Taken from The Writer's Almanac, May 17, 2005.
It's the birthday of young adult novelist Gary Paulsen, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1939). His father was a member of General Patton's staff during World War Two, and his mother worked in a munitions factory, so he was raised mostly by relatives. When he did have a chance to live with his parents, they were constantly on the move because of the demands of military life. He changed schools often, made few friends, and his grades began to slip. It was a trip to a public library, and the help of a friendly librarian, that turned him around. He went on to become a best-selling young adult novelist, and the winner of Newbery Honor Medals for Dogsong (1985), Hatchet (1987), and The Winter Room (1989). He says: "I tell kids to read like a wolf. Read when they tell you not to read; read what they tell you not to read. That gets me in trouble sometimes. A lot of people are upset by the Goosebumps series and all that stuff, but anything that gets kids to read is fine."