trees in the dense, dark woods…
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems. But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days. When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.
As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As readers witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, they begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization—and in the most charismatic leaders, the souls of the cruelest oppressors.
Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present—and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair—it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.
Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author ofThe Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.
High schooler Will Peterson and three friends journeyed to Central America to help rebuild a school. In a poor, secluded mountain village, they won the hearts of the local people with their energy and kindness. But in one sudden moment, everything went horribly wrong. A revolution swept the country. Now, guns and terror are everywhere—and Americans are being targeted as the first to die. Will and his friends have got to get out fast. But streets full of killers . . .hills patrolled by armies . . . and a jungle rife with danger stand between them and the border. Their one hope of escape lies with a veteran warrior who has lost his faith and may betray them at any moment. Their one dream is to reach freedom and safety and home. If they can just survive.
After clearing enough forest to build a log cabin for their new home, Pa returns east to fetch the rest of the family, while young brothers Daniel and Will stay behind to watch the land. Pa had planned to return within six weeks . . . but something must have gone wrong. Now the boys must survive the winter with only a few supplies and their ability to invent and improvise. But are they alone in the woods? Jean Van Leeuwen;s engrossing novel of pioneer survival is based on a true incident.
Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going–all the way to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he sets up house in a huge hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions and his wits as his tool for survival. In a spellbinding, touching, funny account, Sam learns to live off the land, and grows up a little in the process. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life. But his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger. No reader will be immune to the compulsion to go right out and start whittling fishhooks and befriending raccoons.
The year is 1868, and fourteen-year-old Alika and his younger brother, Sulu, are hunting for seals on an ice floe attached to their island in the Arctic. Suddenly the ice starts to shake, and they hear a loud crack–the terrible sound of the floe breaking free from land. The boys watch with horror as the dark expanse of water between the ice and the shore rapidly widens, and they start drifting south–away from their home, their family, and everything they’ve ever known. Throughout their six-month-long journey down the Greenland Strait, the brothers face bitter cold, starvation, and most frightening of all, vicious polar bears. But they still remain hopeful that one day they’ll be rescued.
Obviously, this list is far from comprehensive – it is a compilation of our own family favorites. I hope you and your own children inspire them!