August 26, 2013

This post is dedicated to my teacher friends, (whether teaching is in your past, your present or your future) who are thinking back-to-school thoughts. Probably none of them need a reminder about Katherine Paterson. But I hope all will enjoy. Any reader who spends time with a story by Katherine Paterson will be glad he or she did. You certainly don’t need to be a teacher to enjoy a book by Katherine Paterson. Nor do you need to be a young reader. Most of the time we get carried away with our tremendous need to catagorize.

Who can forget that moment in Bridge to Teribithia when……..

This author has brought, pleasure, pain, and thoughtfulness to many young readers and adult readers alike. She has won numerous awards including two Newbery Medals and two National Book Awards. Her international awards include the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the biggest prize in children’s literature. In 2013 she was awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder medal from the American Library Association for her substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. Recently she has served as the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. There are good reasons she and her books deserve our attention.

She was born in China to Christian Missionary parents; her first language was Chinese. However much of her growing up years were spent in the United States. She was educated in this country and today lives in Barre, Vermont with her husband, a retired Presbyterian pastor.

I will mention several of her many books, those especially dear to my heart, and the books that started my conversation with friend Judith on a bakery and books. Also, I will list her latest book, and two books of essays because I have heard her speak and think she has much wisdom on the subjects of reading and writing. First the two books Judith and I had a conversation about in the Aug. 19 post.

Bread and Roses, Too (2008)
This story is based on the real events of the 1912 strike in Lawrence, MA textile mills. Hardships faced by immigrants of an earlier generation provide a history lesson, and their stories are relevant in today’s world.

Lyddie (reissued 2004)
Lyddie’s story of personal determination is inspiring and interesting. Her story dramatizes the plight of factory workers and nineteenth century poverty. It is set in Massachusetts in the 1840’s.

Bridge to Teribithia (reissued 2004)
The most well-known of Paterson’s books and winner of the Newbery Medal, this is a story of a young person coming to grips with a terrible tragedy.

The Great Gilly Hopkins (June, 1987)
I remember being absolutely taken in by this story of an eleven-year-old who is a foster child. Many of the reluctant readers I have taught formed a bond with Gilly.

The Invisible Child. (Dec. 2001)
Speeches and Essays, including some of her best known.

A Sense of Wonder (Nov. 1995)
Critical Essays on Reading and Writing give insight into the minds of children and writers.

The Flintheart (Sept. 2011) Written with John Paterson and illustrator John Rocco.
This fairy tale of an ambitious Stone Age man is retold.

I heard Katherine Paterson speak a few years ago and found her an inspiring speaker. In January she is scheduled to speak in Chicago at the Modern Lang. Assoc. Annual Convention. More information about Katherine Paterson and her books, as well as reading guides can be found at the following:

March 13, 2013

Sept. 9, 2006



Reader’s Guides can be found at www.houghtinmifflin.com

No doubt many of you have your own favorite Katherine Paterson book. We’d like to hear about it.

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