• Heather Barr

Literature Resource: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen


By: Gary Paulsen

Level: ages 10+

Setting: Most of the book is in the Canadian Wilderness

Hatchet is an action packed, even considered scary by some, story of a boy named Brian. This is a true adventure book that is loved by many! My son absolutely loved this book! The author keeps your guessing about what will happen next right up to the last chapter! It does have some adult themes such as infidelity, mortality, and secret keeping. When reading this book you will want to be ready to have good discussions about these themes with your child!

Make sure you spend time discussing the setting and looking at pictures of the Canadian wilderness during different times of the year.

Possible Vocabulary:















Journal Entry Ideas:

  1. If you were stranded in the wilderness with only a backpack, what would you want in your backpack?

  2. How do you get motivated to do something that seems impossible? Do you have a Bible verse that helps you?

  3. Imagine you are Brian and write a letter to your dad. Be sure to include the proper parts of a personal letter such as greeting, body, and closing. Here is a resource to help: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/992/01/.

  4. Does self pity help? Why or why not?

  5. Write about the last time you learned something from a book, television, or a movie and used that knowledge in your own life.


Do frequent comprehension checks with your child. This could be through summarization, oral discussion, or review worksheets.

Summarization is simply having your child orally summarize what was read back to you.

Oral discussion is to engage your child with open questions that promote discussion about the text.

Review worksheets are very easy to create at home. You can find key information points in the text and have your student complete the worksheets either while reading or after reading.

Possible writing assignment:

Imagine you are a book reviewer for your local newspaper and have been asked to review Hatchet for the next issue. In your review, introduce Brian to the readers and summarize the plot. Do not reveal the outcome of the story. Then give your opinion of the novel and the reason for your opinion. Type your review and turn in 5/8/17. (This is a resource to help you with the book review. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/704/1/)

Fun media supports:

You may enjoy watching some media/movies to support the learning! Some of our favorites are (Please make sure you check the ratings and parent advisories before watching any suggested movies.):

Swiss Family Robinson

Man vs. Wild

Most importantly! Have fun and enjoy this great adventure with your kids!

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