Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo is the newly appointed 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
In the last two decades, she has earned 11 New York Times best-selling titles and sold a combined nearly 20 million copies in print worldwide. Her books have been translated into 39 languages, and two have been turned into major motion-picture feature films: “Because of Winn-Dixie,” and “The Tale of Despereaux.”
DiCamillo recently participated in a Q&A with the Children’s Book Council about her new ambassadorial role in promoting reading and literacy. She is looking forward to traveling the country over the course of her two-year reign, and she looks forward to seeing new places, meeting new people, and gathering groups to read together through her “Stories Connect Us” platform.
Scroll down for her thoughts on what else she’s looking forward to.
What are some things you are most looking forward to during your time as National Ambassador?
Kate DiCamillo: I am looking forward to going places I haven’t gone. I am looking forward to seeing faces I haven’t seen. And I am looking forward to being in rooms filled with people who are reading together.
What do you hope to accomplish in your role as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature?
Kate DiCamillo: I hope I can somehow convince people that reading together is a way for us to see each other. And that that would be a happy and joyous thing. And that there is nothing but pleasure and connectivity in stories. Reading should not be a task; it should be a celebration.
Your stated platform is “Stories Connect Us.” How do they connect us?
Kate DiCamillo: We are all connected by stories because we are stories ourselves. There’s that wonderful quote from Muriel Rukeyser: “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” When we learn someone else’s story, it shifts the fabric of our being. We are more open. And when we are open, we connect.
How will you advocate your platform?
Kate DiCamillo: Well, I would love it if I could talk to people who have gathered together because they are reading together. I would like to go to towns, schools, hospitals, community centers, anywhere we can get people to gather and talk about books they have read together, and how reading together has changed how they see each other.
What sort of change would you like to see come about through reading together?
Kate DiCamillo: I would like to see if we can all open up and see each other.
What do you mean when you say “We are made of stories?”
Kate DiCamillo: If you sit down and talk with anybody at length (child or adult) you can get them to tell you amazing stories. Everybody’s life is a story just waiting to be told.
With several social media platforms available, anyone and everyone can tell/post/blog their story. Does this form of storytelling connect us?
Kate DiCamillo: Oh, yes. I think so. It’s still stories. It’s still windows into different lives.
What books/stories do you recommend be read together in realizing your platform?
Kate DiCamillo: I might have to work on compiling a list. Off the top of my head: “Wonder,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Whistling Season,” “A Single Shard,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963.”
Republished with permission from the Children’s Book Council.
Click here to learn more about the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
Click here to listen to our podcast interview with Kate DiCamillo on our Inkandescent Radio Show, Authors Between the Covers.