Yay for Kate DiCamillo!
|This is Kate!|
- Walter Dean Myers, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, 2012-2013
- Luann Toth, managing editor, Book Review, School Library Journal
- Rene Kirkpatrick, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, Wash.
- John Sexton, assistant library director, Greenburgh Public Library, Elmsford, N.Y.
- John Schumacher, teacher-librarian, Brooks Forest Elementary, Oak Brook, Ill.
- Cathryn M. Mercier, director, Center for the Study of Children’s Literature; director, M.A. Children’s Literature and M.F.A. Writing for Children degree programs; English professor, Simmons College, Boston
It didn't take very long to get our long lists down to a short list; not that it was easy, we were just serious about getting it done. There was discussion about what we thought the ambassador should be and do, information we each held came to the table, and Kate rapidly came to the front of the list. Done and done!
Kate's platform for the next two year period is "Stories Connect Us", something that all of us who work with children and books often say. Stories allow us to step into others' shoes, to become empathetic, to test ideas before trying them. We become better people for them. I can't wait to hear more from her. Oh, the video link below is an interview with her on PBS where she says stories are stories, that people should read what they love, that there shouldn't be adult books and children's books, just books. Love that, Kate.
Okay, now, I have to tell you about Walter Dean Myers. I have been a fan of his from my first children's lit class at U of O where I read Fallen Angels, and fandom only increases. I remember sitting on the curb outside the U of O bookstore on a break, drinking a coffee and reading - crying and laughing at the same time. Sitting across from him at the CBC office, drinking in the experience, hearing about his two years of being the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, was inspiring. He spent his time going to schools, going to juvenile detention facilities, convincing people that Reading is NOT an Option. He says, "Children who don't read are, in the main, destined for lesser lives. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to change this."
The following is the PBS Newshour video with Kate. Sorry, I can't upload the video here, you'll have to do it yourself: www.pbs.org/newshour/art/blog/2014/01/national-ambassador-of-young-peoples-literature-kate-dicamillo-wants-to-spread-the-joy-of-reading.html.
If you haven't had a chance to read Kate DiCamillo's newest book, Flora and Ulysses, please head to your nearest independent bookstore and get a copy. You will love it and then you can share it with your kids and they will love it. If you don't have a local bookstore, give me a call, and we'll take you in and make you a part of the Eagle Harbor Books community!
Flora and Ulysses is the story of a lonely little girl, divorced family, a sad dad and a recently vacuumed-up squirrel who now has superpowers. Flora reads a lot of comics and has been reading the Terrible Things Can Happen to You! series and is beginning to think in word bubbles. Their adventures begin when she rescues the squirrel from the vacuum disaster and Ulysses discovers the typewriter and types, "Squirtel".
Flora's been unhappy and with the discovery of a super-powered squirrel sidekick, she begins to find reasons to reach out to other people and reconnect to the world. With Ulysses' zen-like sensibilities, his exuberance for life and the ability to express it via typewritten poems, they make a dynamic duo until her mom tells her dad to take the squirrel out, and not out as in let him go, but out in the New Jersey-Sopranos way. Much hilarity ensues and many hearts are expanded. Truly a laugh out loud story but one with phrases and bits that you'll re-read and then share with your partner over breakfast burritos while they say, "Uh, huh?" because they have no idea of what you just went through. Ages 7 and up. (Candlewick. Available now. HC, $17.99.)
PS F&U is also illustrated by K.G. Campbell, in black and white spot illustrations and some entire comic book style scenes, a perfect companion for Kate's words.