by Gary Paulsen

Two boys, separated by the canyons of time and two vastly different cultures, face the challenges by which they become men.

He learns that it was the skull of an Apache boy executed by soldiers in 1864.

In a grueling run through the canyon to return the skull, Brennan faces the challenge of his life.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Young Adult
  • Rating: 3.69
  • Pages: 192
  • Publish Date: August 1st 1991 by Laurel Leaf Library
  • Isbn10: 0440210232
  • Isbn13: 9780440210238

Read the Book "Canyons" Online

A botched raid ends with several massacred Indians, and Coyote Runs is unable to escape the white men who unleash their retribution in the form of a bullet through his skull. He, his mother, Bill, and a bunch of rowdy kids sleep under the stars near Dog Canyon that night, location of Apache raids a century ago, and that's when trouble begins. His knowledge of Dog Canyon is limited, but John Homesley, a biology teacher at his high school, might be able to help. The boy whose skull he possesses deserved better than to rot in the desert as food for predators and scavengers; Brennan doesn't know what he can do to set right the wrong done to Coyote Runs, but he senses his only chance is to return the skull to Dog Canyon and trust the Apache boy's spirit to tell him what to do. Homesley is that surrogate for Brennan, a caring teacher who respects Brennan's mission regarding the skull even though it seems bizarre. Brennan does care about learning, he just doesn't think he's capable of comprehending biology, but Homesley shows him that isn't the case. "I didn't know...didn't have any idea music could be that way..." Much like the Foxman in an earlier Gary Paulsen novel, Homesley helps Brennan become passionate about learning, as a good teacher should.

Brennan is a mostly self sufficient boy who is on a camping trip when he finds a skull. Poor Coyote Runs is barely in the book at all before it is all turned to Brennan, and really, he isn't that interesting of a character. It probably won't turn me off of Paulsen altogether; indeed he has some very good books out there, this just probably wouldn't be one that I'd recommend.

Coyote Runs is an Apache boy yearning to be a man. At first the chapters alternate between Coyote Runs and Brennan. Even so, the book pulls the reader along. The book pulls on the emotions in excitement, joy, fear, exultation and more.

Very well-written (as with all of Gary Paulsen's works) but I didn't like the Native American Spiritualism.

Later in the story, the switching ends when Coyote Runs gets shot in the head during his first raid that would, if successful, make him a man among his Apache tribe.

I thought that "Canyons" by Gary Paulsen started out confusing but ended up being a good book. "Canyons" starts out telling the story of an Native American boy that is becoming a man. The second part of the story is about a boy named Brennan who is on a camping trip with his mom and her boyfriend, Bill, and siblings. Coyote Runs is a teenage Native American, Apache male or boy becoming a man. The main theme of this book is about two boys that enter into the stages of becoming a man.

A Bit of a Ramble I first read this book way back in the early 90s, and I fell in love. I do still appreciate the same things about the story though: the feeling of a connection to the past, a connection to a place, the strength of a young boy's resolve, the beauty of an adult's acceptance. I think I'm going to pick up another Paulsen tonight for my next book...probably Hatchet as that one also touched my soul back in my pre-teen years.

Coyote Runs goes up to a canyon and is killed by the soldiers. Brennon, a young modern day boy, goes camping at the canyon where Coyote Runs was shot. Coyote Runs is a young indian boy who goes on his first raid to become a man.

This may seem a bit confusing at first, but because Gary Paulsen does such a good job on switching between character to character, the story flows very smoothly. The plot was also great with a lot of suspense because it would usually change from character to character in the exciting moments.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adventure.