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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Using your beliefs and experiences

“Name the book that made the biggest impression on you. I bet you read it before you hit puberty. In the time I've got left, I intend to write artistic books - for kids - because they're still open to new ideas.” – Gary Paulsen

I first met Gary Paulsen in the late 1980s when he was a guest speaker at the Northfield (MN) Middle School and my oldest daughter was a student who had the opportunity to hear him both read from his bestseller Hatchett and also answer kids’ questions about writing.  As a dad who was “helping” with writing classes at the Middle School at the time, I was invited to “listen in,” and I was so very impressed with his ability to talk to kids on their own level and truly bring his writing and characters to life with his reading.

Best known for “coming of age” stories and about the importance of nature and the wilderness, Paulsen has authored more than 200 books, 200-plus magazine articles and short stories, and several plays, all primarily for teenagers or “Tweens.”  
 In 1997, he won the Margaret Edwards Award 
from the American Library Association for his lifetime contribution in writing for teens. 

Paulsen said every writer should use personal experiences and personal beliefs in their creative writing.  “I sail, run dogs, ride horses, play professional poker and tell stories about the stuff I've been through,” he said.  “And I'm still a romantic; I still want Bambi to make it out of the fire.”

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