Eric Carle and Kate DiCamillo

Getting more than what you expected is a wonderful thing.  When that ‘more’ lingers for weeks, that’s a bonus.

I went to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art a few weeks ago to hear Newbery Award winning author Kate DiCamillo speak.  For children’s book lovers and art lovers, this museum is a treasure.  It’s the real deal.

The Kate DiCamillo event sold out quickly.  I knew it would.  I bought my ticket the first day.  There are few authors who have multiple award winning books and are just as humble as apple pie.  If you have read Because of Winn-Dixie in one sitting because you couldn’t put it down, or cried at reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, or laughed at the Mercy Watson series, you know.  I was lucky to be there and hear her speak.

For all you writers out there, Kate is just like you.  She had 473 rejection letters in 5 1/2 years.  She almost gave up at rejection letter 471.  But she didn’t, and her first book won the Newbery.  She writes early in the morning before she has time to doubt herself or think about how she can’t do it.

Kate remembers Mrs. Boyette, the teacher who read aloud to her class.

When she joined a children’s book writing group, she was told, “You have no business writing children’s books if you haven’t read Charlotte’s Web.”

Kate worked at a library, shelving books, and when she had free time she discovered and read a book, Bridge to Terabithia.  That was ‘the book’ for her.

She’s funny, down to earth, and a great storyteller.  Best of all, when it was question and answer time, she took the questions from children.

Kate DiCamillo’s latest book, Beverly, Right Here, is the final in a trilogy of three friends.  I devoured the first two books, and I know this one will be just as good.

I was one of the first in line to get my copy signed… and to tell her that I’m a Mrs. Boyette.  Kate smiled and thanked me for reading aloud.

The story of my day at the Eric Carle Museum gets better!

There are always three exhibits of picture book art at the museum, one of which is the art of Eric Carle.  His current exhibit is “Under the Sea.”  It is always fabulous to see the real art of illustrations in the books I read to children, especially Eric Carle.  This exhibit is one of the best.

The art is outstanding, especially seeing it up close.  Then, the next display was from the book, A House For Hermit Crab.  That is a favorite book in my classroom, year after year.  You can imagine what a thrill it was to see this beloved book in it’s raw beginnings and final illustrations.

Then, I saw THE illustration, the one my preschoolers loved the most when they discovered Eric Carle’s end papers.  It was the end paper in A House For Hermit Crab.

I was beside myself.  My preschoolers had finger painted this work of art, over and over again.  This was the art that opened their eyes and inspired them.  They loved this art.  We had to open every Eric Carle book and look at the end papers.  It was exciting!

To this day, every time I read a book in the classroom, children want to see the end papers.  Thank you, Eric Carle.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
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97 Responses to Eric Carle and Kate DiCamillo

  1. beth says:

    what a double-amazing wonderful day !

  2. Darlene says:

    What a great day!! I would so love to meet Kate DiCamillo.

  3. beetleypete says:

    I can tell just how thrilled you were that day. I’m so pleased for you, Jennie. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. Mischenko says:

    Two of my favorite authors, Jennie. I love everything about this post! I didn’t realize Kat was rejected so many times. Thank you for sharing. Looks like one incredible day. 😍

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Mischenko. It was a great day! If Kate can persevere after over 470 rejections, that is a positive and powerful message. I’m so glad you enjoyed this. Like you, I think these are two of my favorite authors.

  5. Mischenko says:


  6. quiall says:

    How wonderful! My favourite children’s book is “Pyewacket” by Rosemary Weir.

  7. Opher says:

    You are so fortunate getting access to these wonderful people!
    I’m going to resume sending my books around to publishers. My pile of rejection slips needs adding to!

    • Jennie says:

      I do feel very fortunate to meet these wonderful authors, Opher. Yes, they’re wonderful people who happen to be successful writers. I’m glad Kate’s gigantic number of rejections has inspired you. JK Rowling wasn’t the only successful one with a huge pile of rejections.

  8. It sounds like it was a perfect day!

  9. Ritu says:

    Absolutely wonderful!

  10. Dan Antion says:

    This is a great story, Jennie. It shows the enthusiasm and passion you have for the role you play in the lives of so many children. It’s wonderful to “see” you adding to your experience, know that you will share this with children.

  11. Such an awesome day, Jennie!

  12. Mary Kay Bond says:

    Jennie, I love all your posts but wanted to thank you especially for this one. Your visits to the museum allow me to visit in spite of the distance. As I read this one I was also stuck again by how lucky your students are. How I wish all children had a teacher like you to launch their education.

    Mary Kay

    On Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 6:03 AM A Teacher’s Reflections wrote:

    > Jennie posted: “Getting more than what you expected is a wonderful thing. > When that ‘more’ lingers for weeks, that’s a bonus. I went to the Eric > Carle Museum of Picture Book Art a few weeks ago to hear Newbery Award > winning author Kate DiCamillo speak. For children’s ” >

    • Jennie says:

      I’m so glad my visits to the Eric Carle Museum give you a sort of virtual tour. One day we will go there together, and also visit Jim. 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words, my friend.

