The noted writer offers both stories about her life and insights into where her book ideas came from.
In a volume that could just as easily have been titled Becoming Katherine Paterson, the award-winning author offers personal stories of special interest to “the people I care about, a lot of whom are the readers of my books.” Katherine Womeldorf was born in China, in 1932, to American Christian missionaries. China was to be her home for most of her childhood, and she grew up in a time of political unrest, warfare and famine. She writes of her life as a missionary, education in American schools and her teaching career, and she tells stories of her parents, her marriage to a Presbyterian minister, becoming a mother and adopting two of her four children. Along the way, she shows how her novels were informed by the people she met and events she experienced. Not shaped as a memoir with a cohesive narrative, the stories read more as valentines to family, friends and readers. Though she almost didn’t become a writer for fear of adding “another mediocre writer to the world,” Paterson has won two Newbery Medals and two National Book Awards, among other honors. Despite the accolades, her voice is chatty and engaged, with not a hint of literary hauteur.
Paterson’s legions of fans, young and old, will welcome this peek into her life and process. (timeline, family tree) (Memoir.14 & up)