A novel beloved since its publication in 1959, Jean Craighead George’s My Side of the Mountain begins in media res. Its twelve-year-old protagonist, Sam, has left his family's crowded New York City apartment to live in the Catskills wilderness, while his parents believe he will be staying at his grandfather's farm. As Sam huddles in his tree house waiting out a fierce snowstorm, readers learn of Sam's adventures, in flashback - specifically how he discovered methods of survival in the wild, with a falcon and a weasel, and later a raccoon, as companions. Chagrined to need a little help in building a fire, Sam grows even more ambivalent about his singular, but lonely existence, when a teenage reporter-in-training finds him, interviewing him about his experiences. One day in June, Sam's whole family turns up to live at the farm, and while less than thrilled about this outcome, Sam realizes that he must find a way to solitarily live in nature, while loving and needing his family's companionship. Middle school and high school readers will love the descriptions of nature, and similarly recognize Sam's desire for autonomy.