Wednesday, January 6, 2010

44. Self-Empowered Literature Ambassador Katherine Paterson

Dear Followers,

2010 has started off on an encouraging note. Sunday night I spoke at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Palm Beach Gardens to a small group of amazing women. The next day I spoke at Baywinds Women's Association, where we had a large group - led by Tony's cousin Betty Lantiere - who wanted to learn about the 17 Characteristics of High Achievers. And then last night I received an email from London asking me to participate in the publicity drive for the DVD release of Hilary Swank's movie "Amelia," about Amelia Earhart. Can't wait to see what else will develop before month's end!

Today I'd like to introduce you to another amazing Self-Empowered Woman. Katherine Paterson, 77, (you might know her as the author of "Bridge to Terabithia") has just been named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and I think her story is compelling.

Paterson's parents (Mary and George Womeldorf) were Christian missionaries in Jiangsu, China, where she was born. Her father was the principal of a girls' school, and he traveled throughout China as a missionary (3. Belief in the Unbelievable).

When she was eight years old she wrote her first published work, a poem for her school newspaper in Shanghai, and because her family moved thirteen times in thirteen years she was always the new girl at school who never fit in very well. To deal with her loneliness, she turned to writing and wrote several plays while in school (2. An Early Sense of Direction).

Her first novel "Who Am I?" was written in 1966, but she had a hard time getting it published. Finally, by the 1970s, her books began to earn awards (8. Turning No's into Yes's). After marrying Presbyterian minister John Paterson, she had four children and would write in five-minute spells while raising her small children (16. Intensive Motherhood).

Paterson has written 39 books, won the National Book Award, the Newberry Medal, the Scott O'Dell Award, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Now that she is the national ambassador for young people's literature (a joint appointment by the Library of Congress's Center for the Book and Every Child a Reader as well as the Children's Book Council) she plans to encourage children everywhere to fall in love with books.

Looking forward to your comments...

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