Gary Paulson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father was in the military and Paulsen moved a
lot in his youth, even living in the Philippines at one point. Both parents were alcoholics, and he
eventually went to live with his grandmother and aunts. At a young age, he received a library card and
attention from a caring librarian and became hooked on reading. He ran away from home at age 14 to
join the circus and started on a hard life full of adventure, and is the inspiration for many of his stories.
Paulson is a prolific writer and has written more than 175 books and 200 articles. He is most well-known
for his young adult stories of adventure in the wilderness and living off the land, skills he learned in real
life which make his stories all that more believable. In addition to his young adult novels, Paulsen is also
the author of a series of grade school age adventure books.
Hatchet. Aladdin, 2006. Gr. 6-12
On his way to visit his father in Canada, Brian Robeson becomes stranded alone in the Canadian
wilderness after the pilot he’s traveling with suffers a fatal heart attack while in the air.
Dogsong. Simon Pulse, 2007. Gr. 6-12.
14-year-old Eskimo Russel Suskitt takes a dog team and sled, alone, across the tundra in order to
escape the modern ways his village is living and find the old ways of his people.
The Winter Room. Yearling, 1991. Gr. 6-9
In the harsh winter of northern Minnesota, Wayne and Eldon gather with their family in the
“winter room” to hear mythical stories told by Uncle David that recount the old days, old country, and a
Other Titles by Gary Paulson
Brian’s Winter. Laurel Leaf, 1998. (Gr. 5-9)
The Car. Harcourt Paperbacks, 2006. (Gr. 6-9)
Guts. Laurel Leaf, 2002. (Gr. 5-12)
How Angel Peterson Got His Name. Yearling, 2004. (GR. 5-9)
My Life in Dog Years. Yearling, 1999. (Gr. 5-10)
Tracker. Aladdin, 2007. (Gr. 5-10)
Woodsong. Aladdin, 2007. (Gr. 6-12)
Book Talk Script: Hatchet
“Imagine this: you’re flying in a little Cessna airplane where there’s just enough room for you, the pilot,
and your gear; it’s what people often refer to as a “puddle jumper.” All of a sudden, the pilot has a
heart attack and dies…as you’re high in the air…and over the wilderness in Canada…with no civilization
in sight! You’ve never ridden in a plane before, let alone flown one, but now you’re forced to crash-land
into a remote lake, and you escape the burning and mangled plane just as it sinks to the bottom! This
book tells the story of Brian Robeson, and his 54 days, alone, in the Canadian wilderness as he does
everything he can to survive. He must learn how to make fire; it’s not as easy as you think!, find shelter,
fight off wild animals, and, most importantly, find food and water, just so you can survive. Does Brian
get rescued, or is he eaten by the bear that stalks him? Read this book to find out!”