Cover of Children of the Wolf by Jane Yolen

Children of the Wolf

This novel is based on the famous case of the Midnapore Wolf Girls, Amala and Kamala, who were supposedly found in a wolf’s den in Midnapore India in the 1920s and brought to a local orphanage. (My daughter and I have also written an Unsolved Mystery from History non-fictional account of the case, The Wolf Girls, published by Simon & Schuster in 2001.) This novel’s fictional hero is Mohandas, also at the orphanage, who learns through the girls’ tragic story about friendship and about the importance of language to make us human. There are also French and German editions of the book.

For more information on feral children see the feral children web site.


  • Notable Social Studies list
  • American Bookseller Pick of the Lists
  • Horn Book 1993 Recommended Paperbacks

What reviewers have said:

  • “Yolen here portrays the cruelty of schoolchildren, the cluelessness of adults in charge, and lack of courage in the well-meaning, at least as much as the story of the feral girls themselves. It’s top-grade sound reliable imaginative insight.”–Library Thing Review
  • “. . .fascinating psychological drama. . .ideal for shared reading.”–Language Arts
  • *Yolen adeptly weaves mundane details together with sweeping sociological and psychological implications into a full-bodied work. A vivid piece that has the capacity to stir readers and to make them think.”–Booklist starred review
  • *”The language is clear and so well used that it performs well without drawing attention to itself. Children of the Wolf engages readers in a real world and creates an admirable hero who humanizes and strengthens himself.. . .”–School Library Journal, starred review
  • “A moving account. . .”–Advocate
  • “Told in the compelling first person account of a young Indian boy. . .His character gives the book’s exotic presence a gentleness which softens the stark realities of life and death.”–Washington Times
  • “In spare, eloquent prose, Jane Yolen paints a depressingly accurate of the dark side of our human nature. This will not be a :popular” novel, but it is an excellent book to read aloud and to discuss in the classroom.”–Children’s Book Review Service
  • “(T)his gripping story is rich in topics for individual pondering and group discussion.”–English Journal
  • “The author has credibly fleshed out the story and has just as convincingly described the three children and the Indian setting of the book.”–Horn Book
  • “With imagination and empathy, <Yolen> has written a story that is a fascinating psychological drama. . .ideal for shared reading.”-Language Arts