100 books like Hatchet

By Gary Paulsen,

Here are 100 books that Hatchet fans have personally recommended if you like Hatchet. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Call of the Wild

Ken Wells Author Of Swamped!

From my list on coming of age survival and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, all I wanted to read were books about adventure. I also had an adventurous childhood, growing up in the Louisiana swamps with a father who actually hunted alligators and took me with him. As I came of age, I longed to tell stories, and, as they say, it’s best to write about what you know. To date, I’ve penned six novels, all set in the exotic wetlands of Cajun, Louisiana. I feel missionary about this—that my writing gifts allow me to decode my homeplace in a way that makes it easier for outsiders to see the singular niche it occupies on the American landscape. 

Ken's book list on coming of age survival and adventure

Ken Wells Why did Ken love this book?

I love this book for its fabulous sense of place, nonstop action, and realistic depiction of the rough-and-tumble Yukon during the 1890s Gold Rush.

The protagonist may be a dog but Buck, the good-heard Saint Bernard we meet as affable and innocent puppy, is I truly believe one of the most unforgettable characters in the history of adventure novels. His transition to a feral state is utterly believable as the book unfolds the darkness that lies at the heart of all too many men and the often violent chain of events that causes Buck to seek a new life.

I have read this book three times, and each time, it continues to amaze me. 

By Jack London,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Call of the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics bring together the best-loved stories to a new generation.

In The Call of the Wild life is good for Buck in Santa Clara Valley, where he spends his days eating and sleeping in the golden sunshine. But one day a treacherous act of betrayal leads to his kidnap, and he is forced into a life of toil and danger. Dragged away to be a sledge dog in the harsh and freezing cold Yukon, Buck must fight for his survivial. Can he rise above his enemies and become the master of his realm once again?

Jack London (1876-1916) was…


Book cover of Esperanza Rising

Nancy Blodgett Klein Author Of Torn Between Worlds: A Mexican Immigrant’s Journey to Find Herself

From my list on young people overcoming obstacles to survive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I pride myself on my independence and sense of adventure. I started traveling the world with my family when I was 3 and I haven’t stopped since. When you travel, you have to cope with new situations on a daily basis and navigate different obstacles to meet your needs. An interest in adventure and how people cope with new situations are the biggest reasons why I have a passion for books dealing with overcoming obstacles. Before I retired to Spain, I was a teacher of students between 10 and 15 years old. I chose two of the books I recommended to read to my students when I was a teacher. 

Nancy's book list on young people overcoming obstacles to survive

Nancy Blodgett Klein Why did Nancy love this book?

This is a great book about a young girl named Esperanza living a good life on a ranch in Mexico when she and her mother are forced to leave the country after family tragedy strikes. They go to the US during the Great Depression and have serious financial problems that they never had to deal with before. When she lived in Mexico, they had servants to do everything for them, so living in poverty in the US is a major adjustment. She doesn’t even know how to use a broom! This kind of detail makes for an interesting saga about a young lady overcoming obstacles to survive. 

By Pam Muñoz Ryan,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Esperanza Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Esperanza Rising joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!

Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike…


Book cover of Dry

Frances Greenslade Author Of Red Fox Road

From my list on survival for young readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian writer living in southern British Columbia. When I was young, most people thought I was too small and frail to do awesome things. It wasn’t until I got older that I began to understand that my love for wild places and adventures was at the heart of who I was, and I began to see that I was much stronger than I thought. These days, I hike, climb, kayak, cross-country ski, and snowshoe – anything that gets me outside in nature. And I've done some awesome things out there! I want to change the way people see nature, not as something to be conquered, but to be treated with affection and respect.

Frances' book list on survival for young readers

Frances Greenslade Why did Frances love this book?

This is one of the scarier disaster novels I’ve read, targeted at young adults rather than middle-grade readers.

People die in frighteningly believable ways in this story about a severe water shortage in California. I live in a semi-arid region that has been experiencing more frequent droughts in the last few years, so this novel’s premise felt plausible: the taps are literally turned off.

As well, the various characters’ reactions to the crisis reflected people I know, from preppers to climate changer deniers to those who dig deep and find kindness no matter how bad things get.

By Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

“The authors do not hold back.” —Booklist (starred review)
“The palpable desperation that pervades the plot…feels true, giving it a chilling air of inevitability.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Shustermans challenge readers.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“No one does doom like Neal Shusterman.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while…


Book cover of Watership Down

Ken Wells Author Of Swamped!

From my list on coming of age survival and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, all I wanted to read were books about adventure. I also had an adventurous childhood, growing up in the Louisiana swamps with a father who actually hunted alligators and took me with him. As I came of age, I longed to tell stories, and, as they say, it’s best to write about what you know. To date, I’ve penned six novels, all set in the exotic wetlands of Cajun, Louisiana. I feel missionary about this—that my writing gifts allow me to decode my homeplace in a way that makes it easier for outsiders to see the singular niche it occupies on the American landscape. 

