Jean Craighead George's book My Side of the Mountain is a well-known children's novel about courage, friendship, and becoming independent. This book was first published in 1959.
The main character in this novel is a fourteen-year-old boy named Sam Gribley. Sam is from a large family, having eight brothers and sisters. Sam and his family live in New York City in a busy apartment. While living in New York, Sam studies at the New York Public Library in an attempt to learn survival skills which will come in handy when he runs away to his great-grandfather's farm in order to get some time away from his family.
Sam proves himself to be self-sufficient and is able to live off the land by foraging and trapping animals. He builds a home in the middle of a tree and uses fire to help himself build canoes.
Sam also makes friends with the animals while he is living on his own. He traps and keeps a falcon named Frightful, a weasel named The Baron, and a raccoon named Jesse Coon James. He also makes several human friends. Sam meets an old man nicknamed Bando, a teen named Matt, and another man named Aaron.
Sam argues with his family about living on his own but eventually earns the right to be by himself when he turns eighteen.