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Byers Lake Sept. 2017

My wife and I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and try to make at least one trip per year to Byers Lake to spend a few days hiking, canoeing, bird watching, and viewing bears from hopefully safe distances. The forest landscape in all seasons provides a backdrop of beauty, surrounding the lake.

Until this summer (2019), our last trip to Byers Lake was September 2017 when the landscape was an explosion of yellow interspersed with dark green from the many spruce trees that are part of the forest. The spruce trees are green all the time so you don’t notice them as much as the birches and aspens which change shades from light to dark green and then to yellow.

This June (2019) when Dana and I arrived at Byers Lake the landscape was starkly different. Most of the spruce trees that had been alive just 20 months ago were now dead or dying.

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Byers Lake June 2019

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Byers Lake June 2019

One result of climate change, which is accelerated in Alaska, is that the warmer winters are allowing the spruce bark beetles to survive in much larger numbers instead of being killed by the traditionally coldly temperatures, and the longer summers are allowing them to complete their life cycle in one year instead of two. The beetle larvae eat the layer of the tree that transports nutrients, effectively starving it. Although the beetles are a natural part of the environment, they are thriving due to the warming climate.

Byers Lake is but one of many places undergoing intense change in Alaska. As an Alaska fiction writer, climate change has naturally crept into my stories.

TheWildLands-CVR-AuthorApproval-2My recently published YA novel, The Wild Lands, is a survival story set in the future in a climate-change-altered Alaska. Being at Byers Lake made me feel like I was living in my novel even though the novel does not address the spruce bark beetle infestation at all. The Wild Lands (Macmillan January 2019), is a story that travels a path in Alaska 80 years in the future where the consequences of climate change play out.

My soon to be published middle grade novel, Follow the River (Move Books November 6th, 2019) also has a climate change element in the plot.

 

Paul Greci writes young adult and middle grade fiction. His stories are set in the Alaska wilderness, where climate change is an ongoing threat to the ecosystems.

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Paul Greci is the author of The Wild Lands (Macmillan 2019) and Surviving Bear Island (Move Books 2015), a 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection and a 2016 Scholastic Reading Club Selection. Forthcoming is Follow the River (Move Books March 2020) and Hostile Territory (Macmillan Jan. 2020). You can order all of Paul’s books here.

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The Wild Lands has received some great editorial reviews from the press.

Snippets of reviews, spoilers excluded, are listed below.

“This fast-paced book contains all the hallmarks of a classic wilderness survival novel (deadly terrain, vicious predators, literal cliff-hangers) and the best of the postapocalyptic genre … The author’s decades of Alaskan wilderness experience is evident throughout … A great high-stakes wilderness survival tale.” ―School Library Journal

“Heart-thumping suspense for readers who liked Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave.” ―Booklist

“Heart-racing… A rugged wilderness lover’s post-disaster survivalist tale.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Raw and accessible. Offering hints of Hatchet with markedly more manmade danger.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The themes of teamwork, choice and free will are incredibly well done … an intense and thrilling ride.” ―TeenReads.com

If you read The Wild Lands, please consider leaving a short review on Amazon or Good Reads–a couple of sentences and a rating will suffice. In this day and age reader reviews have an impact on the visibility a book receives and my hope is that people who are drawn to page-turning adventure stories will be able to find The Wild Lands.

Thanks for stopping by.

Paul Greci is the author of The Wild Lands (Macmillan 2019) and Surviving Bear Island, a 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection and a 2016 Scholastic Reading Club Selection. Forthcoming is Follow the River (Move Books March 2020) and Hostile Territory (Macmillan Jan. 2020).

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I had a wonderful author visit today at Barnette Magnet School in Fairbanks, Alaska. One hundred 7th and 8th grade students had read Surviving Bear Island. I was met at the door by two students who escorted me to their “old library” which is a warm open space. For the next hour I stood and answered questions from a very polite, engaged and interesting group of students. Every student had a journal to take notes. Because of privacy guidelines I can’t post photos of the students but here is one of me and Heidi Imhof, one of the teachers that used Surviving Bear Island in her classroom.