Ken's book list on coming of age survival and adventure

Ken Wells Why did Ken love this book?

I’m an animal lover, and a book about really smart, interesting, brave, adventurous…rabbits!...had me hooked from the start.

What’s also really great is how the authors were able to impart a good deal of real-world knowledge about the habits of rabbits and habitats that rabbits favor while at the same time unspooling a really fine adventure story. 

By Richard Adams,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Watership Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

One of the best-loved children's classics of all time, this is the complete, original story of Watership Down.

Something terrible is about to happen to the warren - Fiver feels sure of it. And Fiver's sixth sense is never wrong, according to his brother Hazel. They had to leave immediately, and they had to persuade the other rabbits to join them.

And so begins a long and perilous journey of a small band of rabbits in search of a safe home. Fiver's vision finally leads them to Watership Down, but here they face their most difficult challenge of all .…


Book cover of Holes

Karen Samuelson Author Of Weaving Dreams in Oaxaca

From my list on books where the setting is like another character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for novels with complex characters and a memorable sense of place. The setting is key to the overall ambiance of a novel: its colors, smells, architecture, terrain, weather, flora, and fauna. My novel, Weaving Dreams In Oaxaca, takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico. The story is unique to the location because it includes the zocalo, cathedrals, outlying pueblos, food, etc. My family and I moved there for six months in 2006, and I fell in love. I sent my mother audio tapes every two weeks describing our adventures as she had become blind. I later transcribed them into twenty-two pages of detailed description of this magical city which I used in my novel.

Karen's book list on books where the setting is like another character

Karen Samuelson Why did Karen love this book?

I think this book is a great read for all ages and the setting, Camp Green Lake, is not a lake, but a dusty dry desert.

This location informs the plot. It is a punishing environment as the boys sent there are being “reformed” by making them dig huge holes in the sun all day long. Digging holes is a metaphor for digging up the secrets of the camp and the threat of snake bites and dehydration and infighting enhance the tension.

By Louis Sachar,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Holes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE NEWBERY MEDAL WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD SELECTED AS ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 100 BEST YA BOOKS OF ALL TIME Stanley Yelnats' family has a history of bad luck, so when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre (which isn't green and doesn't have a lake) he is not surprised. Every day he and the other inmates are told to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, reporting anything they find. Why? The evil warden claims that it's character building, but this is a lie. It's up…


Book cover of Roll with It

Gayle Rosengren Author Of MacKenzie's Last Run

From my list on kids struggling to survive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have no wilderness survival skills and certainly no wish to be thrown into any of the scenarios in the books I’ve recommended. What I do have is great empathy for those who struggle to survive loss—in whatever form it might come—be it loss of home, or security, or family. I know what it is to struggle through darkness and survive what I would have previously thought “unsurvivable.” That’s why two of my middle grade books, but especially MacKenzie’s Last Run, are about speaking up when you’re hurting or frightened. Lost in the dark woods or lost in grief–it’s all ultimately about survival. 

Gayle's book list on kids struggling to survive

Gayle Rosengren Why did Gayle love this book?

I confess, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this novel. I began reading it primarily to see what was percolating in slightly younger middle grade titles and in particular in books that are rooted in stories about differently-abled characters. Was I ever delightfully surprised when I fell in love with Ellie! I thought the novel was going to be about a lot of mean treatment by kids at school, but in truth, there wasn’t nearly as much of that as I expected (which was an enormous relief!). If you’re thinking, wait, I thought this was going to be a novel about survival, I’m here to tell you that every single day in Ellie’s life is its own survival story.

Surviving being left out of nearly all the activities the rest of the kids find fun; surviving the humiliation of having an aide take her from class to class,…

By Jamie Sumner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Roll with It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

"A big-hearted story that's as sweet as it is awesome." -R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder
"An honest, emotionally rich take on disability, family, and growing up." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

In the tradition of Wonder and Out of My Mind, this big-hearted middle grade debut tells the story of an irrepressible girl with cerebral palsy whose life takes an unexpected turn when she moves to a new town.

Ellie's a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she's going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing…


Book cover of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Ken Wells Author Of Swamped!

From my list on coming of age survival and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, all I wanted to read were books about adventure. I also had an adventurous childhood, growing up in the Louisiana swamps with a father who actually hunted alligators and took me with him. As I came of age, I longed to tell stories, and, as they say, it’s best to write about what you know. To date, I’ve penned six novels, all set in the exotic wetlands of Cajun, Louisiana. I feel missionary about this—that my writing gifts allow me to decode my homeplace in a way that makes it easier for outsiders to see the singular niche it occupies on the American landscape. 

Ken's book list on coming of age survival and adventure

Ken Wells Why did Ken love this book?

Twain’s classic may be out of favor in certain circles, but it is a big, imaginative, sprawling narrative that slyly deals with the thorny issues of race relations in the antebellum South while being, I believe, one of the greatest and fondest depictions of boyhood ever penned.

