Treasure Chest
Far North
Far North

Gather information about the Canadian Northwest Territories, recently divided into two provinces.

One is called Nunavut, governed by native peoples, and the other is the western Northwest Territories.

You can have kids write to Northwest Territories Tourism, Box 1320, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, CANADA X1A, 2L9, and request tourist information and maps.

For more information go to this site.


Bullet Have kids search for books and resources on outdoor survival skills and wilderness survival. The book I mentioned in my author's note, Dangerous River by R.M. Patterson, makes fascinating reading, especially the parts about winter in Deadmen Valley.
Bullet I've written a picture book, illustrated by Jill Kastner, which is set on the Nahanni River and is a companion to Far North. It's about a wolf pup who gets separated from her family and has to survive and find her way home on her own. It's called Howling Hill, and includes several episodes which parallel events in the novel.
Bullet Using the map at the front of the story, make a huge enlargement map of the Nahanni Country that can be displayed in your classroom while the class is reading the book. Follow Gabe and Raymond as they move along, using colored pins or models that can be moved around on the map.
Bullet Art projects: Try drawing or painting the great falls of the Nahanni. Or draw the winter bear, all covered with ice. Perhaps you could make a hand drum, like the one of Johnny's that Raymond rebuilt. Or make a model of the raft the boys built, or a model of a log house like the one Gabe made toward the end of the story.
Bullet Johnny Raven's letter (Chapter 14) is very important in this story. Write a letter from Raymond to Johnny, written after Johnny's death, in which Raymond responds to Johnny's concerns and tells Johnny his own hopes and plans for the future.
Bullet Raymond didn't speak the Slavey language, and Johnny knew almost no English. Learn more about the languages of native people who live or have lived in your own area. Are there still people who speak or understand them? Are there efforts underway to preserve these languages? Did your own ancestors speak different languages? Does anyone in your family still speak or understand your family's traditional languages? Can a language go “extinct” if no one speaks it anymore? What might be lost if this were to happen?
Bullet What do you think was the most difficult decision each boy had to make in this story? What about tough choices? What have been some of your own most difficult decisions? Did Gabe and Raymond make the best choices? Did you?
Bullet Back to the Internet: See if you can find anything under Dene, Athabaskan, Slavey, Canadian First Nations, Nunavut, Canadian Northwest Territories. Gabe's dad was up there around Yellowknife working on diamond exploration. Can you find anything about this new diamond boom in the Northwest Territories?
Resources and Ideas for Teaching Will's Novels
Bearstone and
The Big Wander
Changes in Latitudes
Crossing the Wire
Downriver and
River Thunder
Ghost Canoe
Go Big or Go Home
Jackie's Wild Seattle
Jason's Gold and
Down the Yukon
Kokopelli's Flute
Leaving Protection
The Maze
Never Say Die
Take Me to the River
Wild Man Island
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