Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sundary Series: Heroes & Saints (Katherine Paterson)

Katherine Paterson is the brand spanking new Ambassador for Young People's Literature!

Superb choice! As someone who appreciates wacky humor (and who often wishes I could write funny too) I have to say - I love that the hilarious John Scieszka is being succeeded by someone who writes with a more serious tone.

Ms. Paterson has been my role model for a long time. Back before the turn of the century, (remember this blog is history!) while living in Lancaster County, PA, I stood in line to get Katherine Paterson's autograph. After securing it, I sheepishly gave her a copy of Best Friends Forever. (It was all I had at the time.) Then I disappeared in a flash - as if I had no social skills whatsoever.

And truthfully, I have very few. I become speechless in the presence of people I admire. I don't want to presume on their time, for one thing. And for another, every brilliant question or thought I might've had, goes into deep hiding in some crevice of my brain until that person is no longer standing in front of me.

Fortunately, in this case, I'd signed up for a workshop with Ms. Paterson for the day after my faux pas. And I even worked up the courage to talk to her.
Since then, I've been so bold as to tell my editor that, someday, I really want Katherine Paterson to blurb my one of my books. But alas! Now that she is ambassador, she will be busier than ever...


But this blog is history so let's not talk about the future.

I just want to call attention to a few of Ms. Paterson's historical works that I have particularly enjoyed.

Lyddie - a story of poverty and hardship for a New England factory worker.
Jip: His Story - a tale of unlikely friendship in a Vermont "poorhouse".

Bread and Roses, Too - told from the points of view of a boy and a girl who get caught up in a historic labor dispute.

Jacob Have I Loved - one girl's struggle to feel valued while living in the constant shadow of her twin sister. (Note the Newbery sticker on the cover! - Ms. Paterson's first but not her last!)

Ms. Paterson has written dozens more books, of course. They all seem to explore some weighty subject. Her selection as our new YA lit ambassador validates the fact that it takes many types of books to reach all kinds of young readers.

1 comment:

  1. I completely love John Scieszka!! Somehow mention of him reminded me of another adored writer, David McPhail, of Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore. That books is so fun!