How Angel Peterson Got His Name

And other outrageous tales about extreme sports

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Gary Paulsen

  • Survived childhood: drunken, abusive parents, and poverty
  • Prolific: 175 + books for a total of over 26 million books in print

Reviews of Angel Peterson

Kirkus Reviews, starred:
"Related with the author’s customary matter-of-fact tone and keen comic timing, these episodes will not only keep young readers, of both sexes, in stitches, they’re made to order for reading aloud. "

Publishers Weekly:
"Paulsen laces his tales with appealing '50s details and broad asides about the boys' personalities, ingenuity and idiocy .... this collection will likely hook adults as much as young readers. "

School Library Journal, Starred:
"Paulsen exhibits a wry sense of humor and storytelling ability as if he were sitting on a country porch with eager listeners at his knee. ... The stories are fresh and lively and will especially appeal to reluctant middle-grade readers." (Reutter)


"... The only reason to use caution in reading it, is it makes mention of one older boy having a picture of a half-naked woman on his steering also mentions one boy searching for "purely educational" pictures of half-naked African women at the library. These are quite briefly mentioned, but enough to be annoying. ... But if you read it out loud to your child, you can skip the few places that need to be skipped."

Review by Kasha. 4 of 5 stars. Shelves: boy-books. (Oct 22, 2009). goodreads.
Gary Paulsen Author Video 2010

Read like a wolf

Paulsen's advice to young people :

Read like a wolf --
read when they tell you not to read,
and read what they tell you not to read.
Hatchet The Movie by 3 School Boys

Read more

Suggestions by reader demographic (goodreads), and by author's voice -- and of course there is plenty to read by Paulsen!


  • In what ways does How Angel Peterson Got his Name conform to -- or diverge from -- your definition of YA literature?
  • What keeps these stories funny even in an age of X-Games?
  • How could this collection be made appealing to older YA readers?
  • In what circumstances might these stories be read aloud?


Follos, Alison M. G. "Change the Literacy Depression in Your School: Read Teens a Story!." Library Media Connection 25, no. 7 (April 2007): 20-22. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 6, 2015).

New York Public Library. "Author Chat with Gary Paulsen." Live Chat transcript. (9 July 2003).

Random House Kids. “Gary Paulsen Author Video.” You Tube (2010).

Reutter, Vicki. "How Angel Peterson Got His Name (Book)." School Library Journal 49, no. 2 (February 2003): 168. MasterFILE Elite, EBSCOhost (accessed March 6, 2015).

Rosenfeld, Jacob. “Hatchet The Movie by 3 School Boys.” You Tube (2011).

Sides, Anne. 2006. "On the Road and Between the Pages, an Author Is Restless for Adventure." New York Times. (August 26 2006).

Trelease, Jim. “Author Profile: Gary Paulsen; His first survival story was his own Childhood.” updated excerpt from Read All About It! (18 June 2013)

Weisman, Kay. "Talking with Gary Paulsen." Book Links 13, no. 1 (September 2003): 26-28. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed March 6, 2015).

* All images of book covers courtesy of goodreads.