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Fictional Survival Stories
Small Spaces by
New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn't think--she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with "the smiling man," a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price. Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn't have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: "Best get moving. At nightfall they'll come for the rest of you." Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie's previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver's warning. As the trio head out into the woods--bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them--the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: "Avoid large places. Keep to small." And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.
Lions and Liars by
Frederick Frederickson has a food-chain theory about life. There are lions, like the school bully. Gazelles, like the bullied kids. There are meerkats, and the fleas that live on the butts of meerkats. Frederick's a flea. Fifth grade is off to a terrible start when Frederick is sent to a disciplinary camp for troublesome boys. His fellow troop mates--Nosebleed, Specs, The Professor, and little-yet-lethal Ant Bite--are terrifying. But in between trust-building exercises and midnight escape attempts, a tenuous friendship grows between them. Which is lucky, because a Category 5 hurricane is coming and everyone will have to work together--lions and fleas alike--to survive! Kate Beasley outdoes herself in this hilarious, whip-smart tale of brotherhood, survival, and what it really means to be a friend.
The Disaster Days by
Hatchet meets The Babysitters Club in this middle grade chapter book, that tells the epic and thrilling survival story about pushing oneself to the limit in the face of a crisis. Hannah Steele loves living on Pelling, a tiny island near Seattle. It's a little disconnected from the outside world, but she's always felt completely safe there. Which is why when she's asked one day to babysit after school, she thinks it's no big deal. Zoe and Oscar are her next-door neighbors, and Hannah just took a babysitting class that she's pretty sure makes her an expert. She isn't even worried that she left her inhaler at home. Then the shaking begins. The terrifying earthquake only lasts four minutes but it changes everything, damaging the house, knocking out the power, and making cell service nonexistent. Even worse, the ferry and the bridge connecting the kids to help--and their parents--are both blocked. Which means they're stranded and alone with Hannah in charge, as things go from bad to dangerous. The Disaster Days is a perfect gift for preteen survival story fans.
The Wild Robot by
Can a robot survive in the wilderness? When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is all alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is--but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a violent storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island's unwelcoming animal inhabitants. As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home--until, one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her. From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide.
Storm Blown by
A major hurricane is raging across the southern United States, and two unsuspecting kids are about to have the adventure of a lifetime! Perfect for kids who love high-stakes plots and natural disaster movies, and anyone interested in extreme weather! A little rain and wind don't worry Alejo--they're just part of life at the beach. As his padrino says, as long as there are birds in the waves, it's safe. When people start evacuating, though, Alejo realizes things might be worse than he thought. And they are. A hurricane is headed straight for Puerto Rico. Emily's brother, Elliot, has been really sick. He can't go outside their New Orleans home, so Emily decides to have an adventure for him. She's on a secret mission to the tiny island Elliot loves. She's not expecting to meet up with an injured goose or a shy turtle. And nothing has prepared her for Megastorm Valerie. Soon Alejo and Emily will be in Valerie's deadly path. Who will survive?
Last Day on Mars by
It is Earth year 2213--but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we have prepared for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home. Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity's survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed. Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a dangerous struggle for survival.
Forgotten City by
Survival is just the beginning in this action-packed middle grade adventure that's Mad Max for kids. Thirteen years ago, the world ended. A deadly chemical called Waste began to spread across the globe, leaving devastation in its wake. Millions died. Cities fell into chaos. Anything the Waste didn't kill, it mutated into threatening new forms. Kobi has always believed he and his dad were the only survivors. But when his dad goes missing, Kobi follows his trail--and discovers a conspiracy even deadlier than the Waste itself. Nonstop action, chilling dangers, and edge-of-your-seat twists make this gripping, fast-paced read perfect for young readers who love survival adventures like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet and dystopian series like Jeanne DuPrau's City of Ember.
Island War by
Izzy has come to the remote Aleutian Island in 1941 because her mother is studying the rare birds there. Matt has been dragged there by his father, who has a secret job for the U.S. government. Neither is a fan of the other. But then the U.S. is suddenly at war, Japanese soldiers invade the island, and Izzy and Matt become the only Americans to evade the evacuation to a Japanese concentration camp. Differences must be put aside, now that they must rely on themselves to hide from the Japanese left behind and survive the harsh winter and Allied bombing raids.
A New York Times bestseller! It's 1945, and the world is in the grip of war. Hideki lives on the island of Okinawa, near Japan. When WWII crashes onto his shores, Hideki is drafted into the Blood and Iron Student Corps to fight for the Japanese army. He is handed a grenade and a set of instructions: Don't come back until you've killed an American soldier. Ray, a young American Marine, has just landed on Okinawa. He doesn't know what to expect -- or if he'll make it out alive. He just knows that the enemy is everywhere. Hideki and Ray each fight their way across the island, surviving heart-pounding ambushes and dangerous traps. But when the two of them collide in the middle of the battle, the choices they make in that instant will change everything. From the acclaimed author of Refugee comes this high-octane story of how fear can tear us apart, and how hope can tie us back together.
Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world... Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America... Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe... All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangersfrom drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end. This action-packed novel tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.
The Trail by
An exciting and deeply moving story of survival, courage, and friendship on the Appalachian Trail. Toby has to finish the final thing on The List. It's a list of brave, daring, totally awesome things that he and his best friend, Lucas, planned to do together, and the only item left is to hike the Appalachian Trail. But now Lucas isn't there to do it with him. Toby's determined to hike the trail alone and fulfill their pact, which means dealing with the little things -- the blisters, the heat, the hunger -- and the big things -- the bears, the loneliness, and the memories. When a storm comes, Toby finds himself tangled up in someone else's mess: Two boys desperately need his help. But does Toby have any help to give? The Trail is a remarkable story of physical survival and true friendship, about a boy who's determined to forge his own path -- and to survive.
Eleven-year-old Travis and his family are on a whale watch off the coast of Washington when disaster strikes. The boat capsizes, throwing everyone into the ice-cold chaotic waves. Separated from their families and struggling to stay afloat, Travis and twelve-year-old Marina must use all of their grit and knowledge to survive. With seventeen years of hands-on experience and training in remote areas, survival expert Terry Lynn Johnson (Ice Dogs;Sled Dog School) creates on-the-edge-of-your-seat storytelling featuring the real skills that kids need to survive a disaster. This book includes Coast Guard-approved cold-water survival tips; you may have a better chance of surviving a real-life cold-water disaster after reading this book. Stay calm. Stay smart. Survive.
The Explorer by
From Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner Katherine Rundell comes an exciting new novel about a group of kids who must survive in the Amazon after their plane crashes. Fred, Con, Lila, and Max are on their way back to England from Manaus when the plane they're on crashes and the pilot dies upon landing. For days they survive alone, until Fred finds a map that leads them to a ruined city, and to a secret.
Mutt's Promise by
Luna is a farm puppy who loves to dance, and has only known a happy, serene life surrounded by her mother, Mutt, and her siblings, and cared for by Gilberto, the son of farm workers. But now Gilberto and his parents have moved on, and Mr. Thomas the farmer doesn't feel he can take care of a whole family of dogs. He finds new homes for the puppies, not realizing that the man who took Luna and her brother does not have their best interests at heart. Luna and Chief, hungry and scared, are trapped in the smelly barn of a puppy mill-until they take matters into their own paws and find a way to escape. But can Luna and Chief find their way home? With a lovable cast of animal characters and endearing illustrations, this charming story is a perfect read-aloud for fans of classic children's novels like Gentle Ben, A Cricket in Times Square, and Shiloh.
Boy X by
His mother is a scientist. His dad was a soldier. Ash is something new altogether. Kidnapped, Ash McCarthy wakes up on a remote tropical island. Why is he there? What is this medical facility around him? Most importantly, what's happening inside of him? Ash needs answers. He has twenty-four hours to get them. To escape, Ash must risk his life. But what's more dangerous: the jungle, his captors, or the mysterious chemical injected into his veins?
In the Red by
Michael Prasad knows he shouldn't go out on the Mars surface alone. It's dangerous. His parents have forbidden it. And the anxiety he feels almost every time he puts on a spacesuit makes it nearly impossible for him to leave the safety of the colony. But when his best friend, Lilith, suggests they sneak out one night, he can't resist the chance to prove everyone--including himself--wrong. As the two ride along the Mars surface in a stolen rover, miles from the colony, a massive solar flare hits the planet, knocking out power, communication, and navigation systems, and the magnetic field that protects the planet from the sun's deadly radiation. Stranded hours from home with an already limited supply of food, water, and air, Michael and Lilith must risk everything if they're to get back to the colony alive.
Survivor Girl by
In this funny, action-packed middle grade novel, Alison gets invited to be on her dad's reality show, Survivor Guy, and faces important realities about her family, self-reliance, and learning to work together with friends. 12-year-old Ali adores her reality-show celebrity father, Survivor Guy, and hopes to follow in his footsteps. But when he invites her on location, Ali is sure she won't survive one episode; until she learns the truth: The show isn't just her dad and a camera. It's a huge crew and set, with stunt doubles! When a wildfire strikes and Ali and two other kids miss the last rescue helicopter, suddenly, the fight for survival is real. Will she find the self-confidence she needs so they can work together and get out of the wilderness alive?
Deadly Flowers by
Kata, a ninja, embarks on her first solo mission, for which she must enter a warlord's castle and make sure that a certain sleeping occupant never awakens. But then Kata discovers that her target is just a young boy (and that her new accomplice is that boy's slightly older sister), and suddenly her mission is much more complicated than she bargained for. Faced with taking someone's life or confronting the dire consequences of failure in her mission, Kata must make a hard choice, one that leads her into a more dangerous battle than she ever expected. In this action-packed coming-of-age novel, Kata discovers that while a ninja must always act alone, humanity requires that you accept the trust and friendship of others.
Updated by O. Bell 12/2020