One of my favorite (if not my favorite) books as a kid was Hatchet by Gary
Paulsen. That book impacted me a lot as a child when I first read it in
grade school. So much so that when I was out at the hardware store with my
dad shortly after finishing it I asked him for a hatchet -- and got one. I
remember it was a classic leather handle Estwing hatchet. I still have it
and use it (and I'll probably post a review of it down the line).
I carried that with me every time my family went camping and I used to go out
exploring in the woods a lot around the grounds and it would always be on my
hip. Paulsen's book really got me interested in outdoor exploring, camping
and learning some survival skills and to this day that is one of my favorite
topics and camping/hiking is one of my favorite hobbies. Few books
impacted my life but I can safely say that Hatchet was certainly one.
Now here's why I feel like a failure...I also remember being read a book
called Mr. Tucket before I read Hatchet. I remember that being an amazing
book and the images it brought to mind as my 3rd grade teacher read it to the
class are still with me -- now THAT'S the sign of a good book. I just
recently found out that Gary Paulsen also wrote Mr. Tucket.
Not only that, I recently discovered that there is a whole series based off
Hatchet's main character Brian Robeson, and a whole series based off Francis
Tucket from Mr. Tucket. I'm in shock...and also as excited as a school boy
again that there is more to the story of the characters that I loved.
I must say, based off how BOTH of those books stuck with me and impacted me
as a child (even still today), Paulsen is quite possibly the best children's
book author. Many other authors have written some memorable stories like
Beverly Cleary's Ralph S. Mouse series, and Ellen Raskin's Westing Game which did stick with me, but nothing impacted me like Paulsen's books.