Told with her trademark humor and heart, Paterson's tales reveal details about her life from her childhood with missionary parents, to living as a single woman in Japan, to raising four children in suburban Maryland with her minister husband. Read more...
Told with her trademark humor and heart, Paterson's tales reveal details about her life from her childhood with missionary parents, to living as a single woman in Japan, to raising four children in suburban Maryland with her minister husband. Read about the origins of such familiar characters as Leslie Burke and Janice Avery from Bridge to Terabithia, and go behind the scenes to the moments Katherine found out she won her many awards. Filled with personal photos and letters, this funny, heartwarming history from a legendary writer lets fans in on the making of literary classics.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-21
- Reviewer: Staff
“Sometimes I can’t believe my own life,” writes Paterson in these autobiographical stories about her missionary parents, her childhood in China and the U.S., and her career—first as a missionary herself and, after marriage and motherhood, as one of the most decorated authors in children’s literature. Fans of her novels will enjoy learning about the real-life places and events that inspired her work: the family farm that became the setting for Park’s Quest, the similarities between her mother and Susan Bradshaw in Jacob I Have Loved, and the death of her son’s best friend that led to Bridge to Terabithia. Written in a conversational style, these “kitchen sink stories” will perhaps be received best by professional adults and readers who grew up with her books; much of what she recounts is about the distant past, courtship, and motherhood. What absolutely shines through is Paterson’s warm, self-effacing humor, and the extraordinary humility of a writer who has won two National Book Awards, two Newbery Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. Like Mark Twain, to whom she is distantly related, Paterson is a true American treasure. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)■
The life of a beloved children's author
Beloved children’s and young adult author Katherine Paterson has won two Newbery Medals, two National Book Awards and numerous other honors. However, it was only when she realized her children had never heard family stories over the kitchen sink—they’d long had a dishwasher—that she penned a memoir.
Paterson’s life story is full of adventures. In anecdotes ranging from the hilarious (a pet snake interrupting a Board of Education meeting) to the heartbreaking (the sudden death of her son’s best friend), she takes readers from her birth in war-torn China to her life as a Christian missionary in Japan, a teacher in rural Virginia, a young mother in East Coast suburbia and beyond. A timeline, family tree, photos and other documents—including a manuscript scribbled on by her young daughter—help readers visualize people and events.
Readers who grew up with Paterson’s books will relish this insight into her life and will appreciate discovering what inspired her well-loved stories (although some sections, like the one chronicling her husband’s time in hospice care, contain mature content). This is a highly recommended read for Paterson fans, or anyone who delights in children’s literature.
Jill Ratzan reviews for School Library Journal and works as a school librarian at a small independent school in New Jersey.