Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books

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Guess what -- Gary Paulsen was being kind to Brian. InGuts, Gary tells the real stories behind the Brian books, the stories of the adventures that inspired him to write Brian Robeson's story: working as an emergency volunteer; the death that inspired the pilot's death inHatchet; plane crashes he has seen and near-misses of his own. He describes how he made his own bows and arrows, and takes readers on his first hunting trips, showing the wonder and solace of nature along with his hilarious mishaps and mistakes. He shares special memories, such as the night he attracted every mosquito in the county, or how he met the moose with a sense of humor, and the moose who made it personal. There's a handy chapter on "Eating Eyeballs and Guts or Starving: The Fine Art of Wilderness Nutrition." Recipes included. Readers may wonder how Gary Paulsen survived to write all of his books -- well, it took guts.
Curriculet Details
13 Questions
16 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in sixth grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining textual evidence, reading comprehension, and arguments and claims. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about figurative language and novel-specific content. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of arguments and claims, summaries, and theme/central ideas. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Born May 17, 1939, Gary Paulsen is one of America's most popular writers for young people. He has led a very adventurous life, and many of his stories come from his own personal experiences.  (This annotation contains an image)


In the novel Hatchet, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, the hatchet his mother has given him as a present — and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart ever since his parents' divorce. He must try to learn to survive in the wilderness on his own. (This annotation contains an image)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Is there a word on this page you need to look up? 
Why does Gary Paulsen describe the plane crashes that he has seen? 
The video below explains personification. After watching it, reread the highlighted text. Did you notice that the forest is being personified? (This annotation contains a video)
Based on what you know so far, which of the following does not describe Gary Paulsen? 
The plane pictured below is similar to the one Gary Paulsen mentions in the text. (This annotation contains an image)


The author compares a moose to a "brown wall of fur" in the text. Which type of figurative language does he use? 
Moose are the largest of all the deer species. Males are immediately recognizable by their huge antlers, which can spread 6 feet (1.8 meters) from end to end.  (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is the best summary of the highlighted text? 
From the text, you can tell that Paulsen has learned a great deal about how to tell what a moose is going to do. Can you find any textual evidence that supports this claim? 
Quiz #1 


What is Gary Paulsen's purpose for telling the story about the little boy being killed by the deer? 
Malaria is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Below is an infographic that shows facts about malaria. Many parts of the world have nearly eliminated the risk, while others are still dealing with it. (This annotation contains an image)
The author writes, "The solution to facing all these dangers, a solution that came very rapidly to me and to Brian is knowledge...However it comes, the knowledge must be there." How does he support this claim within the chapter? 


It is illegal to use a rifle on a duck, and it is unethical to shoot a duck that is sitting. Why do you think he did these things anyway? Do you think he regretted it? (This annotation contains an image)
Paulsen says he became "disenchanted with firearms." In your own words, describe what he means by this statement. 
Based on all that Gary Paulsen learned about making bows and arrows and hunting, you can infer that he is eager to learn. He tells us that he used pamphlets from Howard Hill to learn what he needed to know. 
Based on the highlighted text, which of the following traits does Gary Paulsen exhibit? 
The arrowhead below is an MA-3 and is similar to what Paulsen chooses to use. What benefits does he give for using these? (This annotation contains an image)
The author states that "Nobody could call this hunting" because things are not going well for him. Which piece of evidence below does not support this claim? 
Think about the problem that Gary Paulsen is presented with. He has killed a deer, but now he must figure out what to do with it because it is very large, and he has no means to carry it. 
Based on the highlighted text, what can you infer about Paulsen's life? 
Quiz #2 


Below is a brief video that gives information about the chickadee. Why do you think Paulsen never found a dead chickadee? (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following themes is illustrated by the highlighted text? 
In this excerpt from Gary Paulsen's book Hatchet, notice how he uses his personal experience to create an experience for his character Brian. From Hatchet: "What makes fire? He thought back to school. To all those science classes. Had he ever learned what made a fire? Did a teacher ever stand up there and say, 'This is what makes a fire…"  
Based on the highlighted sentence, what can you infer happened when Gary Paulsen tried to eat the turtle eggs? 


Notice that the structure of this chapter differs from the others. As you read, can you notice how it is different? 
The author makes the claim that nothing goes to waste. Give three pieces of evidence from the section "Plank Food" that he uses to support this claim. 
Even though this text is nonfiction, the author still uses many examples of figurative language in order to help the readers picture what he is saying. Notice that Gary Paulsen uses both a hyperbole (exaggeration) when he says he would still be chewing, and a simile when he says that it was like chewing wood. 
Quiz #3