Sadie Braves the Wilderness

written by Yvonne Pearson
illustrated by Karen Ritz
Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-681-34038-8

We drove for a hundred hours past a lake called Superior. 
It was as big as the ocean.

Sadie Braves the Wilderness


Sadie is bold in her description of the view outside her car window, but as her family sets off on a wilderness adventure, she’s not entirely sure she’s ready to spend some quality time in the woods. Aren’t there bears? And alligators? What if it starts to rain?

Sadie’s younger brother, Benjamin, doesn’t always know to be afraid, but big sister keeps an eye out for him and enumerates his concerns—which are really her own. The north woods comes alive in her imagination as she battles “monster boulders” and “growling waterfalls” and “flying dinosaurs.” Sadie’s spunky approach turns away these fierce foes as she and her family swim in quiet pools, hike twisting forest trails, and launch their canoe on a skinny lake. On the last day, a storm blows in, and Sadie is brave for Benjamin as the wind whips branches and rain beats on the lake—and her own fear disappears. In the end, there are a hundred new little rivers to play in. And Sadie just may be a convert to the appeal of exploring the wilderness.

illustration © copyright Karen Ritz, Sadie Braves the Wilderness, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2017

Behind the Book

Sadie’s story was born out of my own experience. My husband and I began taking our children to the Boundary Waters when they were very young, so young that all five of us fit in one canoe. We climbed cliffs, picked blueberries, swam in waterfalls, shared all of Sadie’s adventures.