Just by looking at the compact size of the book, I instantly knew that Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival ($12.95, Chicago Review Press, Ages 9-12) was a genuine how-to guide for kids. Author Denise Long, a former search and rescue volunteer, teaches survival classes for children. She has taken her vast knowledge and condensed it into this wonderful 222-page guidebook to help children learn basic survival tactics, should they ever find themselves in a bind.

The chapters of the book include topics such as What to Do if You Get Lost, Building a Shelter, Finding Water, Finding Food, Avoiding Dangerous Animals and more. There are simple line illustrations to complement the copy. I like the way the author gives explicit, understandable advice without talking down to the reader. “The most important things you can do to stay safe are actually very easy. First, tell someone where you are going, whom you are going with, and what time you’ll be back.” That’s practical advice we can all use!

Young adventurers will learn how to build a variety of shelters using items found in nature, such as digging a trench, as well as using a tarp, backpack and other camping equipment. They will know what to do if someone in their group gets injured, how to find water if they should run out, and how to learn to navigate in unfamiliar territory. The tips in the book are specific, helpful and oh, so important. In addition, the reading is really quite entertaining.

In this age of constant communication – laptops, cell phones, iPads – we tend to get farther away from nature, relying upon technology to get us through our lives.  Yet it seems that nearly every day we hear about a child (with no cell phone service or internet connection) who is missing in the woods or mountains after separating from an adventure group. If all kids (and adults too!) read Survivor Kid, perhaps there would be more happy endings to adventures gone bad. With the holidays coming up, this book would be a perfect gift for the young explorer in your life to read before an adventure trip and to take along on their next journey – with all the other survival essentials.

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