Above: DiCamillo, center, signs books.
Kate DiCamillo, the author of books including Because of Winn-Dixie and The Adventures of Edward Tulane visited East Lansing on a book tour to promote her newest book, Raymie Nightingale. The two-time Newbery Medalist’s appearance took place on Saturday, July 9, at The Pasant Theater at MSU’s Wharton Center.
DiCamillo began by giving the audience a choice between a speech or a short reading and Q&A. The audience chose the latter. After reading a few chapters of Raymie Nightingale, she took questions from adults and children.
One audience member asked about where the idea of The Tale of Despereaux came from Desperaux is arguably her most famous book, and was also made into a movie. She answered with a story about a friend’s young son, who had wanted nothing to do with her before he read her book Because of Winn-Dixie. When he saw her next, he followed her everywhere, and told her of an idea he had for a story about an unlikely hero with big ears. DiCamillo filled in the rest of the story and The Tale of Despereaux was born.
She was also asked about the difference between the book and movie versions of Despereaux and responded that “It’s like having a child...you have to let it go,” said DiCamillo.
Many questions focused on how she creates the beloved characters in her books, “The name comes first. Then I listen for the voice,” she shared.
The story of how Edward Tulane came to be entertained the audience. She, being odd by her own definition, was given a stuffed rabbit that stood as tall as her waist and was dressed to the nines. After she received the rabbit, she gave him a spot on her living room sofa, but, each time she entered the room, she would startle, thinking a person was sitting there on her couch. After a while, she finally moved the rabbit into another room, but she said he had already “worked his way into my subconscious.”
A young reader asked DiCamillo about her favorite accomplishment. “When a kid says he wasn’t reader and then my book made him a reader.”
The appearance of the children’s author was sponsored by the Capital Area District Library and WKAR. DiCamillo is on a book tour for her newest release, Raymie Nightingale, which was published in April 2016.