Meet Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson was born in China to missionary parents. After the family was evacuated during World War II, she spent the rest of her growing-up years in the South. She went to King College in Bristol, Tennessee, and taught school for a year in Lovettsville, Virginia. After two years at the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Virginia, she went to Japan as a missionary. She met her husband, a Presbyterian minister, in Union, New York, where she had received a fellowship to study Christian Education.

Katherine's first book was Who am I? (a non-fiction book for fifth and sixth graders that she wrote for the Presbyterian Church), and after it was published, she decided that she wanted to be a writer. Seven years later her first children's novel was published. Since then, Katherine has received over 50 awards for her books, including the Newbery Medal for Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia, as well as the National Book Award for The Master Puppeteer and The Great Gilly Hopkins. In addition to literary awards, Katherine has been awarded honorary degrees from 10 colleges in the United States and Canada. She enjoys writing children's fiction and feels strongly about writing truthful stories that show life as it really is.

She has written dozens of books for children of all ages, including 14 novels, 2 Christmas stories, 5 picture books, 4 early reader books, and 7 non-fiction or essay titles. Her writing career has spanned many decades and her stories will undoubtedly continue to influence children in the generations to come.

Of her writing, Katherine says, "Eventually a character or characters will walk into my imagination and begin to take over my life. I'll spend the next couple of years getting to know them and telling their story. Then the joy of writing far outweighs the struggle, and I know beyond any doubt that I am the most fortunate person in the world to have been given such work to do."

Katherine lives with her husband in Vermont and has four grown children and two granddaughters. Her hobbies include playing piano and tennis, doing crossword puzzles and playing Scrabble with her daughter, quilting, and drawing with pastels.

Some of this information came from the author's website. Updated June 2003

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