Where the Red Fern Grows
By Wilson Rawls
Wilson Rawls was born on September 24, 1913 in Scraper, Oklahoma to Minzy and Winnie Rawls. He grew up on a farm in the Ozark Mountains, the setting he described in his novel. There were no formal schools in the area, and Rawls's mother taught Wilson and his sisters to read and write. The Rawls children's education was supplemented with books Rawls's grandmother purchased. The books tended to be what Rawls described as "girl books" Such as Little Red Riding Hood and Chicken Little, which did not interest him.
His grandmother eventually gave Rawls a book more to his liking: Jack London's The Call of the Wild. Rawls later remarked that the book changed his life. He carried it with him wherever he went, and when he was about ten years old, Rawls decided he wanted to write a story similar to it. After sharing this desire with his family, Rawls's father told him he would need an education to become a writer. Rawls used reading as a way to educate himself, reading a large number of books, and developed an appreciation and passion for different writing styles and genres.
Rawls started writing by describing the places and surroundings of his home, scribbling on dusty country roads and sand banks along the river where he lived.