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The End of the Wild de Nicole Helget
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The End of the Wild (edició 2018)

de Nicole Helget (Autor)

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"Eleven-year-old Fern helps to take care of her impoverished family by foraging for food in the forest, but when a fracking company rolls into town, she realizes that her peaceful woods and her family's livelihood could be threatened"--
Títol:The End of the Wild
Autors:Nicole Helget (Autor)
Informació:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2018), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca

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The End of the Wild de Nicole Helget

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Fern lives with her stepdad Toivo and two little brothers; her baby brother and her mother were killed in a car accident. Toivo, a veteran, struggles to find and hold work (often through no fault of his own), and Fern's maternal grandpa wants custody of the children, but Fern wants to stay with Toivo and her brothers in the woods, where she often forages for berries, mushrooms, fiddleheads, and more. Fern has her mom's old recipe cards, which become the basis for her STEM project about food in the woods - the same woods that are in danger from a new fracking operation. Her two best friends, Mark-Richard and Alkomso, pair up to work on a "What Is Fracking?" project. Mark-Richard and his brother have recently been split up and put in different foster homes, and Fern knows that CPS is visiting her family soon as well - but caseworker Miss Tassel (actually Dr. Tassel) breaks the stereotypical social worker mold, listens to Fern, and stands up to Fern's grandpa. There is less resolution than in some middle grade books - there is a moratorium on fracking in Fern's woods, but it's still a possibility - and a dog does die, but life (in the form of puppies) goes on.

See also: Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King


"True learning comes from being open to wrong answers." (Mr. Flores, 13)

"Grandpa thinks he knows what's best for everyone without asking them." (25)

"I've seen corporations convince governments to do lots of crazy things." (Toivo, 91)

I don't know how he's making connections in his head. I've noticed that adults sometimes do this thing where they don't answer the question a kid has asked and instead start going on about something they're comfortable talking about instead. (94)

"Adults do all kinds of dumb things to handle problems." (Alkomso to Fern, 122)

It was easier when we agreed about everything.
But now I have to have my own mind. And she has to have her own mind. And somehow we have to figure out how to be a different kind of friend to each other. (180)

From Author's Note:

The struggles of Fern's family are ones I see often, which is why there's sometimes a rush to embrace any new industry promising employment, even when it is temporary, even when the downside is environmental destruction. (264)

We can't make informed decisions about food, water, or energy from a position of ignorance. (266) ( )
  JennyArch | Jun 26, 2022 |
Wow, there's a lot to unpack in this book -- in a good way, too -- sophisticated stuff presented in an accessible narrative. Good page space, nicely broken up by recipes, so it never bogs down. 11 year old girl, Fern, with a prematurely grey hair streak. In 6th grade, with 2 younger brothers and a stepfather. Her mom and the baby died in a car accident some time previous.

Her wealthy grandfather is trying to get custody of the kids from the stepfather. Stepfather, Toivo, is an Iraq vet who's coping, and who's struggling to find work. Supplements food sources by hunting. Fern learned a lot of foraging and cooking from her mom, so also brings in food that way. There is definitely a lot on Fern's shoulders -- a lot of child care, a lot of food prep and cleaning, but I think this is a perspective that many older kids in impoverished families would identify with.
Frakking has arrived in their community, and the book centers on the raging debate over whether the new jobs created outweigh the loss of wild spaces. This is well developed and presented for kids to think about -- Fern's Somali best friend comes down on opposite sides from her, and they still find ways to preserve their friendship and communicate.

As a counterpoint to the environmental relationships that are in flux, the book has diverse family relationships that are also shifting -- Fern and family, grieving for their lost mother and younger brother, torn between the money her grandfather has on hand and the ugly custody battle he's bringing. Fern's isolated neighbor, Millner, who owns the woods that are in danger and is the cause of her mother's death (fell asleep at the wheel), and also the owner of a pack of dogs that play a heavy role in the story. Fern's 2 best friends -- Mark Richard and his 2 siblings, taken into care when their house burns down and Alkomso, recent Somali immigrant, who's father is away looking for work and is relieved when he can return to take a frakking job. All of the kids have younger siblings, which adds another facet to their friendships. There's a mean girl club at school that periodically reappears, and have divorce as a unifying theme. The social worker who is in the middle of all of this is pretty kindly portrayed -- Fern wants nothing to do with her, but her influence helps solve some problems, and she turns into an unexpected ally.

On top of all of this, there's a STEM science fair competition coming up, their beloved science teacher is put on leave for protesting the frakking, and the new, fast moving trucks on Fern's road nearly kill her brothers. Heroic dog sacrifice happens instead. Grrrr. No more dead dogs, guys, that's not cool. Realistic, but not cool. Anyway, it's a lot. It's a surprisingly cohesive, quick moving read considering how much is going on. The characters are sympathetically portrayed, and it's a convincing encapsulation of daily life in a rural area where everyone's just trying to get by. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
This book tackles many "adult" topics in a friendly way. Death, poverty, and environmental protection are all topics covered in this chapter-book about Fern. I would have this book in my library as a teacher. The character is very relatable to students who may have faced some events similar to Fern. ( )
  CourtneyFink | Nov 5, 2021 |
Fern is a strong willed 5th grade girl who has a lot of responsibility. She is very skilled and knows her away around the forrest by her home like the back of her hand. When her beloved forrest is at risk of disappearing, because of the new fracking company, she must stand her ground and be brave to save it. ( )
  kaileestrand | Feb 4, 2020 |
Audiobook version. Preteen Fern is a worrier, lives in rural MI with her stepfather after her mother's death by accident, spends most of her free time babysitting her young bratty brothers and foraging in her neighbors old growth forest for food for their table. We hear how one friend has his home burned down & is sent off to a foster home, all of which is irrelevant to the story except for showing how awful the local families are. Her only school friend is an Iraqi girl, so we hear a bit about a different cultural approach to childrearing. Her stepfather has PTSD but apparently isn't receiving any disability benefits since they are constantly being dunned by creditors. Yet when push comes to shove he has no problem getting & holding a steady job at the end which allows him to buy real groceries for a change. One good theme is Fern's acceptance of the bachelor neighbor's suffering over being the cause of her mother's auto accident.
I wish I could say I liked this tale of a girl defending a local natural area from fracking, but too much of the story was unrealistic or just plain false. You don't get an immediate painful blister from touching poison sounds like Helget confused wood nettles with poison ivy. Although the season is pretty undefined, there is snow on the ground so any jewelweed (the mentioned antidote to poison ivy) would be dead--yet Fern is able to squeeze a juicy stem to treat someone's painful ivy blister. ( )
1 vota juniperSun | Jan 2, 2020 |
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" ... don't ever be ashamed of being poor. I've never met a strong woman who had an easy go of things early on." (p. 210)
"It's wonderful to have principles. But adults have to eat theirs all the time when life gets on them. You can't be so hard on people, Fern." (p. 210)
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Wikipedia en anglès


"Eleven-year-old Fern helps to take care of her impoverished family by foraging for food in the forest, but when a fracking company rolls into town, she realizes that her peaceful woods and her family's livelihood could be threatened"--

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