Middle grader’s drawing of “Where the Red Fern Grows” © Author Adventures

Wilson Rawls

Read about Wilson Rawls (1931-1984) and his writings here: bookrags.com and check out the Wilson Rawls memorial sculpture at the Idaho Falls Public Library, located at 457 West Broadway. The statue is named “Billy and His Dogs.”

The author, who was half-Cherokee, lived in Idaho Falls for eighteen years. According to bookrags.com:

“Eventually, Wilson traveled to Idaho. He began to work at the Atomic Energy Commission site in the Arco desert. Here he met Sophi Styczinski who would become his wife in 1958. Meanwhile, Wilson decided to forget about his dreams of becoming a writer because he thought that he had to be responsible. He burned all of the old manuscripts he had ever written. But when he told Sophie what he had done, she did not agree. In fact, she encouraged Wilson to keep on writing. And in 1961, Where the Red Fern Grows came out in a three-part series in the Saturday Evening Post.”

Where the Red Fern Grows

Where the Red Fern Grows, which became Wilson Rawls’s best-known work, is often required reading in schools for middle grade students. You can learn more about the 1961 classic book here: commonsensemedia.org.

“As I skipped along, it was hard for me to realize all the wonderful things that had happened to me in such a few short years. I had two of the finest little hounds that ever bawled on the trail of a ringtail coon. I had a wonderful mother and father and three little sisters. I had the best grandpa a boy ever had, and to top it all, I was going on a championship coon hunt. It was no wonder that my heart was bursting with happiness. Wasn’t I the luckiest boy in the world?” — Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows

Idaho Falls is a mid-size town in eastern Idaho and second to only Boise in number of residents. To see other literary landmarks in Idaho, click here: Idaho Author Adventures Trail. This is the last stop on our Idaho Trail.

Patricia Smart