Katherine Paterson, National Ambassador of Young People's Literature
Katherine Paterson, noted children's author, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, two-time winner of the Newbery Award, recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and other accolades will be our guest in the Gallery from 6:30-7:30 PM. The Young Critics Book Group will be discussing some of her many books with the author. The public is invited to attend and meet Ms. Paterson. Reception will follow. Call the Library at 203 594-5002 to register, or register online below.
The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature is a two-year position created to raise national awareness of the importance of lifelong literacy and education. This appointment was selected by a committee of book insiders based on her contributions to young people's literature and her ability to relate to children. She represents the finest in literature for young people. She has chosen "Read for Your Life" as her platform.
Katherine is a prolific author of 30 fiction books for children. Her awards are numerous including winning the American Library Association 's Newbery Award for Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia, the National Book Award for The Master Puppeteer and for The Great Gilly Hopkins, and for her body of work the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal and the Astrid Memorial Award just to mention a few. The Library of Congress named her a Living Legend. Most of her books have received several awards.
Katherine Paterson was born in China to missionary parents. She lived in a Chinese neighborhood and was immersed in the Chinese culture. During the Japanese invasion of 1937 her family was forced to leave China and moved to Richmond, Virginia for a short time and then returned to China again living in Shanghai. In 1940, the family had to flee again and this time they moved to North Carolina.
Between 1937 and 1940 her family moved 13 times. She was always the newcomer and never fit in due in part to her British accent and her secondhand clothing. She turned to writing to deal with her loneliness. She wrote plays and her peers acted in them.
In 1954 she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English from King College in Tennessee. For one year she taught school in Lovettsville, VA before going to graduate school. She received a Master's degree from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Virginia. She wanted to go back to China to be a missionary, but the borders were closed to western citizens. A friend encouraged her to go to Japan instead. She stayed there for four years. She returned to the US for a year of study in New York. While there she met a young Presbyterian pastor who changed the direction of her life. She married in 1962.
Katherine said she began her life as a writer by writing curriculum materials for 5th and 6th graders. She had four children in four years. Two were adopted and two were home-made. While raising her family she wrote and published and what a wonderful writer she became winning honors and awards.
Ms. Paterson lives in Barre, Vermont with her husband. She has four grown children and seven grandchildren. Visit her official website at terabithia.com