Susan William Beckhorn has agreed to participate in our Holiday Book Giveaway Extravaganza with her book THE WOLF’S BOY.
All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.
An outcast boy and a young wolf against an Ice Age winter . . . Kai burns to become a hunter and to earn a rightful place among his people. But that can never be. He was born with a club foot. It is forbidden for him to use or even touch a hunter’s sacred weapons. Shunned by the other boys, Kai turns to his true friends, the yellow wolves, for companionship. They have not forgotten the young human they nurtured as an abandoned infant. When Kai discovers a motherless cub in the pack, he risks everything to save her, bringing her back to live with him. But as winter draws near, Kai’s wolf grows ever more threatening in the eyes of the People. When the worst happens, Kai knows that they must leave for good. Together, they embark on a journey into the north—a place of unimaginable danger—that tests the power of friendship and the will to survive.
Award-winning author Susan Williams Beckhorn delivers a tale set in Paleolithic times. Inspired by modern discoveries, Susan’s careful research creates a vivid picture of a time when the first wolves came to live with humans and forged a bond that lives on to this day.
After publishing WIND RIDER (Laura Geringer Books 2006), which is about a girl who is the first person to tame and ride a horse, 6000 years ago in what is now Kazakhstan, I toyed with doing a “first dog” story. It’s been done, I thought. But I love dogs so much I could never be without one. I’d love to write that story! Then I remembered that a new reader hasn’t read every book out there—and well, not that I’m Shakespeare or anything, but it hadn’t been done by me.
When I started reading for my research, I discovered a big surprise. There really aren’t a lot of books for kids out there about the first dog. Jan Brett did a lovely picture book with that title, but it’s for very young readers. Ruth Craig did, MALU’s WOLF, but again I think of it as being for a younger audience. There are a few others set in prehistory with wolves as part of the story, and of course there’s THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, but Wolf in that story is a minor character, and it’s definitely not for kids!
I spent nearly a year reading every dog, wolf or prehistory book I could get my hands on. Then came the problem: Where do I set my story? Mark Derr, author of HOW THE DOG BECAME THE DOG, answered that question by suggesting China, the Middle East, or France—where the fossilized footprints of a boy and a canine, apparently walking side-by-side, were found in Chauvet Cave in 1994. Chills ran down my spine at those words! Those footprints became the germ of my story.
I wanted to give this project everything I possibly could, so once I had a draft of sorts, my next step was to take it to two different Highlights Foundation workshops. This was my first book with a boy protagonist, so attended Rich and Sandra Neil Wallace’s “Writing for BOYS.” Then, because I had worked with her before on my novel THE KINGFISHER’S GIFT (Philomel 2002), and knew how good she is, I took it to Patti Gauch’s two-part “Heart of the Novel” workshop.
When Stephanie Lurie at Disney-Hyperion called to say she was taking THE WOLF’S BOY to acquisitions, I called my husband sobbing. Then I had the privilege of signing with the amazing Brianne Johnson at Writers House, who handled the eventual sale, and working with the brilliant Tracey Keevan at Hyperion for the actual editing. Perhaps the more important thing this often-too-wordy author, trying to speak in the voice of a boy 25,000 years ago, learned was less is sometimes more!
All that I feel for dog, kids, especially kids with extra challenges, and the natural world is in this story. It’s been a thrill to see THE WOLF’S BOY getting starred reviews and being named to Kirkus’ list of best MGs for 2016.
Kids, animals, the outdoors . . . Sue Beckhorn’s award-winning middle grade novels and picture books revolve around these things. Her stories sweep from the dawn of time to the present, from myth to adventure. When not at her desk, she is happiest sharing her love of reading and writing stories with young people in her dynamic school visits. This year she is thrilled to introduce her new middle grade novel, THE WOLF’S BOY, Disney*Hyperion June 2016, inspired by the finding of the fossilized footprints of a boy and a wolf/dog? walking side by side in Chauvet Cave in France.
In the Morning of the World, Six Woodland Why Stories, Down East Books 2000
The Kingfisher’s Gift, Philomel, 2002, Junior Library Guild selection
Sarey by Lantern Light, Down East Books 2003
Wind Rider, Laura Geringer, 2006, Booklist and Kliatt starred reviews, Amelia Bloomer List, Book Sense Pick, University of Rochester’s Andrew Eiseman Award, also published in Germany.
Moose Eggs, or Why Moose Have Flat Antlers, Down East Books 2008
Moose Power, Down East Books 2010
Faculty member, 2008 and2014 Highlights Foundation Chautauqua Conference
2012 Ranger Rick Magazine Writing Award
The Wolf’s Boy, Disney*Hyperion 2016, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist starred reviews, Junior Library Guild Book Club Selection, Kirkus List: best MG Novels 2016.
Susan thank you for sharing your journey and giving someone a chance to win a copy of your book. www.suebeckhorn.com
Have a wonderful holiday!