Jack London (1876-1916) led a hard-scrabble life that led to becoming one of the foremost adventure writers of his time. His best known books are Call of the Wild and White Fang. He traveled through the US to the Wild West and north to the Yukon where thousands of people of his generation, mostly men, journeyed through treacherous conditions in the hope of finding gold. Most were not successful and, unfortunately, many died before they could return home.
An excellent non-fiction book about this era in North American history is Call of the Klondike by David Meissner and Kim Richardson. The book is the story of people reliving the late 19th century trek to the “Paris of the North” and includes rare photos of the original journey.
Call of the Wild
I have conducted several surveys of middle school teachers about which book most reached them when they were in middle school, one they would continue to recommend today, which led to exhibits of those books in the library. Which one checked out the most? Jack London’s Call of the Wild, which is available online, along with many other books by the author at https://www.gutenberg.org.
The newest feature film based on the book, though not an exact retelling, was released in 2020 and stars Harrison Ford. Read about the film here: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-call-of-the-wild.
The Author’s Cabin at Jack London Square
Head to Jack London Square in Oakland to get acquainted with the life of this exciting and adventurous author. Start by reading about it on the Oakland Wiki at https://oaklandwiki.org/Jack_London_Square. His “watering hole” is there, but not open to under-21s. All, however, can take in the giant mural on the side of the “Rendezvous” building, read several plaques about the place, and peer around the cabin through the window.
While on the road, have a passenger read about the journey of actor Eddie Albert and his friends when they traveled to the Far North to find Jack London’s cabin: https://www.whitehorsestar.com/News/late-actor-had-link-to-jack-londons-cabin.
Jack London’s cabin in Oakland. California, is the fifth stop on our Northern California Author Adventures Trail.