Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single engine plane in which he is flying in- crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother has given him as a present. With only the dreadful secret that caused his parent's divorce to keep him company Brian has no time for anger, self-pity, or despair. It will take all his know -how and determination and more courage than he knew he possessed to survive.

If you have scouters this series would be great for Boys learning camping skills, the Boy Scouts Mountaineering Merit Badge and Hiking Requirements pg 263, Webelos Outdoorsman Hiking requirements pg 362, or page 107 for Bears- go on a Hike with your family.

Basic Outline

Energy Game: Host a Camp Out or Go on a Hike.

Snack: MRE meal, smores over a fire/ or grill

Review the book while you eat

Activity: Assemble Personal First Aid Kits

Energy: Let the boys set up camp. Give them tarps, cords, and construct their own shelter. Is it waterproof? Is there enough room for all the boys? This could be for an actual camp-out or just an activity for the evening.

If you go on a hike- bring your MRE meal along. Stop some point to rest- eat and review the book out in nature!

Review Book:

Some Topics from the Book

First Aid- What would you do if.... someone was having a heart attack? If someone got hit by a car? If a friend fell down while skateboarding and broke his wrist? Review some possible situations.

Positive Thinking vs Self Pity- what was more productive for Brian? What are some examples of this in the book? (pg 82) How do struggles and trials make you stronger? Have the boys share some examples.

How important is Fire? Have you ever thought about that before? What does having fire mean to Brian?

"Important Firsts"- Brian remembers important First lessons he's learned. Do you have any important firsts? First time you learned how to ride a bike? First time water skiing? etc..

Take Home Activity: First Aid Kits

Have items :

Adhesive bandages

sterile gauze pads 3x3

adhesive tape




pencil and paper

bag to hold items- could be a school binder pencil pocket with zipper.

(If your boys are in Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts use their books as references. Boy Scout handbook: 287 First Aid, BEARS pg 96, Webelo pg 367. Boys can pass off electives during book club activities!)

Our camp out turned into a "camp in" because of weather. We let the boys try their hand at a Bow & arrow- knocking down cardboard rabbits and played board games.

If your boys liked Hatchet- be sure to follow Brian's adventures in Brian's Winter, The River and Brian's Hunt.


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