The author who spurred many children’s love of outdoors and adventures, Gary Paulsen, died today at the age of 82. He is most known for his novel “Hatchet” – a popular young adult novel written in 1986. The book received critical acclaim as well as a Newbury Honor.
Publisher’s Weekly confirmed in a tweet the actor passed away Wednesday. During his lifetime, Paulsen wrote more than 200 novels centered around survival adventures. His novels are largely coming-of-age tales highlighting nature’s best lessons.
“Hatchet” became a popular series of Paulsen, with five books in total being published from 1987 to 2003. He’s also known for “The Winter Room,” “Dogsong” and “Canyons.” His work extended from just the physical harshness of the elements into psychological survival.
Additionally, Paulsen also competed in the Iditarod and described his experience in two memoirs. Fans of the author responded to the tweet with lots of fond memories.
“Read ‘Hatchet’ as a class in 6th grade. Everyone adored it and immediately raced to the library to read the other books in the series. Not many people can provoke that reaction out of kids, but he sure did. Rest in peace,” one Twitter user said.
Many people expressed their condolences and shared how Paulsen’s work affected them.
“I remember reading The Voyage of the Frog when I was 8, and for the first time experiencing that electric thrill of not being able to put a book down. After that I read anything I could get my hands on. Cheers to a real one that inspired countless thousands of kids to read. RIP,” another user tweeted.
Paulsen’s book “The Winterdance” even inspired the 2002 film “Snow Dogs” about dog-sledding during the Iditarod. The author’s last work, “How to Train Your Dad” was released in September 2021.
Paulsen Preferred a Simple Life
Despite his success as an author, Gary Paulsen never flaunted it. Instead, he chose to live simply. He and his wife, Ruth, an illustrator, lived in New Mexico. Like many others, his love of the outdoors never left him and the two were always exploring life’s small pleasures.
Prior to his works, Paulsen decided to enter the Iditarod race in 1983. The 1,150-mile trek was exhausting – but Paulsen set out to finish. He did – placing 41st out of 54 competitors. In total, the race took him 17 days. It was something that left a remarkable impression on the author.
Following that race, Paulsen got into sailing – which he did in the Pacific Ocean. He also owned a property in Alaska, where he raised and trained dogs for the Iditarod.
Though no information was released on Paulsen’s cause of death, his work is sure to be remembered for lifetimes to come.