(I know, it's startling, isn't it?)
In December, my son and I heard Kate DiCamillo speak at a local bookstore (it's an indie store just for kids and teens--called Wild Rumpus Books--and if you are EVER in the Minneapolis area, GO!! They have cats and chickens parading around the store and many other animals in glass enclosures, plus any and all books for kids!). Ahem. Anyway, Kate was witty, charming, insightful, and inspiring as she answered questions (mostly from kids, so that made it super awesome!) about her books, her writing, living in Minneapolis, and pretty much anything the kids threw her way. Here she is, answering someone's question, in her patient, kind, amusing manner.
As Kate answered one question, she said something that went like this: The only part of writing that's easy for her is naming characters. My heart bounced to my throat (and a huge grin burst across my face and my head bobbed up and down) when she said that because if writing doesn't come easy for her--well--there's hope for me! Sometimes I feel like I fight for every word. If you write, you know exactly what I mean, so hearing a published (and very successful) author say something like that? Wow. That made my 2011 and my 2012.
Because of Winn-Dixie. When she was thirty, she moved to Minneapolis after living her entire life in Florida, and for the first time, she didn't have a dog. It was winter. And she couldn't return to Florida. So she wrote a book that took her home and she created the best dog she could imagine. That blended together and gave readers her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie, a Newbery Honor in 2001.
Because of Winn-Dixie has L.O.N.G. been one of my favorite middle grade reads, so I had Kate DiCamillo sign my family's copy and . . . I also had her sign one to give away to one of you! Comment on this post by Friday, January 13, 2012, at 10pm CST to enter your name in the drawing. International entries are welcome. And remember: Any Kate DiCamillo book is a gift to read.
Other MMGMers and their recommendations:
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Happy middle grade reading!