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20 Best Gary Paulsen Books

Best Gary Paulsen Books

Hatchet: 30th Anniversary Edition (Brian's Saga Book 1) Aug 21, 2009 by Gary Paulsen


Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson, haunted by his secret knowledge of his mother’s infidelity, is traveling by single-engine plane to visit his father for the first time since the divorce. When the plane crashes, killing the pilot, the sole survivor is Brian. He is alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present.

At first consumed by despair and self-pity, Brian slowly learns survival skills—how to make a shelter for himself, how to hunt and fish and forage for food, how to make a fire—and even finds the courage to start over from scratch when a tornado ravages his campsite. When Brian is finally rescued after fifty-four days in the wild, he emerges from his ordeal with new patience and maturity, and a greater understanding of himself and his parents.

The River (Brian's Saga Book 2) Nov 13, 2001 by Gary Paulsen

 
Two years after Brian Robeson survived fifty-four days alone in the Canadian wilderness, the government wants him to head back so they can learn what he did to stay alive. This time Derek Holtzer, a government psychologist, will accompany him. But a freak storm leaves Derek unconscious. Brian’s only hope is to transport Derek a hundred miles down the river to a trading post. He’s survived with only a hatchet before–now can Brian build a raft and navigate an unknown river?

Brian's Winter (Brian's Saga Book 3) Nov 13, 2001 by Gary Paulsen

In Hatchet, 13-year-old Brian Robeson learned to survive alone in the Canadian wilderness, armed only with his hatchet. Finally, as millions of readers know, he was rescued at the end of the summer. But what if Brian hadn’t been rescued? What if he had been left to face his deadliest enemy–winter?

Gary Paulsen raises the stakes for survival in this riveting and inspiring story as one boy confronts the ultimate test and the ultimate adventure.

Brian's Return (Brian's Saga Book 4) Dec 18, 2007 by Gary Paulsen

 
As millions of readers of HatchetThe River, and Brian’s Winter know, Brian Robeson survived alone in the wilderness by finding solutions to extraordinary challenges.  But now that’s he’s back to ordinary life, he can’t make sense of high school life. He feels disconnected, more isolated than he did alone in the north woods. How can Brian discover his true path in life, and where he belongs? The answer is to return.

Brian's Hunt (Brian's Saga Book 5) Dec 23, 2003 by Gary Paulsen

Brian Robeson has stood up to the challenge of surviving the wilderness in Hatchet, The River, Brian’s Winter, and Brian’s Return. Now, while camping alone on a lake in the woods, he finds a wounded and whimpering dog. As Brian treats her wounds, he worries about who or what did this to her. His instincts tell him to head north, quickly, to check on his Cree friends. With his new companion at his side, he sets out on the hunt.
 
Gary Paulsen expertly delivers a riveting story that brilliantly combines two of his great themes: the human animal’s place in nature, and the mysterious and wonderful bond between humans and dogs.

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Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood Jan 12, 2021 by Gary Paulsen


His name is synonymous with high-stakes wilderness survival stories. Now, beloved author Gary Paulsen portrays a series of life-altering moments from his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story. If not for his summer escape from a shockingly neglectful Chicago upbringing to a North Woods homestead at age five, there never would have been a Hatchet. Without the encouragement of the librarian who handed him his first book at age thirteen, he may never have become a reader. And without his desperate teenage enlistment in the Army, he would not have discovered his true calling as a storyteller.

A moving and enthralling story of grit and growing up, Gone to the Woods is perfect for newcomers to the voice and lifelong fans alike, from the acclaimed author at his rawest and realest.

Woods Runner Dec 9, 2009 by Gary Paulsen

Samuel, 13, spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America. Far from any town, or news of the war against the King that American patriots have begun near Boston.

But the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away, prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them. Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war. But he also discovers allies, men and women working secretly for the patriot cause. And he learns that he must go deep into enemy territory to find his parents: all the way to the British headquarters, New York City.

Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered Jun 19, 2013 by Gary Paulsen

A young boy spends his tenth summer on his aunt and uncle’s farm, where he is constantly involved in crazy escapades with his cousin Harris. “On the Larson farm, readers will experience hearts as large as farmers’ appetites, humor as broad as the country landscape and adventures as wild as boyhood imaginations. 

My Life in Dog Years May 29, 2009 by Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen has owned dozens of unforgettable and amazing dogs, and here are his favorites–one to a chapter. Among them are Snowball, the puppy he owned as a boy in the Philippines; Ike, his mysterious hunting companion; Electric Fred and his best friend, Pig; Dirk, the grim protector; and Josh, one of the remarkable border collies working on Paulsen’s ranch today.

The Transall Saga Dec 18, 2007 by Gary Paulsen

Mark’s solo camping trip to the desert begins as any other camping trip, until a mysterious beam of light appears.  The trip turns into a terrifying and thrilling adventure when the light beam transports Mark into another time, and what appears to be another planet!  Although he is searching for his way back to earth, in the meantime he is forced to make a life in this unknown world.  He meets primitive tribes and shares the joy of human bonds, but this end of isolation in the new world also brings war and a struggle for power.

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Nightjohn (Sarny) Aug 31, 2011 by Gary Paulsen

Sarny, a female slave at the Waller plantation, first sees Nightjohn when he is brought there with a rope around his neck, his body covered in scars.

