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THE SECRETS OF CHILKOOT TRAIL
Suse Wilcox, author

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Publish)

Pearl and Frances are eager to go on summer vacation with their grandparents. This year, they’re going to Alaska. The only glitch, if that is what it can be called, is that their grandparents will be bringing their first foster child with them. His name is CJ, and his father is in a hospital for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). CJ’s mother abandoned both him and his father after the diagnosis. Pearl is disheartened that the trip won’t be like those of the past where she and her brother experienced adventure while learning exciting new things about the area they visited. Frances is neither thrilled about CJ coming on the trip nor appreciative of the attention CJ gets from his grandparents. CJ, on the other hand, is wrestling with his family dynamics as well as his identity. After hiking along the historic Chilkoot Trail in Alaska, Pearl, Frances, and CJ have no choice but to rely on each other when they are taken astray by a gruegle, a keeper of the forest. They work to help all the gruegles save the trees from sickness and escape from the tyrannical Grand Gruegle. In the process, they experience the magnificence of the forest. They discover that trees look after each other through an amazing symbiotic relationship which mirrors relationships in their own families. In addition to learning about obstacles the forest faces to survive, Pearl, Frances, and CJ learn how they can survive by helping each other. Readers of The Secrets of Chilkoot Trail will gain an appreciation of the intricacies of forests and the intricacies of families and friendships.

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