Monday, January 9, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Because of Winn-Dixie (and a Giveaway!)

Ahhhhh. It's my first MMGM in quite awhile, and although my blogging break was lovely, I missed sharing middle grade stories with you! So, to welcome the 2012 MMGM year, I'm deviating from my usual MMGM format.

*collective gasp*

(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.

Kate also shared about her inspiration for writing 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:
Check the links in my right sidebar ~~~~~>
Happy middle grade reading!


  1. That's awesome you got to me Kate. I'd love to. I already read this and really enjoyed it so I'll let someone else win.

  2. Sounds like a great book store! I love Kate's work as well!

  3. I love her work as do my students. I would love to have heard her share her inspiration.

  4. Welcome back to MMGM, Barbara! I've heard about Wild Rumpus for years. If I'm ever in Minneapolis...

    Loved reading about Kate DiCamillo. And yes, it's always great to hear that established authors have trouble with writing.

    "Any Kate DiCamillo book is a gift to read." Lovely! I'm enamored of THE MAGICIAN'S ELEPHANT. In fact, I've read and loved most of her books. This is one I haven't read. I'd be thrilled to win! Thanks for the opportunity.

  5. Natalie, are you sure? It's such a treasure to simply have around and reread as inspiration. :-)

    Best books, thank you for stopping by. And yes, stop by Wild Rumpus if ever you are in town.

    Unknown, would you like to enter? I don't know how to reach you.

    Joanne, YOU HAVEN'T READ THIS ONE??? That spins my head.

    Shannon, it really is all that's wonderful about MG.

  6. One of my New Year resolutions was to read more Middle grade books and I've got to say I didn't read this one (shame on me!).

    thanks for the chance to win!

  7. Hahaha, Barbara. Sorry to set your head spinning, but yes, there are actually still MG books that I haven't read. However, I do read a lot of YA too. And there are just so many books!! And not enough time!!

    I promise, even if I don't win this one, I will buy a paperback at the bookstore and read it!

  8. I'm touched by the fact that she wrote a book that virtually sent her back home with a dog she wished she had.

  9. I'm planning on reading this one to my kids soon (ashamed I havent' read it yet. haven't seen the movie though so at least no spoilers!)

    I love that bookstore with the animals in it!!! Wish Minn. was closer!

  10. I LOVE that Kate said the easiest thing for her is naming characters. Thanks for the report!

  11. Lots of new commenters, yay! And welcome.

    My kids and I hear many authors at this awesome bookstore, and they always inspire. This was the first time I've heard Kate speak even though she's lived in Minneapolis for, I think she said 17 years now.

  12. Welcome Back! Sorry to make your head spin again, but I haven't read it yet either.:) I would love to win, but even if I don't I have it on my to-read list, too!

    That really makes my day to hear her say she struggles too. I'm in a bit of struggle right now, so that really gives me the inspiration to keep pushing on!

  13. Hope your holidays were awesome. I haven't read this, I 'm going to have to put this on my list. It is always great to hear about other writers, especially those that are published share their challenges. Kudos for supporting independent bookstores!

  14. Oh my wow! Thanks for the awesome giveaway. Welcome back!

  15. Oh I loved Because of Winn Dixie. Have you ever gone to look at the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota? I think they have this manuscript in its early form if you want even more inspiration.

  16. I can't believe I missed this! It was posted when I was on vacation. I adore Kate DiCamillo and would have loved to hear her speak. And win a book. She's in my top 10 favourite children's authors.


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