The installment of the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature took place last week and I was there!
There were many fancy speakers including the Librarian of Congress, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz, another Congressman who's name I didn't catch, and more interestingly, the exiting Ambassador, Walter Dean Myers.
Then Kate DiCamillo spoke and yes, she's tiny, that's her head barely peaking up over the lecturen. Her speak was so perfect, it reminded everyone in the room why she's awesome. She spoke about how as a child she was terribly shy and scared of everyone and everything. She would never speak to a stranger, never stand up for herself. Yet one of her most vivid childhood memories is about sitting in a glass bottomed boat and seeing a hidden world revealed and being so enchanted that when the stranger next to her grabbed her arm and said "would you look at that!" Kate actually spoke back to her. And the lady said four words that Kate never forgot "Oh my, this world."
Later, in second grade, utterly riveted by the climax of The Island of the Blue Dolphin (I loved that book!) this same feeling of a hidden world within our own world led her to connect for once with the class bully. Oh my, this world.
That's what books do for us. They reveal a hidden world within our own world and they help us see each other as fellow humans instead of six foot tall bogeymen.
I told you. She's awesome, right?