I love how Twain captured not just the regional southern vernacular but painted a picture of a world now lost to us. To be clear, Twain’s portrayal of Jim, the black protagonist, and his friendship with Huck, a young white boy, is an arch sendup of the racism of the day, for at the end of the day, Jim and Huck are the moral centers of the story—truly, the only gentlemen in the book.

Book cover of The Panopticon

Olivia Levez Author Of The Island

From my list on to survive desert islands, life, and everything.

Why am I passionate about this?

Both my books have a survival theme. Whether it’s foraging for mushrooms, wild camping, or trying to survive lockdown, I’ve always been interested in the relationship between endurance and creativity; what happens when humans are pushed to their limits. After teaching English in a secondary school for 25 years, I decided that I wanted to write a book of my own. I hid away in my caravan in West Wales, living off tomato soup and marshmallows, to write The IslandThe books on this list represent the full gamut of survival: stripping yourself raw, learning nature’s lore, healing, falling, getting back up again. Ultimately, to read is to escape into story. To read is to survive.

Olivia's book list on to survive desert islands, life, and everything

Olivia Levez Why did Olivia love this book?

This is the book which most inspired Frances’ voice in The Island. 15-year old Anais is troubled, loving, brilliant, and creative. She is also at a young offenders’ institution named the Panopticon after being found covered in blood at a crime scene. A birthday present from my brother, this book is so powerful, moving, and evocative. It’s written in spiky Midlothian. It’s raw. It’s warm. It’s brutal.

No matter what life throws at her (and there is a lot) Anais finds a way to survive with humour and defiance. I just loved it.

By Jenni Fagan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Panopticon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists

Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais is covered in blood. Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counterculture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade…


Book cover of The Quiet at the End of the World

Clare Littlemore Author Of Flow

From my list on dystopian books for girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a reader. I love nothing more than to leap between the pages of a book and forget the rest of the world. The books I love take the world today and imagine it evolving into something slightly twisted and terrifying. Years of devouring this type of book led to me imagining my own dystopian worlds, and eventually, writing about them. As a woman who believes in equality, I’m naturally drawn to books which feature strong female characters or are written by women. The books on this list are among my favourites from the last four decades. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Clare's book list on dystopian books for girls

Clare Littlemore Why did Clare love this book?

An interesting take on a dystopian world, whilst humanity is threatened in this book, the two main characters have pretty decent lives (aside from the fact that they’re destined to be the last humans ever). Loneliness is one of my biggest fears, and the concept of being one of the only two people left on earth is truly terrifying. This book was an intriguing take on the dystopian genre, focusing on what would happen if humans became unable to reproduce. It had some twists I honestly didn’t see coming and a really positive attitude towards diversity. Lowrie (the female narrator) is a compelling, realistic character who records the world around her with compassion. Definitely one for readers who prefer a more ‘positive’ dystopian outlook.

By Lauren James,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Quiet at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Lauren James is a genius at building tension." SFX Magazine

"James is one to watch." Kirkus Reviews

How far would you go to save those you love? Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking and looking for treasure - until a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity's entire existence. Now Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world,…


Book cover of Dirt Music

Olivia Levez Author Of The Island

From my list on to survive desert islands, life, and everything.

Why am I passionate about this?

Both my books have a survival theme. Whether it’s foraging for mushrooms, wild camping, or trying to survive lockdown, I’ve always been interested in the relationship between endurance and creativity; what happens when humans are pushed to their limits. After teaching English in a secondary school for 25 years, I decided that I wanted to write a book of my own. I hid away in my caravan in West Wales, living off tomato soup and marshmallows, to write The IslandThe books on this list represent the full gamut of survival: stripping yourself raw, learning nature’s lore, healing, falling, getting back up again. Ultimately, to read is to escape into story. To read is to survive.

Olivia's book list on to survive desert islands, life, and everything

Olivia Levez Why did Olivia love this book?

I just love this book. Again, it’s set against such an evocative landscape – this time in Western Australia. It tells the story of a tentative love affair between a reckless poacher and the wife of a wealthy landowner – and the inevitable fall-out. There’s even a soundtrack to go with it – Winton’s a musician too.

The writing’s so pitch-perfect that I had to keep stopping to scribble phrases down. It’s that good. Why is it about survival? As well as Luther Fox, the poacher, struggling to get over the tragedy of his past, the last third of the book focuses on his walkabout up north to Coronation Island, where he deliberately shipwrecks himself. Cue the wilderness: scavenging, hunting, sheltering. True, haunting, survival in its rawest sense as he battles to redemption.

By Tim Winton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dirt Music as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Her days have fallen into domestic tedium and social isolation. Her nights are a blur of vodka and pointless loitering in cyberspace. Leached of all confidence, Georgie has lost her way; she barely recognises herself.

One morning, in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she looks up from the computer screen to see a shadow lurking on the beach below, and a dangerous new element enters her…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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