Gentle Ben, by Walt Morey
I can’t believe I never read this book as a child. I would have loved it! I recently finished reading this book to my 9yr old and both agreed it was a great book!
A little boy befriends and tames a brown bear in Alaska, before its statehood. The small town in which they live is less than keen on this, and the boy’s family is forced to make some hard choices. There are a couple of little twists in this story that keep the plot very interesting all the way through.
The relationship between a boy and his bear is just so sweet and the backdrop of Alaska and the annual salmon run which the town depends upon is so fascinating that I am making a mental note to get our family up there to see this someday.
Educational opportunities: brown bears, wild bears vs tame (are they ever REALLY tame?), Alaska towns/wilderness, history of Alaska statehood, salmon life cycle & spawning, fishing practices, and more.