4. Paulsen, Gary . Hatchet. Aladdin Paperbacks, 1987. 195 pages. Tr. $16.95 ISBN 0689810926
Brief Plot Description: Brian Robeson, a thirteen-year-old boy, flies with a pilot to visit his father working in the oil fields of Canada after his parents’ divorce. During the trip, the plane crashes into a lake because the pilot suffers a heart attack. Although Brian is alive after the crash, he has to struggle to learn how to survive in the wilderness with only a hatchet, a gift from his mother.
Genre(s)/Subject(s): realistic fiction, adventure, coverage, heroism, and survival
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Awards: Newbery Honor Book for 1986; ALA Best Book for Young Adults, School Library Journal Best Book of 1985
Books Similar in Style, Content, Theme, or Characters: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. Stranded byChristopher Tebbetts and Jeff Probst.
Programming/Lesson Ideas: Imagining themselves in the same situation as Brian, children can discuss what they would do in order to survive and what items are essential for living in the wilderness.
Personal Thoughts: This is a good book that inspires children to remain hopeful and courageous in the face of harsh and difficult circumstances. This book also addresses the negative effects of parents’ divorce on children.