“The Haymeadow” by Gary Paulsen

Audrey recommends: The Haymeadow by Gary Paulsen

Genre: Western adventure

Reading Level: Middle grade

Summary: 14-year-old John Barron is tasked with herding his family’s 6000 sheep up to a grazing meadow high in the mountains, all by himself, for an entire summer.

Audrey says: Most people my age read Hatchet in school when they were in 5th or 6th grade. The Haymeadow is a much less famous book, but it has the exact same emotional core. Nobody writes loneliness like Paulsen; though this survival story is packed with action, there are also plenty of quiet moments for John to reflect on how to live up to his family legacy of rugged pioneers and lone cowboys. I was surprised and delighted at the ways this book challenged the myths of masculinity. By the end, John and the reader realize that independence is a great skill to learn, but true strength comes from making connections. Whether you loved Hatchet as a child or not, this is an impactful story for readers of all ages.

This book is available at Tyler Free Library.