In his own words, Gary Paulsen talks about what books mean to him:
"One night, in a small Minnesota town (Thief River Falls) where I was selling newspapers, as I was walking past the public library in twenty below temperatures, I could see the reading room bathed in beautiful golden light. I went in to get warm and, to my absolute astonishment, the librarian walked up to me and said, 'Would you like a book?'
"I said, 'Sure.' And she said, 'Bring it back when you're done and you can get another one.' This went on for a long time. The librarian kept giving me things to take home and read— westerns, science fiction, and every once in a while a classic. She didn't care if I wore the right clothes, dated the right girls; none of those prejudices existed in the library. When she handed me a library card, she handed me the world.
"I roared through everything she gave me. It was as though I had been dying of thirst and the librarian had handed me a five-gallon bucket of water," Paulsen recalls today.
Books saved my life.
First reading them, then writing them . . ."
If you haven't had a chance to read Gary Paulsen's books, you are in for a rare treat. His characters face adversity and disappointment but use their wits and not only survive but triumph. The journeys will engage you and leave you wanting to read more.
Try some of these titles at your local library: