A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Marianna Mayer (Pegasus) and Gloria Rand (Salty Dog).
- In 1519 the Aztec emperor Montezuma II welcomed Spanish explorer Cortez to the ancient capital city of Tenochtitlan. Read The Lost Temple of the Aztecs by Shelley Tanaka and The Sad Night by Sally Schofer Mathews.
- Art for everyone! In 1793 the French Revolutionary government opens the Louvre museum to the public. Read Louvre in Close-up by Claire dâ€™Harcourt.
- In 1895 Wilhem RĂ¶ntgen discovers the X-Ray, a wavelength of electromagnetic radiation. Hence, itâ€™s X-Ray Day. Read The Head Boneâ€™s Connected to the Neck Bone by Carla Killough McClafferty.
The second week of November we celebrate National Young Readers Week, an event created in 1989 by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress to help schools recognize the joys and benefits of reading.
To go along with the activities this year, I recommend two books, one a classic and the other a new title good enough to become a classic. Although many adults favor realistic fiction, books like Bridge to Terabithia or Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, children often want to read different genresâ€”survival and adventure, mystery, dog stories, science fiction, or even narrative nonfiction. So today I will begin with one of the greatest survival stories of all time, and on November 12 Iâ€™ll talk about a mystery/suspense novel.
Gary Paulsen actually dedicated Hatchet â€śTo the students of the Hershey [Pennsylvania] Middle School.â€ť While on a visit there, the young people encouraged him to write this storyâ€”one he had wanted to create all his life. An outdoorsman with a love of nature, Paulsen drew on his own experiences as he crafted the story of thirteen-year-old Brian, a city boy who finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Fortunately, Brian brought along a hatchet, his only tool to use in this hostile landscape.
Filled with harrowing escapes and breathless action, Brianâ€™s story keeps readers turning the pages to see if this engaging hero will be able to stay alive. Paulsen wanted to make sure each incident Brian experiences was based on reality, so the author wrote about things he had doneâ€”or could accomplish. Paulsen started a fire with a hatchet and rock, something that took four hours. He even attempted to eat turtle eggs, because he wanted to ask his character Brian to do this.
Paulsenâ€™s editor for the book, Barbara Lalicki, postponed publication on the novel so they could strive to get every sentence right. Lalicki knew she was working with a very special book. This editor, with great attention to detail, and a writer willing to go the extra mile together crafted one of the classics of the 1980s.
Forget your television survival shows! Hatchet is more compelling and believable than any of them. It is a great way to celebrate National Young Readers Week and to remind children in grades 3â€“6 how exciting a book can be.
Hereâ€™s a passage from Hatchet:
He was still in pain, all-over pain. His legs were cramped and drawn up, tight and aching, and his back hurt when he tried to move. Worst was a keening throb in his head that pulsed with every beat of his heart. It seemed that the whole crash had happened to his head.
He rolled on his back and felt his sides and his legs, moving things slowly. He rubbed his arms; nothing seemed to be shattered or even sprained all that badly.
Originally posted November 8, 2010. Updated for .