National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo wants to spread the joy of reading

BY Arts Desk  January 10, 2014 at 5:14 PM EST


Kate DiCamillo spoke to chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown about her new role as National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature.

Kate DiCamillo wasn’t always a writer. Self-described as a “late-bloomer,” she didn’t actually start writing until she was 30 years old and it took her six years before she published her first book. But, it was her dream and so she kept trying.

Now, DiCamillo, author of children’s novels “Because of Winn-Dixie,” the award-winning “Tale of Despereaux” and her most recent work, “Flora and Ulysses,” is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a two-year position to promote children’s literature through the Library of Congress.

“I want to remind people of the great and profound joy that can be found in stories,” she told chief arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown from her home city of Minneapolis.

DiCamillo views her new ambassador role as a chance to reinforce the idea that reading is fundamental to developing self-awareness. More importantly, it’s a joy and a treasure.

“Reading … changes everybody involved. I’m coming at it (as ambassador) from a celebration angle.”

Kate DiCamillo gave us suggestions for what to read when the kids are stuck inside on a cold day.