Friday, September 25, 2009

On Gary Paulsen - That Other Boy

I showed this video to my eighth graders. I cry whenever I watch this. I know students just like him. Yesterday, I showed this video, and I said to the kids;

"Hey life is tough. So read. Time passes. Life gets better. I promise. If Gary Paulsen can do it, so can you."

I always remember how a librarian saved Paulsen's life. It breaks my heart to know that one person can change someone's life. In this case that someone was Gary Paulsen. Who inspires some of those kids just like him in Northern Minnesota. Those kids just like him, those other kids, keep going to his books in our school library.


TeacherScribe said...

Have you ever read Paulson's "Winterkill"? It's about a murder that really happened in TRF. Paulson mixes in A LOT of his childhood into the story as well. In fact, he mixes in a little too much, for when it was published, he made the mistake of actually referencing a real person from TRF in the book.

In fact, one student was reading it in the library and took it to their grandfather and said, "Your name is in this book."

Let's just say that Paulson did not think much of this man, and a lawsuit was promptly filed since he actually left the real name in (you'll notice that Paulson thinly masks the people and places in the novel).

He was taken to court, and while I think he eventually won, it cost him a lot. It would be years before he'd get his reputation and popularity back. But when "Hatchet" hit it big, he was able to recover.

Copies are impossible to find, but I got one of amazon if you want to read it.

It's too bad to because it's one of his best books.

Minnesotalady said...

I have read it! I would love to read it again if you don't mind. He was bullied a lot in school too. Did you tell me those stories? I wonder why I knew that. He's a long distance relative. But we're on the drunk side of the family so he doesn't want much to do with us. My grandma tried to contact him many times over, but he never answered her correspondence. Guess I don't blame him. I remember hearing the stories and knew he went through some pretty bad hazing. I started my bully unit with this piece because I wanted to show the kids that life can be good...