Author Gary Paulsen died Wednesday at age 82, according to his publisher Penguin Random House. He was a well-loved writer of novels for children and teenagers that featured protagonists coming of age through survival and adventure in the wilderness. His works, among them the popular novels Hatchet, Dogsong, and The Winter Room, gripped young audiences across the world, sold more than 35 million copies, and won him three Newbery Medals, the highest honor in children’s books. Born in 1939 in Minnesota, Paulsen ran away from home at 14 to travel with a carnival. He went on to write more than 200 books in all as well as short stories and plays. The American Library Association honored him with a lifetime achievement award in 1997.
Penguin shared a quote from Paulsen as a remembrance: “The most, MOST important thing is to read. Read all the time; read when they tell you not to read, what they tell you not to read, read with a flashlight under the covers, read on the bus, standing on a corner, waiting for a friend, in the dentist’s waiting room. Read every minute you can. Read like a wolf eats. Read.”