WOODS RUNNER(2010, Wendy Lamb Books, RH) is by Gary Paulsen. Do I need to say much more than that? I am thrilled to see a new book by Paulsen and to see that next season we are getting a sequel to LAWN BOY, one of my all time favorites. In WOODS RUNNER, Paulsen turns to a turbulent time in American history: the Revolutionary War. As the story opens, Samuel returns home from hunting to discover that his homestead has been razed and his parents are missing. He begins to track them down and finds that they are being held captive by the Redcoats. Before he can rescue them, however, Samuel is injured and left near death.
Paulsen intersperses Samuel's story with historical information that explains some of the action in each chapter. At first glance, this might seem to be a technique that will not work at all. However, work it does. This slim read covers an important chapter in our history and makes us all take a hard look at war and its victims.
I am in Arlington, TX, tonight. Drove up this afternoon on a beautiful sunny and cool day. Spring in Texas is truly magnificent. There are still stubborn patches of snow hanging on for dear life on some of the hillsides here, remnants of a snow/ice storm that shut down the city last week. Tomorrow I get to talk for 4 hours about new books. I love this part of my job.