Posts Tagged ‘Katherine Paterson’

“Sometimes I can’t believe my own life.” Katherine Paterson about her memoirs

November 19, 2014

“I realized there were family stories that my children didn’t know and I should write them down,” Paterson said to Sally Pollak, Burlington Free Press, about her newly published memoirs “Stories of my Life”. “It would be a good thing for the kids and for the grandchildren.” In “Stories of my Life” (Dial Books, 2014) 2006 ALMA Laureate Katherine Paterson looks back on her life with warmth, self-effacing humor and extraordinary humility (Publishers Weekly). She grew up in China and trained as a missionary in Japan before beginning her writing career in America. Her work has included picture books and books for the very young, often based around fairytales and myths, yet it is as a writer of novels for young readers that she is best known. Often set in historical contexts in Japan, China or the US, yet frequently too against a contemporary American backdrop, these novels deal with important and sometimes difficult issues such as broken families and children at risk.

The main characters in her books are often vulnerable, slightly odd children, a projection of certain aspects of her own childhood. Her upbringing in China during the 1930s and her family’s move back to the US resulted in a feeling of rootlessness:

– When we were evacuated from China to the United States, I was an alien in the country my parents called home. We had very little money, and in the beginning my friends were the people I met in the books I read.

– I suppose I grew up with an understanding about what it means to be outside the mainstream of society. I used to feel sad for my nine year old self, but I finally realized that all during those difficult days of war and then alienation, I had two parents who loved me. A child with two loving parents is rich indeed. I’m afraid I haven’t given most of my characters this gift, but I hope I’ve provided them with the strength and help they need to endure, and, maybe even triumph over, adversity. (ALMA interview 2006.)

In 2006 she received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for her lifetime achievement.

Katherine Paterson is a brilliant psychologist who gets right under the skin of the vulnerable young people she creates, whether in historical or exotic settings, or in the grim reality of the USA today. With a deft aesthetic touch she avoids simple solutions, building instead on the inner strength and courage of her main characters.
The citation of the jury

Katherine Paterson receives the 2006 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.

Katherine Paterson receives the 2006 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.


Katherine Paterson at the Astrid Lindgren sculpture during the 2006 Award week.

Katherine Paterson at the Astrid Lindgren sculpture during the 2006 Award week.

Festival Dedication to Katherine Paterson today at the Burlington Book Festival

September 19, 2014
Katherine Paterson at the Bologna Children's Book Fair in 2012. Photo: Stefan Tell

Katherine Paterson at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2012. Photo: Stefan Tell

Today the annual Book Festival in Burlington, Vermont, USA, opens. The event is called a celebration of the written word featuring literary luminaries from around the world and just around the corner.

And just around the corner lives ALMA Laureate author Katherine Paterson, who received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2006. Today she is celebrated at the festival:

– Each year the Festival is dedicated to a Vermont figure who has made a significant contribution in the areas of literature or literacy, says Festival founder and director Rick Kisonack. Katherine’s selection is a no-brainer given her distinguished, world-renowned work in both of these areas.

According to Williston Observer “Fans can also get the first look at her memoir—Paterson’s publisher has agreed to make copies of “Stories of My Life” available for sale at the festival dedication, a month ahead of it’s October release.”

Katherine Paterson is presented at the Book Festival’s web like this:

Katherine Paterson’s international fame rests not only on her widely acclaimed novels but also on her efforts to promote literacy in the United States and abroad. A two-time winner of the Newbery Medal (“Bridge to Terabithia” and “Jacob Have I Loved”) and the National Book Award (“The Great Gilly Hopkins” and “The Master Puppeteer”), she has received numerous additional accolades for her body of work including the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. For her career contribution to “children’s and young adult literature in the broadest sense”, she won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council in 2006, the most prestigious prize in children’s literature. She has also served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (2010-2011). Katherine received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the American Library Association in 2013 and has been named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.

