S. J. Dahlstrom is a writer based in West Texas and an author of fiction for young readers. A lover of the outdoors and a sportsman, he began to notice a worrisome trend in the "adventure" novels that were being released for children, set indoors, in cities, or in fantasy world's beyond our own. Determined to share his love for the outdoors with his own children -- as well as future generations -- S.J. set out to write a series of stories set in the real wild.
I want to raise kids built like Filson – tough, refined and comfortable in the outdoors.
Call me simple or old-fashioned but those qualities have a lot of value to me. As soon as my boys, and girls, can fit into them, they will all wear Filson. Filson
represents a set of values to me which has made me an addict and product evangelist since buying my first piece 20 years ago – tin cloth chaps
. I still have them…of course.
But until my kids will fit into their own tin clothes, and outside of my own influence towards the natural world, I will surround them with literature that was crafted by the same environment – the great outdoors. I want them to read all the great stuff from the past and any modern voices that might prove valuable.
Unfortunately, kids that don’t want to be wimpy, a wizard or a vampire have little to choose from in today’s bookstores. Few authors are writing the wild outdoor adventure books that I and millions of other kids were raised on.
Where is Jack London and Call of the Wild
(a Filson title if there ever was one) and adventures in the wilds of Alaska?
Where is Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn
who lived on a raft on the Mississippi river?
Where is Fred Gipson and Old Yeller
on the frontier of Texas?
Notice that all of today’s adventures stories have moved indoors. Fantasy has become the only fiction. Combine that subject matter with the virtual life of iPads, video games, television and the internet which rests heavily on the shoulders of today’s kids, and you have very little authentic adventure that is offered to kids in the 21st century.
So, like many children’s authors before me, I sat down to write for my kids. I wrote about kids in the outdoors, facing hardships and developing relationships with mentors. Learning about water, woods and the plains from older people who had learned what the natural world had to teach. Books for kids that eat food from places other than supermarkets and drive-through lines, or kids that have always wanted to explore that kind of life.
I titled the series The Adventures of Wilder Good
and it features a twelve year-old boy named Wilder who loves the outdoors. The setting will go back forth from the Colorado alpine wilderness to the wide-open ranching lands of Texas. In the first book, The Elk Hunt
, Wilder goes hunting with his old man, the 70 year-old Gale Loving. And of course, Filson clothes had to make an appearance.
Gale never wore camouflage. Camouflage hunting gear hadn’t existed when he was a boy. Despite this lack of technology, he had hunted and killed scores of big game all over his beloved Colorado: mule deer, whitetail, and too many elk to count. He mainly wore clothes made by Filson, which were designed for their toughness during the Gold Rush. Wilder knew the clothes were warm, though Gale actually seemed impervious to temperature. The durability factor was more in Gale’s line. As for camouflage—outsmarting the animals was his job, not his jacket’s.
Gale was moving just inside the treeline and was very non-camouflaged to the elk, who watched him from half a mile away. He was bobbing along, probably thinking Wilder was asleep or bored . . . anything but moments away from taking his first elk.
I hope Filson fans will like the Wilder Good books, and will provide their kids good literature that promotes the outdoors and true adventure in wild places.
‘Be Wilder’ and follow Wilder and Gale at www.wildergood.com.