• Gary James Paulsen (born May
17, 1939) is an American writer of
young adult literature, best known for
coming of age stories about the
• He is the author of more than 200
books, more than 200 magazine
articles and short stories, and several
plays, all primarily for teenagers.
• Much of Paulsen's work features the
outdoors and highlights the
importance of nature.
• He often uses "coming of age" themes
in his novels, where a character
masters the art of survival in isolation
as a rite of passage to manhood and
maturity. He is critical of technology
and has been called a Luddite.
• Gary Paulsen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to
Oscar and Eunice H. Paulsen
• His father was a career Army officer, on General
Patton's staff, who spent most of World War II
overseas. Gary did not meet his father until he was
9 years old. He spent time throughout his childhood
with his grandmother, aunts and various other
• As a boy, he worked several jobs, including setting
pins at the bowling alley, delivering newspapers and
working as a farm hand. He bought his own school
supplies and a rifle, which he used to hunt for food.
Eventually, he gave up the rifle and manufactured his
own bow and arrows which he used to hunt deer.
• Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early
age. After a librarian gave him a book to read —
along with his own library card — he was hooked.
He began spending hours alone in the basement of
his apartment building, reading one book after
• But Gary had a sad childhood. Both of his parents
were alcoholics, and could not care for him. At the
age of 14, Gary ran away from home and joined a
• Paulsen acquired a taste for adventure, and moved
between several different jobs. He spent one
summer doing rigorous chores on a farm; also taking
jobs as an engineer, construction worker, ranch
hand, truck driver, and sailor; and two rounds of the
1,180-mile Alaskan dog sled race, the Iditarod. All
these have provided ample material from which he
creates his powerful stories.
• Paulsen was working as a satellite technician for an
aerospace firm in California when he decide he
wanted to be a writer. One night he walked off the
job, never to return. He spent the next year in
Hollywood as a magazine proofreader, working on
his own writing every night.
• Then he left California and drove to northern
Minnesota where he rented a cabin on a lake; by the
end of the winter, he had completed his first novel.
• Gary Paulsen scored his first
successful children’s book with Mr.
Tucket. It is about 14-year-old
Francis Tucket who wanders away
from his family's wagon on the
Oregon Trail and is captured by
the Pawnee Indians. It was first
published in 1969.
• Other books in the series are:
– Call Me Francis Tucket (1995)
– Tucket's Ride (1997)
– Tucket's Gold (1999)
– Tucket's Home (2000)
• Gary Paulsen’s most successful series
began with a book called Hatchet, first
published in 1987.
• In the story, Brian Robeson is a thirteen
year-old son of divorced parents.
• As he travels on a Cessna 406 bush plane to
visit his father in the oil fields in northern
Canada for the summer, the pilot suffers a
heart attack and dies;
• Brian tries to land the plane, but ends up
crash-landing into a lake in the
forest, saving nothing but his hatchet—a
gift his mother gave him shortly before his
plane departed—and his own life.
• Throughout the summer, Brian attempts to
survive in the endless wilderness with only
• Hatchet was a tremendous
success, both critically and
commercially, winning a Newbery
Honor Medal and selling over four
million copies to date. He followed it
with four sequels:
• The River (Hatchet: The Return) (1991)
• Brian's Winter (Hatchet: Winter) (1996)
• Brian's Return (Hatchet: The Call)
• Brian's Hunt (2003)
• In 1990, a movie based on
Hatchet, was made, called A Cry In The
• Gary Paulsen is a tremendously prolific
author, having written over 200 books!
• He has written both fiction and non-
fiction, and also penned several
autobiographies, based on his own true-life
• Most recently, he has been writing books
for younger audiences, showing off his
quirky sense of humor and masterful
• The book we’re going to read is called
Lawn Boy, and was published in 2009. It is
about a boy who inherits an old riding lawn
mower, and gets a summer job mowing his
neighbor’s lawns; with completely
A NUTSY THE SQUIRREL PRODUCTION
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