Happy Birthday, Gary Paulsen!
Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
Gary Paulsen has always been an adventurer, which is perhaps why his many books for children and young adults are such perennial favorites. Born in 1939, he developed a love of reading early in life, but never had much interest in school. At 14, he actually did what so many youngsters dream of—he ran away to join a traveling carnival. He worked as a ranch hand and a truck driver, a sailor and a construction worker, and competed multiple times in the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska. He was working as a technician at an aerospace company in California when he finally realized what all these adventures had in common: they were fuel for the stories he had to tell.
Since then, Paulsen has written more than 175 books for a wide range of age levels. His most popular books include Brian's Saga (Hatchet, Brian's Winter, Brian's Hunt, The River, and Brian's Return), as well as Harris and Me, Dogsong, and Guts. Several of his books are Newbery Honorees, and in 1997, he received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, a lifetime achievement award honoring an author's contribution to young adult literature.
Today, Paulsen is still writing and still adventuring. He and his wife, illustrator Ruth Wright Paulsen, divide their time between sailing the Pacific and their home in New Mexico.