Book credited with saving boy's life.

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Book credited with saving boy's life.

Mar 22 2007

Yesterday, a team of rescuers found Michael Auberry, the 12-year-old Boy Scout who had been missing in the rugged wilderness of western North Carolina for four days, alive and well, if a bit shaken and dehydrated.

According to his father, Kent Auberry, a key to the boy's survival might have been a book Michael spent a few weeks reading several years ago: Hatchet, a realistic novel by Gary Paulsen that has attained the status of a young adult classic since its publication in 1988.

Hatchet tells the story of 13-year-old Brian Robeson, who survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness only to have to fend for himself for 54 days. Brian lives by using patience, resisting panic and approaching the problem of survival one challenge at a time.

"For a lot of kids, especially preteen boys, it's one of the first school-assigned books they love," says Nichole Gilbert of the Young Adult Library Services Association, which granted Paulsen, the author of nearly 200 books, its Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in 1997. "This bears out what we believe, that young adult literature isn't just fluff. It can contain entertaining, accurate, important information."

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