Gary Paulsen, the American author of young adult fiction who taught millions of children wilderness skills through novels such as Hatchet, Dogsong and The Winter Room, has died at the age of 82. His publisher said on Thursday his death was “sudden” but did not specify a cause.

Paulsen wrote more than 200 books during his lifetime, and was renowned for introducing generations of young readers to survivalist literature. According to his publisher, there are 35m copies of his books in print and he has won three Newbery Honors. Hatchet, his tale of a 13-year-old boy left to fend for himself in the woods, became a staple of required reading lists in US schools following its publication in 1986.