He had escaped north to freedom, but he came back–came back to teach reading. Knowing that the penalty for reading is dismemberment Nightjohn still retumed to slavery to teach others how to read. And twelve-year-old Sarny is willing to take the risk to learn.

Set in the 1850s, Gary Paulsen’s groundbreaking new novel is unlike anything else the award-winning author has written. It is a meticulously researched, historically accurate, and artistically crafted portrayal of a grim time in our nation’s past, brought to light through the personal history of two unforgettable characters.

Mr. Tucket (The Francis Tucket Adventures Book 1) Aug 31, 2011 by Gary Paulsen

Fourteen-year-old Francis Tucket is heading west on the Oregon Trail with his family by wagon train. When he receives a rifle for his birthday, he is thrilled that he is being treated like an adult. But Francis lags behind to practice shooting and is captured by Pawnees. It will take wild horses, hostile tribes, and a mysterious one-armed mountain man named Mr. Grimes to help Francis become the man who will be called Mr. Tucket.

Dogsong May 22, 2012 by Gary Paulsen

Something is bothering Russel Susskit. He hates waking up to the sound of his father’s coughing, the smell of diesel oil, the noise of snow machines starting up.
     Only Oogruk, the shaman who owns the last team of dogs in the village, understands Russel’s longing for the old ways and the songs that celebrated them. But Oogruk cannot give Russel the answers he seeks; the old man can only prepare him for what he must do alone. Driven by a strange, powerful dream of a long-ago self and by a burning desire to find his own song, Russel takes Oogruk’s dogs on an epic journey of self-discovery that will change his life forever.

Tracker May 29, 2012 by Gary Paulsen

For John Borne’s family, hunting has nothing to do with sport or manliness. It’s a matter of survival. Every fall John and his grandfather go off into the woods to shoot the deer that puts meat on the table over the long Minnesota winter.
     But this year John’s grandfather is dying, and John must hunt alone. John tracks a doe for two days, but as he closes in on his prey, he realizes he cannot shoot her. For John, the hunt is no longer about killing, but about life.

Woodsong May 29, 2012 by Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen, three-time Newbery Honor author, is no stranger to adventure. He has flown off the back of a dogsled and down a frozen waterfall to near disaster, and waited for a giant bear to seal his fate with one slap of a claw. He has led a team of sled dogs toward the Alaskan Mountain Range in an Iditarod — the grueling, 1,180-mile dogsled race — hallucinating from lack of sleep, but he determined to finish.
     Here, in vivid detail, Paulsen recounts several of the remarkable experiences that shaped his life and inspired his award-winning writing.

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The Car Dec 8, 2015 by Gary Paulse

At fourteen, Terry Anders finds himself abandoned by both of his parents. Left alone in their home, he has nothing but an empty refrigerator and his father’s unfinished Blakely Bearcat kit car—abandoned just like Terry. And that gives him an idea.

After getting the car road-ready, Terry takes it out to the highway and heads west. Leaving Cleveland behind, his plan is to track down an uncle he once met who lives somewhere in Oregon. But along the way, Terry makes friends, sees parts of his country he never knew about, and learns a thing or two about life, survival, and himself.

Guts Dec 18, 2007 by Gary Paulsen

Guess what — Gary Paulsen was being kind to Brian. In Guts, Gary tells the real stories behind the Brian books, the stories of the adventures that inspired him to write Brian Robeson’s story: working as an emergency volunteer; the death that inspired the pilot’s death in Hatchet; plane crashes he has seen and near-misses of his own. He describes how he made his own bows and arrows, and takes readers on his first hunting trips, showing the wonder and solace of nature along with his hilarious mishaps and mistakes. He shares special memories, such as the night he attracted every mosquito in the county, or how he met the moose with a sense of humor, and the moose who made it personal. There’s a handy chapter on “Eating Eyeballs and Guts or Starving: The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition.” Recipes included. Readers may wonder how Gary Paulsen survived to write all of his books — well, it took guts.

The Winter Room Jun 24, 2014 by Gary Paulsen

Following the turn of the seasons, eleven year old Eldon traces the daily routines of his life on a farm and his relationship with his older brother Wayne. During the winter, with little work to be done on the farm, Eldon and Wayne spend the quiet hours with their family, listening to their Uncle David’s stories. But Eldon soon learns that, although he has lived on the same farm, in the same house with his uncle for eleven springs, summers, and winters, he hardly knows him.

The Rifle Mar 15, 2016 by Gary Paulsen

In 1768, gunsmith Cornish McManus painstakingly crafted his masterpiece: a rifle of extraordinary beauty and accuracy. Though he knows he will never be able to replicate it, Cornish is forced to sell it to a man named John Byam, who carried it with pride into the Revolutionary War.
 
Passed down through generations, the beloved rifle ends up decorating the mantle of a modern-day mechanic and father named Harv. But what happens then is shocking, terrifying, and completely devastating.
 

The Island May 27, 2014 by Gary Paulsen

Every day, 15yo Wil Neuton gets up, brushes his teeth, leaves the house, and rows away from shore. He’s discovered the island, a place where he can go to be alone and learn to know nature–and himself.
Wil’s only mission is to let go of the outside world. But the outside world refuses to let go of him. His family regards him as a puzzle. The town bully is determined to challenge him. And suddenly, even reporters know his name.
He can confront them all, or he can embrace his solitude forever. Just one thing is certain now: Wil Neuton will no longer be relying on anybody but himself.

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