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  1. GARY PAULSEN Kyle Sminkey Shannon Ward Julia Elrath Mark Carter

  2. Biography • Born May 17, 1939 (71 years old) • Is from Minneapolis, Minnesota • Has written more than 200 YA books, magazine articles, short stories and plays • Most famous book: The Hatchet • Wife: Ruth Paulsen, Son: James Paulsen • He enjoys dog sledding and sailing • Currently lives in New Mexico, but spends a lot of time in Alaska

  3. Here’s a Great Interview with Gary Paulsen:

  4. What Inspires Gary? • Gary is inspired by his experiences as an avid outdoorsman. He spends a lot of time trapping, hunting and dog sledding. He has had quite an adventurous life; including running from home as a young adolescent and traveling with a carnival, participating in the Iditarod and living in rural areas of America.

  5. Newbery Honors

  6. The Hatchet • After his parents’ divorce, 13-year-old Brian Robeson is going to visit his father in northern Canada. Before he leaves, Brian’s mother gives him a hatchet to wear on his belt. Midway through the flight, the pilot suffers from a heart attack, and Brian must glide the plane into the wilderness. Brian must learn to survive by himself in the wild. • Themes: Survival, divorce, coming of age. • Source:

  7. Dogsong • In the frozen arctic, Russell Susskit, a young Eskimo, searches for the old ways of his people and their song. Taking only a dog sled team and some ancient weapons for hunting, he heads north. Russell faces many challenges, the first of which being the death of Oogruk, a wise elder. Oogruk gave Russell advice about the old ways and the dogsong. Knowing he cannot waste time in such as harsh climate, Russell moves on. He later encounters a polar bear, which he successfully kills with a spear and is rewarded with much meat. He also comes upon a pregnant woman, Nancy. She loses her baby, and Russell vows to get her to a village so she can receive medical attention. Russell is a kind and daring young man seeking to find himself just as much as the old ways of his people. One could say he is a revivalist. The book is written in a series of dreams and real time events that intertwine. There are three parts: the Trance, the Dreamrun, and the Dogsong. The last of these is a poem about Russell’s experience and what he has learned from it.

  8. The Winter Room • This young adult novel takes place on a farm in northern Minnesota. There, a family of six: a husband and wife, their two sons, and two bachelor relatives, live a quaint, picturesque life in the country. Uncle David tells the boys stories every night in the winter room, a room only used during the winter, about near fictional accounts of logging. The boys give him so much grief that he stops telling the stories and it is not until they see Uncle David in the barn using an axe with grace and ease that they urge him to resume them. The Prologue to this book is a poem called “Honing” which gives detailed sensory images that set the tone of the novel. One review claimed “It is worth reading aloud and savoring.”

  9. The Woods Runner • One of Gary Paulsen’s more recent novels, Woods Runner is set in Colonial America during the time of the Revolution. 13-year-old Samuel lives far away from Boston and from any news of the war. One day, though, the war comes to him. His parents are taken prisoner when the British and Iroquois attack. Samuel follows. Along the way he meets both enemies and allies, and confronts the dangers of the war and must overcome them. • Themes: Bravery, survival, coming of age, family, history. • Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2010 said "A superb reflection on the nature of war." • Source:

  10. Teacher • • Includes lesson plans, unit plans for specific novels, study guides and teacher’s guides • Links to LIFT “Literature is For Thinking” – guides that can be purchased including worksheets, activities and assessments that encourage “active thinking such as drawing inferences, predicting outcomes, solving problems and making decisions” LIFT website:

  11. Teacher • • Lesson plans, discussion guides, articles about Gary, interviews with Gary, multiple activities to teach imagery to students using Gary’s novels • Links to Gary Paulsen’s own Iditarod journal

  12. Teacher • • Lesson plans, lesson calendars, study guides, discussion guides, essay prompts, writing assignments, quiz and test questions, activities and homework • Variety of lesson supplements for The Hatchet

  13. Works Cited • • • • • •