~post by Ellen
For the next month, there is a display in our Children’s section, BookKids, devoted to author Kate DiCamillo.
Why, you may ask, would we want to have a display devoted to Kate DiCamillo? The answer is simple: because she is a great writer and her stories speak to us as humans. Everyone should read at least one of her books.
In addition, Kate was recently named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. This is a big deal.
The position of National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is bestowed every two years by the Library of Congress, with the goal to “raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.”
Kate DiCamillo is only the fourth Ambassador, following previous Ambassadors Walter Dean Myers, Katherine Paterson, and Jon Scieszka. As Ambassador, she will be traveling from time to time to promote literacy but to also spread her message of “stories connect us.” Dicamillo says, “When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another.”
Kate is having a great 2014. She was named the Ambassador at the beginning of January, and at the end the month, her latest novel, Flora & Ulysses was announced as the 2014 Newbery Medal winner. This is also a big deal.
The Newbery Medal, for those of you who may not know it, is an annual award bestowed by the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). It is awarded “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” Considering how many eligible books are published each year, this is an accomplishment indeed. Kate has won the Medal twice and a Newbery honor once.
Her writing is something that adults and children can relate to, whether it is cheering for her underdog heroes, or smiling along at the hope that infuses every one of her stories. A loveable mutt, a toast-loving pig, a lost China rabbit, a brave little mouse, a superhero squirrel, and a pair of human best friends, Kate’s characters strike a chord because they are true, honest, and full of hope. In her interview with author Daniel Handler, Kate says that she was a hopeful child. Handler asks her what she was hoping for as a child, to which she replies, “Hopeful that everything would work out right in the end.” I’d say things are working out well for Kate’s career and I hope for her that it continues on this sparkling path towards new friends, and fantastic, magical stories.
Books by Kate DiCamillo:
•Flora & Ulysses
•Because of Winn-Dixie
•The Tale of Despereaux
•The Tiger Rising
•The Magician’s Elephant
•The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
•Bink & Gollie series
•Mercy Watson Series
•Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken
Articles & interviews about her Ambassadorship:
About her 2014 Newbery Medal:
Kate DiCamillo website