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  • Writer's pictureCliff Jacobson


Yes, we can, Justin! Thanks to the recording talent of Saige Spinney - a professional voice-over artist - your story, Justin Cody’s Race to Survival, a high adventure tale and a wilderness skills book all in one, is now available in audio form.

It’s written for teens, but adults love it too!

Just click HERE for Audible and you’ll be set to listen.

If you prefer reading instead (or in addition to listening), click the following links for a hard copy or eBook.


The idea of writing a teen book about canoeing and camping (and wilderness survival) grew during a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters. As I cruised the lakes in my solo canoe, I observed that a lot of the paddlers I encountered had gray hair. The average age appeared to be about fifty. Yes, there were some young people… but not many.

I wanted to do something that would encourage kids to go canoeing and camping.

My thoughts: Suppose I write a downsized teen book that teaches wilderness skills? Nyah: The reality is that most kids have their heads deeply glued to their cell phones and iPads. They don’t go outdoors so they won’t read about the outdoors. The problem was: how to get teens off their tech device and into a book that would entice them to GO CANOEING AND CAMPING!?

I thought back to when I taught environmental science to 8th graders. Students would get very antsy when we got close to the summer break. Teachers tried a variety of tactics to “continue the learning and keep the peace.” Some gave end-of-course tests (finals!); others assigned heavy projects; still others showed movies. Me? I read them adventure books! Gary Paulson’s Hatchet was their favorite. It’s a wonderful story about a teenage kid who crashed an airplane and had to survive for nearly a year in the Canadian wilderness.

As much as I loved Hatchet, one thing gnawed at me: It was wonderfully entertaining, but it didn’t teach many useful outdoors skills. And that gave me a bold idea:

What if there was a high-adventure survival novel that taught practical outdoor skills?

Essentially, a “how to” book disguised as an adventure story? The fictional story would drag ‘em in, and the practical skills - which they could use when they went camping - would teach ‘em right.

Kids would learn how to make a fire in the rain, stormproof their camp, tie useful knots, find wild edible foods, survive an encounter with a bear or moose, and more!

And that’s how Justin Cody’s Race to Survival: High Adventure in the Canadian Wilderness was born:

A smartphone addicted thirteen-year-old is stranded alone in the wilderness after his outdoor expert grandpa is kidnapped! With no guide, no skills, and mysterious strangers hot on his tail, he struggles to navigate the wild, racing to meet a rescue plane… and hopefully his grandpa.

A how-to camp and canoe book disguised as an adventure novel – a first for books of this type.

Reviews have been wonderful – like this one from 13-year-old Joey Sullivan:

"Dear Cliff Jacobson, I started your book a day or two ago and I am almost done. I haven't been able to take my eyes off of it. I don't usually read a ton, but I have sat down for hours. And just by the way, I am being completely honest."

For more feedback, including adults who enjoyed it and learned a lot - check ‘em out HERE and find the links here for hard copy books, and the Audible version.


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