Just before the pandemic hit, the Eric Carle Museum asked me if they could include in their quarterly newsletter my story, my blog post, about visiting the museum and hearing author Kate DiCamillo speak.
Yes! Of course, yes!
They enjoy reading my blog posts about my visits to the museum. Well, how can I not write about a visit? Every one is remarkable. When I heard Kate DiCamillo speak, the blog post flowed. She is one of my favorite authors- for many reasons.
Little did I know that my inclusion in the newsletter would be a full page. What an honor! Thank you Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art! Their write-up was terrific.
The museum is opening this week for members only (I snagged my reservation right away) before it opens in August for the public. Yes, the protocol procedures will be strictly enforced. I will have two (wonderful) hours to visit.
Kate DiCamillo has published a new book in her Tales From Deckawoo Drive series. It is phenomenal. Before I tell you about this book, I need to give you some background. ‘Kate 101’. She was a struggling writer, like many of us, and was ready to quit at rejection letter #473, after five-and-a-half years. Few if any writers have had that many rejections or as much persistence. She hung in there a bit longer, and then got a hit. Not only that, the book won the Newbery Medal. For those of you not familiar with children’s books, the award is the Holy Grail.
The book was Because of Winn-Dixie. Yes, many of you know that book.
She continued to write more winners, like The Tale of Despereaux. My favorite is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Next, she wrote books for the very young, a series titled ‘Mercy Watson’. Mercy is a pig who… well, you have to read the books. The characters in this series became popular ‘household names’, and she wrote a series of books for slightly older readers titled ‘Tales From Deckawoo Drive’, based on these characters. Her new book is about one of those characters, Stella.
Kate then wrote a book for older readers, Raymie Nightingale. I was glued to the book. There are three characters, and the other two now have their own book.
My point? Kate DiCamillo can write at many different age levels. That is an enormous task few writers can do. I am amazed and ever-inspired. Her new book is Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem, in the Deckawoo Drive series.
Stella adores her new teacher Miss Liliana, yet dislikes the brainy know-it-all and irritating classmate, Horace Broom. When I read the words Stella’s teacher said, “Class, I want you to know that I believe in listening closely and speaking softly and singing loudly. I also believe in examining mysteries.”- I was hooked. Courage and curiosity are Stella’s mantra as she and Horace are on the way to the principal’s office. Horace has much to learn, even though he knows most everything about the planets. When he showed Stella the planet Venus through his telescope, she said, “It’s beautiful and bright. It’s a heart humming in the night.”
Kate DiCamillio’s character development is subtle, humorous, and well-crafted, leaving the reader with a smile, and feeling as if a good lesson was woven into a great story. This newest book does not disappoint. I highly recommend the Deckawoo Drive series.
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.”