Dancing Carl, Gary Paulsen's first novel, was a ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a Notable Children's Trade Book for the Language Arts.
In the winter, life in McKinley, Minnesota, revolves around the rinks, where kids play hockey and grown-ups skate to scratchy phonograph records. Then, the year Marsh and his best friend, Willy, are twelve, Carl appears at the rink, wearing a battered, old leather flight jacket and doing a strange dance that is both beautiful and disturbing to watch. It is Marsh and Willy who discover the terrible secret behind Carl's dance, a secret that threatens to destroy him. But a small miracle occurs, and Carl's dance becomes a fragile and tentative expression of hope and the healing power of love.
Gary Paulsen is one of the most honored writers of contemporary literature for young readers, author of three Newbery Honor titles, Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room. He has written over 100 books for adults and young readers. He divides his time among Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, and the Pacific.