  13. Mireya says:

    Amazing. I love Eric C

  14. Mireya says:

    writing in the dark isn’t a good idea anyway, I love Eric Carle and he inspired me to keep going with my books. It’s amazing how simple can become so beautiful. Im just encourage to contiune with my style and yeah…

  15. I heard Kate speak years ago and it sounds as if she hasn’t changed! I’m so happy about that.😊 You’re in for a treat when you read Beverly Right Here, Jennie. It’s such a special book. It’s still with me, even though it’s been months. It will break your heart, but you’ll also rejoice at the love and friendship Beverly discovers. ❤️

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, thank you for your take on the book, Susan. I’m not surprised at all. Her books always linger with me, too. I’m so glad I got to hear her speak, she is fabulous (as you know).

  16. Elizabeth says:

    I love that place. And since it’s next to Atkins market it is a win-win visit. Art and caramel apple!

  17. Great to see authors “make it.”

  18. delphini510 says:

    It is very clear that this day filled you totally with joy and awe. How wonderful is that.
    To meet an authour that is so loved and so good. Then finding the End paper to Hermit the crab.
    You also got me to look up some of the books with view of purchase.


    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Miriam. It was indeed a joyful day, filled with many good things. Meeting a favorite author, then finding a beloved piece of art made my day.

  19. carhicks says:

    Wow, what an amazing day. Eric Carle is one of my favourite children’s authors. My grandchildren have several of his books and we read them over and over all the time.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you so much! It was truly an amazing day. Eric Carle’s books are classics and loved by children and adults. I’m glad your grandchildren have his books.

  20. Ren says:

    I am beaming in elated-elation for you. You so much deserve your wonderful experiences! Hugz!

  21. petespringerauthor says:

    I’ve been waiting for this blog post, Jennie, as I remembered about your opportunity to listen to Kate DiCamillo. The first thing that struck home was that she was a big fan of Bridge to Terabithia (also one of my favorites and regular reads when I taught upper grades). I also adored Because of Winn-Dixie. I was very much interested in reading about her journey as an author. The fact that she had the perseverance and faith in herself to forge onward after so many rejections is a testament to her belief in herself. So inspiring—I love that she shared this nugget.

    • Jennie says:

      It was very inspiring, Pete. Her stories were funny, yet poignant. She talked about getting the comments back from her editor, after she had already done five revisions. She spread the pages out on the floor, started to read… and became so upset she had to walk away from it for a few days. Then she would return, slowly read, and “see” where her editor was coming from. She says every book is a long process, and with the pain comes joy at the end. Well, of course she told this story far better than I did here.

      Yes, Bridge to Terabithia! The audience could see her sitting on the stairs in the library as she told the story. Because of Winn-Dixie is a favorite, too. I just love her writing, because it sticks with me long after the book has ended.

      Pete, if you go to her website (just Google her), her schedule of tours comes up. That’s how I first found her events, and one was not too far away, so I went. I highly recommend you try to hear her speak. Highly! To hear her journey on each book, especially the ones you read and loved, is so very inspiring.

      Best to you, Pete.

  22. Oh what a lovely day for you and the kids. I love the photo of you and Kate signing her book for you, you look so happy.

    Lovely memories for you.

  23. This post has plastered a huge grin all over my face!! It just got better and better as it went on!

  24. 473 rejection letters is a lot, Jennie. That shows great determination. I have not read these books, it always astonishes me how many American children’s books I do not know. Although I do know both The Hungry Caterpillar and Charlotte’s Web.

  25. L. Marie says:

    Wow! Two great authors! Yay!
    I saw Kate a few years ago when she came to an indie bookstore two towns over. So wonderful to see her in person.

  26. You always have the absolute best things and good lessons about life to share. Thank you for every single day you post online. I have reveled in your writing about the children, and so many of the things you have written about so remind me of the wonderful days I spent with the classrooms where I subbed. Thank you for providing such great inspiration with all of us. Hugs, Anne

    • Jennie says:

      That is so nice Anne! Thank you for your kind words. If I can share the best things and good lessons, and inspire others, that’s really as good as it gets. Bringing back your memories of subbing is a good thing. ❤️

  27. I feel that grin on your face all the way on the west coast! I’m so happy you had such a wonderful experience. Then you take your joy home and spread it around to everyone else. Things don’t get better than this.

    • Jennie says:

      You know me well, Marlene. I guess I do spread joy. That’s pretty awesome. I can’t wait to share my teaching and reading experiences, because they give others inspiration or a big, warm smile. We all need more of that. 🙂

  28. KT Workman says:

    I loved Because of Winn-Dixie and Bridge to Terabithia! Have you read Coraline? I’ve read a lot of middle grade (and younger) books that I enjoyed. Good storytelling is good storytelling, no matter the age of the target audience.