Children have a right to culture, say laureates

February 21, 2012

“Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play,” according to Philip Pullman, 2005 recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA). Pullman is one of the 11 laureates featured in an exhibition marking ALMA’s 10th anniversary, to be staged at the world’s biggest book fair for children’s and young adult literature in Bologna, Italy.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is 10 years old this year. For a decade now, the award has promoted interest in children’s and young adult literature around the world. The anniversary celebrations start at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, from 19 to 22 March, where a number of ALMA laureates will take part in various seminars.

“This will be the first time so many award recipients have all been present in the one place,” says Helen Sigeland, director of ALMA. “We’re looking forward to plenty of stimulating dialogue between our laureates and the public. Our exhibition and commemorative booklet will focus on promoting interest in children’s and young adult literature in an international context.”

Australian author Sonya Hartnett is one of the laureates visiting Bologna to mark the award’s 10th anniversary. She will be discussing the importance of children having access to good books with fellow author and laureate Katherine Paterson.

“A quality book for young people should leave them a different and slightly better person than the one they were when they began reading the book,” says Hartnett.

The laureates taking part in the Bologna event are Kitty Crowther, illustrator (Belgium, 2010), the Tamer Institute for Community Education, promotor of reading (Palestinian territories, 2009), Sonya Hartnett, author (Australia, 2008), Banco del Libro, promotor of reading (Venezuela, 2007), Katherine Paterson, author (USA, 2006), Ryôji Arai, illustrator (Japan, 2005) and Lygia Bojunga, author (Brazil, 2004).

The programme for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair will be available shortly on the Fair’s website.

The recipient or recipients of the 2012 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be announced to coincide with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The announcement will be made on Tuesday 20 March, at 1 pm, at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs in Vimmerby, Sweden. It will be broadcast via a live link to Bologna and online at

Walter Dean Myers

January 13, 2012

Juan Arredondo for The New York Times

The award office is back and ready for a very exciting 2012! In this first blog post of 2012, we´d like to congratulate Walter Dean Myers, the new national ambassador for young people’s literature in the US.  He succeeds author Katherine Paterson (2006 ALMA recipient), and is the third person to be appointed to the post. Walter Myers is an acclaimed author of books for young people. His award-winning body of work includes “Sunrise Over Fallujah,” “Fallen Angels,” “Monster,” “Somewhere in the Darkness” and “Harlem.” The NY Times:

As an African-American man who dropped out of high school but built a successful writing career – largely because of his lifelong devotion to books – Mr. Myers said his message would be etched by his own experiences.

 “I think that what we need to do is say reading is going to really affect your life”, he said in an interview at his book-cluttered house here in Jersey City, adding that he bhoped to speak directly to low-income minority parents. “You take a black man who doesn´t have a job, but you say to him, ´Look, you can make a difference in your child’s life, just by reading to him for 30 minutes a day.´ That´s what I would like to do.”

Read more about Walter Myers here.

Clare Vanderpool wins Newbery medal

January 11, 2011

Clare Vanderpool’s novel Moon Over Manifest was named the winner of the 2011 Newbery Medal on Monday.

“Vanderpool illustrates the importance of stories as a way for children to understand the past, inform the present and provide hope for the future,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Cynthia K. Richey in a statement.

The novel tells the story of 11 year olf Abilene Tucker, the only daughter of a drifter, growing up in Manifest, Kansas, during the Depression. It is published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House.

The Newbery Medal is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children. Each year it recognizes “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”

Past winners of the Newbery Medal include Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner Katherine Paterson (for Jacob Have I Loved in 1981 and Bridge to Terabithia in 1978).

Katherine Paterson on iPad

February 17, 2010

Author Katherine Paterson, the 2006 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award recipient, comments on the iPad in an article on in her opinion, technology needs not be a threat to reading.

View complete article here.

Katherine the Great: Ambassador

January 21, 2010

Katherine Paterson, who received the 2006 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, has received yet another honor when the US Library of Congress named her National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Read more in this Publisher’s Weekly report. For more info on Ms Patersons’ work – visit our website.

Katherine Paterson with HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden

 In this picture, Katherine Paterson receives the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.