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Friday, March 5, 2010

Gary Paulsen: Living Literary Legend

Okay, I have to admit it: I have a new hero. That hero is Newbery Award winning author Gary Paulsen.

Most of us know Gary Paulsen from his classics Dogsong and Hatchet, or perhaps his newer titles Lawn Boy and Notes from the Dog. From reading briefly about him, I know that he was, and is, a real rough-and-tumble, outdoorsy kind of guy, who has lived firsthand many of his character's adventures. (Think a G-rated version of Hemingway). As a kid who was raised on camping and fishing, I felt a real kinship.

But when I read a recent interview with Gary about his new novel Woods Runner, I was totally won over. His perspective on how the American Revolution is trivialized echoes everything I've ever said in my numerous posts about the American Revolution at my Teach with Picture Books site. Paulsen feels that the common soldiers of the Revolution are rarely given their due respect; like me, he also marvels that they were able to survive the arduous years of that conflict.

After reading that interview, I can't wait to get my hands on Woods Runner! I can see amazing correlations to other books and subject areas through topic, theme, and genre.

Read more about the book, read an excerpt, download an author study guide, check out his upcoming multi-city tour, and print out a poster. I think the more you investigate, the more you'll discover that an author like Paulsen is a great way to get your students (especially your boys) into good books.


Anonymous said...

I've been teaching Language Arts and social studies for 30 years and the minute I laid hands on Gary Paulsen's novels I was hooked. I knew that my students would be mesmerized with Russel and all Mr. Paulsen's characters and my hunch was right. Even today, with fantasy novels dominating the market, my students will select one of his books off my classroom shelves. They connect to kids with problems and love challenges. I'd give anything to be able to sit down and talk with Mr. Paulsen!
Ruth in CT

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