Author Kate DiCamillo on the joy and comfort in reading — and writing — books

A woman wearing a scarf sitting in a staircase.
Kate DiCamillo's book "Beverly, Right Here" completes a trilogy of novels involving three characters introduced in her 2016 book "Raymie Nightingale." The second book "Louisiana's Way Home" was published in 2018.
Catherine Smith | Courtesy of Candlewick Press file

Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo speaks about the power of telling stories. During this pandemic year, and dark winter, she says “stories are light in a dark world.”

The Newbery Award-winning Minnesota writer told a University of Minnesota audience — in a virtual event — that she writes alone, “but the story goes out into the world … and it has my heart in it. … There’s comfort in telling a story.”

When we read aloud, DiCamillo says, we are connecting to each other, and we “see each other as fully human.”

“Reading aloud binds us together in unexpected ways, she adds. This pandemic year is a “good time to give reading a chance.”

John Schumacher of Rutgers University, the ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic, hosted the conversation with DiCamillo at a University of Minnesota Humphrey School virtual event on Dec. 18. DiCamillo has served as the national ambassador of Young People’s Literature. She was awarded three John Newbery Medals, and was twice nominated for the National Book Award.

She is the author of many books, including:

  • “Because of Winn-Dixie”

  • “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane”

  • “The Tale of Despereaux”

  • “Flora and Ulysses”

  • the Mercy Watson series of books.

DiCamillo and Schumacher also recommended several books by other authors:

  • “Look Both Ways” by Jason Reynolds

  • ”Ways to Make Sunshine” by Renee Watson

  • ”The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963” by Christopher Paul Curtis

  • ”Our Friend Hedgehog” by Lauren Castillo

  • ”All Because You Matter” by Tami Charles; illustrated by Bryan Collier

  • ”Twins” by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright

  • ”Every Little Letter: by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Joy Hwang Ruiz

  • ”Billy Miller Makes a Wish” by Kevin Henkes

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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