My kids love The Sign of the Beaver almost as much as The Witch of Blackbird Pond, both by Elizabeth George Speare. This book fits in perfectly with any study of the colonial period in American History. The story centers on Matt, a 12-year-old boy who must fend for himself for a few months in the Maine wilderness while his father returns to bring back the rest of the family. Actually, Matt does not have to fend for himself; if the Indian boy Attean and his grandfather hadn't helped, Matt surely would have died in the wilderness. With the help of Attean and Saknis, Matt learns survival skills and gains an appreciation and love for the Indians.
After reading the book aloud, we watched the movie by the same name. While the movie was very enjoyable, there was much deviation from the book. My kids enjoy this and expect it, however, and we always have a good discussion after watching the movie version of a book.
I read this to my 1st and 5th graders, and both loved it. My 5th grader could certainly have read this on her own, but it is a great book to share.