‘Well, send my love right back to grade 5b,’ Kate said in her American accent with a big smile.
I was at The Little Bookroom for an author talk with Kate DiCamillo. She’s a Newbery medal-winning author, and has written best-selling middle grade fiction, including Because of Winn-Dixie, The magician’s elephant and The tale of Despereaux. Her latest book is Ramie Nightingale. Kate writes, ‘Ramie’s story is the absolutely true story of my heart.’ So far, I have devoured half of it in one sitting.
Kate, like her books, has so much warmth and heart. She entertained teachers and librarians (and two writers who snuck in – with permission!) with a speech about her life as a small, shy girl who liked to read. She told the story of being on a glass-bottomed boat with her mother, and sitting next to a stranger. Kate never spoke to strangers. This stranger was a woman who saw the same large silver fish darting under the boat at the same time as Kate.
‘Oh my. This world,’ said the woman.
Those words have stayed with Kate ever since. And once you’ve read her books, you understand why. Her books have so much wonder and heart in them – there is always hope. Winn-Dixie is a dog who laughs. Despereaux, the mouse, falls in love with a princess. Raymie Clark wants to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition 1975 so her photo will appear in the paper, and her dad will come back home. Her stories are about characters who are seen in all their multi-faceted, wonderful, flawed ways, and who connect with each other.
Because of Kate DiCamillo and her books, there are millions of children around the world who have been blessed with her heartfelt stories, gentle sense of humour and wonderful characters.
Miss 10’s class asked me to pass on their warm regards to Kate. She signed my book but I forgot to ask for a photo with her!
What’s your favourite Kate DiCamillo book?