Gary Paulsen Adventures for Younger Readers!

Gary Paulsen is best known for his Young Adult and Middle-grade books. But he has also written some poetic books for much younger readers -- which his wife Ruth has illustrated.

These books make excellent read-alouds.

The Tortilla Factory
La Tortillería

Description: A lyrical tribute to the Mexican farm workers as they plant and harvest corn that will be turned into tortillas.

Las tortillas son clásicas de la cultura mexicana, ¿cómo se hacen? ¿con qué se hacen? Conoce esto y más en este interesante y poético libro.

The Tortilla Factory is a beautiful and useful book from the Paulsens. To see our thoughts about it, check out our review here.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 142
Interest Level: elementary
Accelerated Reading level: 2.7 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 18383 /AR quiz: 18383 SP
Lexile: 510L

Canoe Days

Brief Description: A canoe ride on a northern lake during a summer day reveals the quiet beauty and wonder of nature in and around the peaceful water.

Like The Tortilla Factory, this book comes from both of the Paulsens. Ruth's artwork in this one is in more vivid colors that the rich hues of The Tortilla Factory. The Blues and bright cheerful greens are evocative of spring and summer and fit the book well.

Sometimes when it is still so still,
you can hear the swish
of a butterfly's wing --

sometimes when it is that still I take the canoe
out on the edge of the lake.

One stroke of the paddle and we are gone, the
canoe and me, moving silently.

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books
  • ISBN-10: 0440414415
  • Look Inside available

Reading Information:
Word Count: 379
Interest Level: early elementary
Accelerated Reading level: 3.5 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 31078
Lexile: AD840L


Description: On a moonlit winter night, a team of dogs pulls a sled, taking the narrator and readers on a wondrous ride through the snow, into and out of the woods. It is a ride you'll wish would never end.

Gary Paulsen has had an amazing life, and part of it was spent as a musher. In this book he draws upon his experiences, and uses poetic text to capture his love of the dogs, and dog sledding.


They come alongside in the moonlight,
moonwolves, snowwolves, nightwolves, they run with
us, pace the dogs, pace our hearts and our lives
and then turn, turn away into the blue dark.

The pages are alive with color, and Gary's wife, Ruth Wright Paulsen, accompanies the text with perfect images that capture the cold and motion and excitement of racing through the dark.

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books
  • ISBN-10: 0440411300
  • Look Inside available

Reading Information:
Word Count: 469
Interest Level: early elementary
Accelerated Reading level: 3.2 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 61739


Description: People at work, doing things that are so essential to us all, are lyrically depicted in Gary Paulsen’s spare and elegant verse and Ruth Wright Paulsen’s richly textured oil paintings. This talented pair celebrates the work ethic with sensitivity and dignity--and reminds us of the quiet grace inherent in everyday lives. “The soft colors, spare text, and overall design of the book provide a song of praise to the unsung heroes in every child’s world and to the simple satisfaction of a job well done.”--School Library Journal

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Sandpiper
  • ISBN-10: 0152023712
  • Look Inside available

Reading Information:
Word Count: 177
Interest Level: preschool thru early elementary
Accelerated Reading level: 3.1 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 35675
Lexile: AD290L