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I’m always amazed at the insights students have and today was no exception. When they asked me how and why I started writing fiction, I shared with them that when I worked in an alternative school and was designing and doing creative writing assignments with my struggling readers and writers, I discovered that I liked writing stories so if it weren’t for my students I may have never undertaken fiction writing.

Students teach teachers as much or more as teachers teach students. I’m still a teacher and I still continually learn about life from my students.

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We got to talk a little bit about my next book: The Wild Lands (Macmillan 2019), which comes out in January. It’s another Alaska survival story which you can read about on my website.

Right now it is a screaming pre-order deal on Amazon for $12.32. The regular price is $17.99!! Surviving Bear Island is now out in paperback for $6.95.

 

Thanks for stopping by!!!!

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From 2003 to 2007 I attended the ALAN Workshop, which is a two-day affair where up to 80 Young Adult Literature Authors give talks, sign books and make themselves available to converse with the 500 teachers and librarians who attend. I looked forward to the ALAN Workshop every year for two reasons.

1. The participants bring home a large quantity of some of the best of the year’s Young Adult Literature provided by publishers. As a teacher, I added these books to my Classroom Library.ALAN Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That’s me on my treadmill desk where I’ve done a lot of writing over the years.

 

 

2. As a writer, it provided inspiration for me to keep plugging away at my own young adult novel manuscripts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flash forward eight years and countless rewrites of several manuscripts, and the publication of Surviving Bear Island, and I got an invitation to speak at the conference that provided endless books for my students and ongoing inspiration for me as a writer.

 

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DSCN7094 I was on the Debut Author Panel at the 2015 ALAN Workshop. I was both nervous and excited in the days leading up to the Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But arriving at the Conference and being among all these people who love Young Adult Literature, some new acquaintances and some old friends, I really felt like I had come full-circle, that I had come home as a writer and a teacher after an eight year journey.

 

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Meeting Christine Taylor Butler, author of The Lost Tribes, and another Move Books Author.

Reuniting with Daria Plumb, an amazing Alternative Education Teacher and ALAN President.

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Reuniting with Kelly Sassi, former Fairbanks Teacher who is now a Professor of English and Education in North Dakota. Meeting her son, Max, for the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, thanks ALAN for providing a supportive home for writers, teachers, and librarians to return to year after year. We may not all make it there every year, but just knowing that its there, carrying the torch of keeping relevant books in the hands of teens, is reassuring.

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Talking with Terrill Sullivan, Bayshore Elementary School Librarian after the reading.

Talking with Terrill Sullivan, Bayshore Elementary School Librarian after the reading.

I had a great time reading from Surviving Bear Island and then signing books at the Alaska State Literacy Association’s Annual Conference.

Other presenters included:

SteveLayneSteven Layne–author of In Defense of Read-Aloud.

 

 

 

2696aClaire Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan–authors of Assessment in Perspective, Focusing on the Reader behind the Numbers.

 

 

 

 

photoLori DiGisi–International Literacy Association Board Member and English Language Arts Department Head at Fuller Middle School in Farmingham, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

richardson1Lisa Richardson–Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Alaska Southeast.

 

 

 

It was great to hang out with educators across the state who are passionate about Literacy. The Golden Heart Literacy Council and the Alaska State Literacy Association did a wonderful job of putting together a meaningful, interesting, and friendly conference.

Signing a copy of Surviving Bear Island for Tammy Mulligan. She and Claire went kayaking in Prince William Sound before coming to the Conference.

Signing a copy of Surviving Bear Island for Tammy Mulligan. She and Claire went kayaking in Prince William Sound before coming to the Conference.

10887107_593638450768945_837515248378900968_oThanks for stopping by.

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I was totally surprised this week when I got this letter in the mail regarding Surviving Bear Island. I feel fortunate to have a Representative who supports education and the arts.

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I’m happy to announce that Surviving Bear Island is now being used in two Children’s Literature Courses (one graduate and one undergraduate) at the University of Alaska Southeast. vert-colorA big thanks to the University of Alaska Southeast for adopting Surviving Bear Island for their courses.

10887107_593638450768945_837515248378900968_o   Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indie Bound

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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