Cover image for Jason's gold
Jason's gold
Hobbs, Will.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Morrow Junior Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
221 pages ; 22 cm
When news of the discovery of gold in Canada's Yukon Territory in 1897 reaches fifteen-year-old Jason, he embarks on a 10,000-mile journey to strike it rich.
Reading Level:
860 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.5 8.0 32529.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.9 11 Quiz: 18562 Guided reading level: T.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



"Gold!" Jason shouted at the top of his lungs. "Read all about it! Gold discovered in Alaska!"

Within hours of hearing the thrilling news, fifteen-year-old Jason Hawthorn jumps a train for Seattle, stow away on a ship bound for the goldfields, and joins thousands of fellow prospectors attempting the difficult journey to the Klondike. The Dead Horse Trail, the infamous Chilkott Pass, and a five-hundred-mile trip by canoe down the Yukon River lie ahead. With help from a young writer named Jack London, Jason and his dog face moose, bears, and the terrors of a subartic winter in this bone-chilling survival story.

00-01 Tayshas High School Reading List, 01-02 Young Hoosier Book Award Masterlist (Gr 4-6), 01-02 Young Hoosier Book Award Masterlist (Gr 6-8), 01-02 William Allen White Children's Book Award Masterlist, and 01 Heartland Award for Excellence in YA Lit Finalist

Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies 2000, National Council for SS & Child. Book Council, 2000 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA), and 2000 Quick Picks for Young Adults (Recomm. Books for Reluctant Young Readers)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-9. The 1897 Klondike gold rush is the vivid backdrop to this harshly realistic novel. When 15-year-old Jason Hawthorn sets off from Seattle to the newly discovered gold fields, he has no idea of the difficulties of terrain, weather, and chronically short rations that lie ahead. En route he is befriended by a number of minor characters, including a young Jack London and a beautiful girl named Jamie. More important, Jason rescues a husky from brutal death at the hands of a deranged master. The dog, which Jason names King, becomes essential to the boy's survival. Rich in period detail, the novel is clearly the product of prodigious research. This strength becomes a weakness, however, when the research shows up as extended passages of exposition that slow the narrative pace and occasionally make both characters and dramatic incidents seem contrived. For most readers, these problems will be redeemed by Jason's heroic efforts to survive when winter overtakes him 250 miles short of his destination. Here exposition turns into epic as Hobbs reveals the immense challenges and hardships of surviving in the vast emptiness of the Yukon winter. In an appended note Hobbs discusses his sources and research. Michael Cart

Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A coming-of-age novel set during the Alaska Gold Rush of the 1890s. Jason Hawthorn, 15, heads north in search of riches and his older brothers who left Seattle as soon as news of the strike hit the newspapers. Along the way, he meets a feisty girl, a young Jack London, and many other colorful characters. The novel is filled with fascinating details about the period, from the excitement and high spirits of the first Klondikers to the extreme hardships and great disappointments suffered by so many. Jason never strikes it rich himself, but he eventually finds his brothers and they settle there. His perils include an icy canoe trip, a moose attack, and a winter spent in a one-room cabin with a one-legged boy. Jason's character sometimes takes a backseat to the Yukon setting, especially in the first part of the book. At times, he acts more as an observer than a protagonist; the setting and other characters emerge vividly through his eyes, but readers don't get to know him all that well. He rescues and adopts a dog as his companion, but the animal seems little more than a story prop. As the tale progresses, though, Jason's personality emerges more, especially as he tries to help the amputee adapt to his condition. Many of the incidents Jason observes are based on actual events and other real-life figures make appearances. The successful presentation of a fascinating era, coupled with plenty of action, makes this a good historical fiction choice, despite the lack of a truly memorable hero.-Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Fifteen-year-old Jason first hears about the discovery of gold in the Klondike while working as a paperboy in New York. He quickly rushes to Seattle to meet up with his brothers, only to find that they have left for the Yukon without him. As he goes the trip alone, adventures pile up. Fighting bears, shooting rapids, and even a crazed moose can't stop him from joining his brothers. Author Will Hobbs (Morrow, 1999) threads Jason's travels with actual historical figures, including Jack London. Also, sprinklings of actual events of the gold rush give listeners an idea of the difficulties encountered. Boyd Gaines is up to the task of narrating Jason through each adventure. His steady, but excited voice adds extra suspense to each dramatic event. Voice changes between characters are minor, though Gaines does manage to make one minor character sound like Jimmy Stewart. With sturdy cassette case and inviting cover art, this audiobook will be well received by those seeking to add to their adventure collections for middle school listeners.-Todd Dunkelberg, Deschutes Public Library System, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.