Popular teen fiction author Gary Paulsen died on Wednesday morning at age 82, Publishers Weekly confirmed.
Paulsen had written more than 200 books, including the popular “Hatchet” series.
Paulsen’s work was runner-up three times for a Newbery Medal, which recognizes American literature for children, including for the first book in the “Hatchet” series in 1988. Paulsen was married to Ruth Wright Paulsen and fathered three children.
The Minneapolis-born author thanked readers of his books in a 2020 interview with Scholastic, saying: “Thank you a million times over for reading ‘Hatchet,’ and all the Brian books, and all my books all these years.
“Most writers can only dream of the kind of readers you have been. I’d write if no one ever read any of my books, but it’s been so much sweeter knowing you were on the other side of the page. I’ve said it before, but writing for you is just about the greatest thing I’ve ever known, along with dogs and the wilderness.
“Let’s keep it going: I’ll keep writing for as long as I breathe, if you keep reading like a wolf eats.”
Whilst Paulsen wrote fiction and non-fiction for adults, a majority of his stories centered around nature, survival training, and coming-of-age stories. Paulsen’s memoir “Winterdance,” about his sled racing experience became the inspiration for the 2002 Disney movie “Snow Dogs” and, according to IMDB, was the working title name for the movie. The memoir was specifically about his completion of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1983.
The teen fiction author’s final book “Northwind” is set to come out in January next year. Speaking to Publishers Weekly last year to promote his memoir “Gone to the Woods” about his difficult childhood, Paulsen explained that “Northwind” is partly based on a journey he made from Ventura to Alaska.
In the interview, he said: “A lot of children are living the same way I lived… If there’s any hope for them at all, it’s from people like me who have gone through some of those same things. I try to be honest about it. But the truth is, if I can make it, any kid can make it.”