68 pages 2 hours read

Where the Red Fern Grows

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1961

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Teacher Introduction

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

  • Genre: Fiction; coming-of-age
  • Originally Published: 1961
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 700L; Grades 5-8
  • Structure/Length: 20 chapters; approximately 272 pages; approximately 6 hours, 36 minutes on audiobook
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The novel follows Billy Colman, a young boy growing up in the Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression. Determined to own a pair of hunting dogs, he saves up money for two years to buy two coonhound pups, which he names Old Dan and Little Ann. Together, Billy and the dogs embark on hunting adventures and form a deep bond. The central conflict revolves around Billy's journey of friendship and perseverance and the challenges he faces while hunting raccoons and dealing with life's hardships.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Hunting themes; portrayal of life in a rural setting during the Great Depression; loss and grief

Wilson Rawls, Author

  • Bio: Born 1913; American author known for his heartwarming stories inspired by his own upbringing in the Ozark Mountains; grew up in poverty and worked various jobs before pursuing writing; Where the Red Fern Grows is his most famous work, often taught in schools for its themes of determination and loyalty; passionate about nature, animals, and storytelling; achieved success as an author later in life; continued to write despite health challenges
  • Other Works: Summer of the Monkeys (1976)

Related Titles

By Wilson Rawls