    • Jennie says:

      Well said, KT. Storytelling is so important and big, no matter what age. It’s the subject of my next blog post. And, Kate does it very well. She reached every age in the audience. I have not read Coraline. I must look that up! I could picture Kate finding a place in the library to sneak away and read Bridge to Terabithia. How wonderful!

      • KT Workman says:

        I look forward to reading your post on storytelling. 🙂
        By the way, I don’t know if you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman, but he wrote Coraline…so as you can imagine, it’s a bit strange.

      • Jennie says:

        Thank you, KT. I do like Neil Gaiman, and Coraline is a book I must read. 🙂 I’m finishing writing my storytelling post. Hopefully posting it in the morning.

  29. I have museum envy. What a great day you had. I adore Eric Carle. Whenever i find one of his bookks at a thrift store I adopt it and gift it to someone. I have them in my home for the grandkids. They are older now, but still look at them. (Thank G-d for his gifted books.)

  30. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is absolutely wonderful!

  31. Annika Perry says:

    Wow! Jennie, what an amazing day for you! Kate DiCamillo sounds wonderful and to think she mentioned you! I feel for her with all those rejections but heartening to us writers never to give up. Haha … I love how she ‘She writes early in the morning before she has time to doubt herself or think about how she can’t do it.’ Sounds familiar!😀

    The Eric Carle art is divine, I feel my soul soaring as I view the images and your delight and exuberance at seeing the original sketches and final piece is palpable. So happy for you and thank you for sharing here!

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Annika! She really was inspiring. Can you imagine all those rejections? Wow! I am always in awe of Eric Carle’s art. When there is a favorite of mine hanging right in front of me, all the sweeter. I’m so glad you enjoyed this.

  32. What a memorable day, and what inspiration not only for your students in their creative art projects, but for all budding Authors out there never to give up .. You never know when the next submission may be accepted and published..
    Great post… Sending Love and Blessings your way Jennie.. ❤

  33. Dear, Jennie, you did a great job with this post. What a wonderful adventure. Wow, just look at all these comments — I can see that everyone agrees with me. I am so glad you went — and that you brought us along with you. I loved seeing the artwork, and the photo of you with the author. I try to start writing in the mornings, before I even get dressed. Her remark “She writes early in the morning before she has time to doubt herself or think about how she can’t do it” has made me see why that’s a good system for me. Thanks for helping make my Monday marvelous. Hugs!

    • Jennie says:

      Teagan, I so enjoyed reading your comment. Thank you! It was quite an adventure. I thought about all the people in the packed audience – readers, writers, teachers who read aloud, librarians, and children. Everyone found her stories inspiring. For writers, hearing how she really is just like us, validated what we do. I’m glad it resonated with you. Hugs!

  34. dgkaye says:

    Thanks for introducing us to Kate and her writing Jennie. Sounds like it was a fab event, and now I’m off to check out Kate’s books. 🙂 xx

    • Jennie says:

      Fabulous, Debby! Let me know what you plan to read. 😍

      • dgkaye says:

        I have the 3 Ranchero books on my list at Amazon for my niece. 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        Wonderful! How old is she? Make sure to read them in order, Raymie first, Louisiana next, and finally Beverly.

      • dgkaye says:

        Yup, already got that from the descriptions. She’s 8 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        8 is young, but my granddaughter at 8 was reading these books voraciously. I only wish I had been a reader when I was 8. 🙂

      • dgkaye says:

        Me too!!!! 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        So Debby, you were also a terrible reader? That makes me feel so much better. The circle of writers seem to all have been high level readers when they were young. Gulp! See, I worry too much. I could not have read over 270 pages when I was 8. Never. I’m glad many teachers today read aloud in the classroom, even in high school. That makes a world of difference, and it’s something I wish I’d had in school. Best to you, Debby. 🙂

      • dgkaye says:

        You are so right Jenny. Teachers should read to the students – just like you do! That’s why I admire you so much for all you do for kids. And yes, I wasn’t a terrible reader Jennie, I read everything I could from magazines tucked in my mother’s night table drawers to cereal boxes. The problem was – there were no books in any of our homes! Until I started bringing books home from school, no books! I think that’s just terrible. 😦

      • Jennie says:

        Debby, I apologize. I remember that you were a good reader and without books in your home to read. And, I admire you (more than you know) for your perseverance. Well, the list is a long one. 😍

      • dgkaye says:

        You are too kind Jennie. I’m a living example of ‘it’s never too late to catch up’, and so are you. ❤

      • Jennie says:

        You are exactly right, Debby. ❤️

  35. What a wonderful day you had organized. Thank you for you efforts. Michael

  36. dweezer19 says:

    How encouraging and how wonderful for her! Thank you for sharing the story Jennie.

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