Wild meets Gilmore Girls on the Trail, Just Keep Walking is a story of resilience and the healing and restorative power of wilderness and nature from acclaimed middle-grade and chapter-book author Erin Soderberg Downing.
Two years after her parents’ surprising and painful split, twelve-year-old Jo and her mom find themselves on the 100-mile hike on the Superior Hiking Trail along Lake Superior’s north shore—a journey that Jo had always looked forward to hiking with her dad. It’s not a situation that either of them ever predicted they’d find themselves in, yet here they are in the wilderness with their entire lives stuffed into a pair of thirty-pound packs.
Along the trail, they’ll suffer through endless aches and pains, scorching heat, and crippling self-doubt. They’ll encounter bears, moose, and other wildlife and meet and collect an assortment of unlikely friends. Day after day, Jo will battle the incessant thoughts that come in and out of her head. But as one obstacle after the next continue to test her strength and ultimate survival, Jo will have to confront her greatest fears head on and learn how to be alone.
What begins as a journey to prove to her father that she and her mom can make it on their own turns into a quest to rediscover their strength, build resilience, and prove that they can survive—both for themselves and for each other.
About the Author
Erin Soderberg Downing grew up exploring the forests and lakes of Northern Minnesota, and to this day, her best ideas for stories often come to her deep in the woods, where she can find plenty of creative space to explore and imagine. She has written more than fifty books, including The Great Peach Experiment series (a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection), the magical middle-grade novel Moon Shadow, and the Puppy Pirates chapter book series. Erin currently lives in Minneapolis with her husband, three adventurous kids, and two very fluffy dogs.
Praise for Controlled Burn
"Sensitively wrought... Soderburg Downing meaningfully explores the healing power of nature and the beauty of connecting with family in this vibrantly detailed adventure." -- Publisher's Weekly
"A gorgeous, tender, wonderful book. Controlled Burn is a testament to the power and beauty of everyday moments of bravery, compassion, and love." -- Anne Ursu, author of The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy
“A compelling and moving exploration of the bonds of family, overcoming fears, and the power of friendship.” -- Hena Khan, award-winning author of Amina's Voice