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Jason's Gold by Will Hobbs

Jason's Gold (1999)

by Will Hobbs

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This is a fifteen-year-old boy's adventure aboard a train, a ship and afoot as he journeys to the Klondike in the late 1800s.
Incredible discoveries await the reader of this survival tale.
  Randalea | Aug 7, 2011 |
WORST BOOK EVER!!! I didn't want to read this but my 6th grade teacher made me. ( )
  alst0905 | Jan 31, 2011 |
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my son as part of our history curriculum.

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Jason Hawthorn is on the other side of the country when he hears of the Klondike Gold Rush. The only adventurous one in the family he high tails it back to Seattle to convince his older brothers to stake him with their inheritance so he can go North. When he arrives home, he's astounded to find that his brothers were one of the first to leave for the Klondike and they left him a letter saying they had added his inheritance to complete their outfit and have made him a complete partner. With only $10 in his pocket Jason follows his brothers, trying to catch up to them as he goes. Along the way the reader learns the glorious and gruesome, adventurous, heroic history of the Klondike Gold Rush; completely rampant with lawlessness until you were on Canadian soil where the Mounties ruled with an iron fist.

Comments: I've always wanted to read Will Hobbs. I've always been attracted to teen boy's survival in the wilderness tales and many of his books seem to have that theme. This is the first book I've read by him and I was riveted, as was my son. We have the sequel here and my ds has requested we read it right away. The writing is fabulous, the detail is excruciating and the history is well researched.

As we follow Jason on his trip North he encounters adventures and hardships one after the other and the reader becomes excited with him, scared, worried and sad with him. The details of some parts are quite brutal. The author held nothing back in describing the details of White Pass and why it became nicknamed Dead Horse Pass. There are some brutal episodes in the story but there is also humour and a sense of accomplishment throughout. Due to my son's younger age, 9yo, I did edit on the fly as I was reading aloud somewhat, in extreme cases, for example there is a part that is very emotional involving dogs and at the end Jason turns around and observes the man has "blown his brains out". I said "he shot himself" as the scene had already affected the 9yo to the intended point. Therefore, I recommend the book for readers eleven and over, and as a read aloud for youngers.

It took the 9yo a little while to get into the book; it has a high vocabulary and no pictures but once Jason actually got started on his adventure his interest level piqued until he became very involved in Jason's plight and there was one point which made him shed some tears. I highly recommend this gripping story and while written by an American, it is a fascinating piece of Canadian historical fiction. ( )
  ElizaJane | Mar 30, 2010 |
My inspiration. Will Hobbs is incredibly insightful.
  kwisple | Sep 8, 2008 |
Hobbs, W. (1999). Jason’s gold. New York: HarperCollins.

Grade Levels: 7th – 11th grades
Category: Historical Fiction
Read-Alouds: page 1 (the story of the gold rush breaks), pages 30-34 (Jason getting tips from people along the way about what to look out for), pages 65-68 (getting supplies together for the trip), pages 85-87 (Jason’s encounters with the Tlingit tribe members), pages 109-115 (getting down the Yukon River), pages 133-134 (Jason spending the night by himself down the Yukon), pages 147-151 (the starvation and effects of the gold rush being described to Jason), page 162 (Jason eating just enough to survive), pages 182-183 (Jason’s encounter with the bear), pages 190-193 (end of May, beginning of June in Alaska), page 205 (Jason and Jack reuniting)

Summary: Jason Hawthorne is a 15-year-old boy that hops a train to Seattle, where he stows away on a ship that is headed for the gold rush in the Klondike. Jason and his dog join thousands of other prospectors hoping to strike it rich. He is forced to make this trip on his own after his brothers have left without him and with his inheritance. Jason encounters the sub arctic winter weather, bears, and moose. Jason is seeking shelter in a den that he thought was abandoned; however, the bear came back to the den. When Jason was face-to-face with the bear, he took his ax and delivered a fatal blow to its head. Jason ends up searching for his brothers and trying to survive.

The main theme of this book is survival. Jason is forced to survive in the Alaskan wild while he is trying to find his brothers and be a part of the gold rush. Another way that Jason has to survive is when he encounters the bear. Jason has to kill the bear in order for him to be able to live. Another theme of this book is the bond that brothers have between them. Jason risks his life in order to find his brothers that have taken off for the Klondike with the inheritance after their father dies.

Discussion Questions:
How would you deal with being in Alaska in the winter time by yourself?
What would be your first reaction to hearing about a gold rush?
If you had brothers that took off with your inheritance, what would you do?
How would you handle a close encounter with a bear?

Reader Response:
I liked this book because of the genre. I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction books in my life, so I really enjoyed how the author put a real part of history in his story. I think students would really enjoy reading this survival story about Jason. I had a difficult time wanting to put this book down because I really wanted Jason and his brothers to reunite. I spent a lot of time cheering for Jason to survive as well.
  AndreaTuttle | Aug 5, 2008 |
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for my brothers, Greg, Ed and Joe
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When the story broke on the streets of New York, it took off like a wildfire on a windy day.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380729148, Paperback)

"Gold!" Jason shouted at the top of his lungs. "Read all about it! Gold discovered in Alaska!"

Within hours of hearing the thrilling news, fifteen-year-old Jason Hawthorn jumps a train for Seattle, stow away on a ship bound for the goldfields, and joins thousands of fellow prospectors attempting the difficult journey to the Klondike. The Dead Horse Trail, the infamous Chilkott Pass, and a five-hundred-mile trip by canoe down the Yukon River lie ahead. With help from a young writer named Jack London, Jason and his dog face moose, bears, and the terrors of a subartic winter in this bone-chilling survival story.

00-01 Tayshas High School Reading List, 01-02 Young Hoosier Book Award Masterlist (Gr 4-6), 01-02 Young Hoosier Book Award Masterlist (Gr 6-8), 01-02 William Allen White Children's Book Award Masterlist, and 01 Heartland Award for Excellence in YA Lit Finalist

Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2000, National Council for SS & Child. Book Council, 2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA), and 2000 Quick Picks for Young Adults (Recomm. Books for Reluctant Young Readers)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:35 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When news of the discovery of gold in Canada's Yukon Territory in 1897 reaches fifteen-year-old Jason, he embarks on a 10,000-mile journey to strike it rich.

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