Katherine Paterson, known around the globe for her many award-winning books for young people, and a long-time resident of Barre, will be the Aldrich Library’s honored guest on Thursday October 23 in the Milne Community Room. Paterson will be the honoree at a celebration of the publication of her newest book, which is entitled “Stories of My Life.” The new book is a series of vignettes from Paterson’s fascinating life, beginning with her childhood in China and leading on to the moment she won her first National Book Award. Throughout the pages of the book, she shares the personal stories that have inspired her children’s books.
Told with her trademark humor and heart, Paterson’s stories reveal details about her early years abroad with her missionary parents, to life as a single woman in Japan, to raising four children in suburban Maryland with her husband, the late Reverend John Paterson. 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.
“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, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, and the Astrid Lindgren Award. Like Mark Twain, to whom she is distantly related, Paterson is a true American treasure.
At the library, Paterson will share some of the tales recounted in Stories of My Life and sign copies of the book which will be available for purchase, thanks to Cynthia Duprey of Next Chapter Books. Light refreshments will be served. The public is cordially invited to attend this special presentation which is free of charge.