πŸ’¬ Gary Paulsen Understood That Children Live in the World

Replied to Gary Paulsen Understood That Children Live in the World by Jonah Walters (Gawker)

Part of the allure, admittedly, was always Paulsen himself. The ballad of his life, outlined on countless About the Author pages, was a tale as grand as any of his novels. Gary Paulsen dug up a snapping turtle egg and ate it raw, just to know the taste (true). Gary Paulsen ran the Iditarod, all 938 frigid miles of it, with his dog team (true). Gary Paulsen sailed alone to Fiji (true). Gary Paulsen got headbutted by a moose and only lost three teeth (basically true).

But mostly it was the books. They stood on their own merits. There was an uncommon honesty to them, a frankness about the darker side of living. There was irreverence, a pleasant disdain for pretension and authority. And there was respect. You couldn’t miss it, the respect Paulsen had for his readers. Each of his stories affirmed the inexhaustible ability of young people to grow and learn on their own terms, in the wilds of their own lives, far beyond where parents or other adults could reach them.

I remember teaching Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet. Like John Marsden’s Tomorrow series, there was always something empowering about the can do attitude of the novel.

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  • Aaron Davis

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