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Sunday, November 1, 2015

That all-important reader holds the key

“Reading asks that you bring your whole life experience and your ability to decode the written word and your creative imagination to the page and be a co-author with the writer, because the story is just squiggles on the page unless you have a reader.” – Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson is a Chinese-born American author of dozens of children’s and young adult novels, most of which have won some sort of award.  In fact, for four different books published in the 5-year period from 1975-1980 she won two Newbery Medals (Bridge to Terabithia and Jacob Have I Loved) and two National Book Awards (The Great Gilly Hopkins and The Master Puppeteer), one of just 3 people ever to win the two major awards and the only one to do it twice.

Her lifetime body of work was recognized with 
both the Hans Christian Andersen Award (1998), 
and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal (2013).

Paterson's youthful protagonists often face crises by which they learn to triumph through self-sacrifice.  And, unlike many authors of young adult novels, her books often have “adult-like” themes, including death, jealousy and dire situations.  At the same time, her writing is noted for its compassion and empathy interlaced with wry wit and understated humor.   And she loves a wide variety of settings. 

“Obviously, I love to do both contemporary and historical fiction,” she said.  “When a hint of a story grabs me, I try to go with it to see where it will take me whatever the setting.  A story is open-ended. A story invites you into it to make your own meaning.”

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