The theme of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances is a common thread in much of Kate DiCamillo's writing, and no matter their nationality or age, readers around the world have come to appreciate and anticipate the messages of shared humanity and connectedness in her work.
In her instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, a haughty china rabbit undergoes a profound transformation after finding himself facedown on the ocean floor -- lost, and waiting to be found. The Tale of Despereaux -- the Newbery Medal-winning novel that later inspired an animated adventure from Universal Pictures --stars a tiny mouse with exceptionally large ears who is driven by love to become an unlikely hero. And The Magician's Elephant, an acclaimed and exquisitely paced fable, dares to
ask the question, What if?
Kate DiCamillo's own journey is something of a dream come true. After moving to Minnesota from Florida in her twenties, homesickness and a bitter winter helped inspire Because of Winn-Dixie -- her first published novel, which, remarkably, became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. "After the Newbery committee called me, I spent the whole day walking into walls," she says. "I was stunned. And very, very happy."
The author's second novel, The Tiger Rising, went on to become a National Book Award Finalist. And since then, this master storyteller, whose books are now published in more than forty languages, has written for a wide range of ages. Her luminous holiday picture book, Great Joy, is enjoyed by children as young as preschoolers. Three early-chapter-book series demonstrate a quirky humor that appeals to emerging readers, whether the books feature "porcine wonder" Mercy Watson in her obsessive pursuit of buttered toast, or Bink and Gollie, who embody the tall and short of a marvelous friendship. More recently, spin-off characters from Mercy Watson have appeared in Tales from Deckawoo Drive, a series launched in Fall 2014 with the first title featuring the reformed thief Leroy Ninker.
Kate DiCamillo's latest novel and second Newbery Medal winner, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, was released in Fall 2013 to great acclaim, garnering five starred reviews and an instant spot on the New York Times bestseller list. A laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format -- a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page black-and-white illustrations by K. G. Campbell -- Flora & Ulysses was named a finalist for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize; chosen by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Amazon, and Common Sense Media as a Best Book of the Year; and designated a Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner.
It's no wonder that Kate DiCamillo was selected to be the U.S. National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2014-2015. Of that mission, and on the power of stories, she says, "When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another."
Born in Philadelphia, Kate DiCamillo lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.