Kate Dicamillo thinks of herself as a storyteller. She’ll tell you that she’s short, she’s loud, and she really hates to cook. She writes children’s books even though she doesn’t have any children, but she’ll write adult books as well. Most of all, she considers herself as being “enormously lucky” because she gets to tell stories for a living.
1. An Interesting Subject
Many children’s books discuss issues that are considered positive or are light-hearted in nature. How to beat the monsters under the bed, for example, or a story of adventure in the backyard. For DiCamillo, she uses this medium to confront difficult themes like death or intense personal loss. In 2004, she was recognized with The Newbery Medal for her work.
2. One of Six Authors
In 2014, her story Flora and Ulysses was also awarded with The Newbury Medal. This made DiCamillo only one of six people to win multiple medals. It also compelled her into the position of being the US National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, an appointment made by the Library of Congress. DiCamillo is only the fourth person in history to serve in this capacity.
3. A Split Experience
Writers must often discuss what they know. For DiCamillo, a bout with chronic pneumonia meant she and her mother and brother would move to Florida. Her father would remain behind to sell his orthodontic practice, but would never end up joining the family in Florida. Though difficult and highly painful, these experiences would also drive her to create 3 stories which have been listed in the all-time Top 100 children’s books ever written.
DiCamillo has had two of her stories already turned into movies. A third novel has been optioned and is in pre-production, while a fourth movie is having a script drafted based on The Magician’s Elephant. As these stories reach the cinema, it is very likely that another whole generation of children will be embrace the important themes which DiCamillo discusses.
Kate DiCamillo proves that children can handle difficult subject materials in a positive, informative way. Her books have helped to guide many children through difficult times. We all eagerly anticipate the next story crafted from her imagination.