The best middle grade books that feature an adventurous journey

Terry Lynn Johnson Author Of Ice Dogs
By Terry Lynn Johnson

Who am I?

I’ve spent my life journey so far in the outdoors of northern Ontario, Canada. Before I became a conservation officer, I worked for twelve years in a wilderness park as a canoe ranger. I also had eighteen sled dogs and taught dogsledding and winter survival. I’ve always been drawn to reading adventure stories, so when I finally became an author (in my forties. It’s never too late), I naturally wrote the kind of books that I grew up reading. Now I love that I get to share my passions with readers.  I hope you find some books of interest on this list and join me on a journey into a new adventure.

I wrote...

Ice Dogs

By Terry Lynn Johnson,

Book cover of Ice Dogs

What is my book about?

Victoria Secord, a fourteen-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer, loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods is entirely up to her.

The author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself, and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.

The books I picked & why

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The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

By Dan Gemeinhart,

Book cover of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

Why this book?

Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, live in a school bus – which is pretty fascinating in itself. Who hasn’t dreamed of escaping to a simple life on the road every now and then? What makes this story even better though is the rich, quirky characters and how each deal with grief in their own way. A beautiful family adventure.

A Wolf Called Wander

By Rosanne Parry, Mónica Armiño (illustrator),

Book cover of A Wolf Called Wander

Why this book?

I adored this book! Not only was I astounded at the believable way the author expertly tells a tale from a wolf’s perspective (no small feat to be realistic here) but it’s also based on the true story of the actual wolf OR-7. I was fascinated to be drawn into this journey and world. And the scrumptious illustrations throughout are icing on the cake. 


By Roland Smith,

Book cover of Peak

Why this book?

Peak is a climbing addict in trouble with the law. But he gets to join his estranged father on an expedition to climb Mount Everest. The catch is that his dad just wants to use Peak as a promotion for his climbing company. Peak has to navigate complex relationships, all while trying not to die. I loved the adventure, but also the window into why so many risk it all to reach the top.

Alone in the Woods

By Rebecca Behrens,

Book cover of Alone in the Woods

Why this book?

The dialogue between the two former friends seriously transported me back to grade school. On top of the authentic voice, throw in the fact that these poor girls are lost in a National Forest with nothing but their bathing suits. Ugh! My skin itches with bug bites just thinking about it. The writing is so good, it also manages to make the Northwoods sound like a lovely place. 

The Last Bear

By Hannah Gold,

Book cover of The Last Bear

Why this book?

I love books that show a bond between humans and animals. Especially well-researched books. And this story certainly captures it all with a sweet encounter between a lonely polar bear and a girl. Between the environmental tidbits, the plight of polar bears, and also the unique storyline, this book should be on everyone’s radar. 

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