Minneapolis author DiCamillo named children's literature ambassador


The Minneapolis-based author of the best-selling children's books "Because of Winn Dixie" and "The Tale of Despereaux" is adding a prestigious new honor to her resume.

The New York Times reports Kate DiCamillo will be named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The job of the ambassador, who is named every two years, is to tour the country to help promote reading.

The official announcement is expected today, and DiCamillo will receive her title at an inauguration ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington Jan. 10.

"Kate DiCamillo is not only one of our finest writers for young people, but also an outstanding advocate for the importance of reading," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Florida, DiCamillo, 49, moved to Minneapolis when she was 30.

The author said she spent her 20s working jobs at Disney World, Circus World and a campground, but longed to be a writer. So when a friend of DiCamillo's in Florida decided to move home to Minnesota, the then-aspiring author followed along to work on her new career, the Times said.

DiCamillo's first job in Minneapolis was "picker" at a book warehouse, where she sorted – and read – books along the way, according to the paper.

Reporting on DiCamillo's ambassador honor, the Washington Post Thursday lauded the author's nearly 20 books as "stories with heart and humanity, and occasional melancholy," as well as "stories that respect children as intelligent readers, that reflect the world as an occasionally hard but often magical place."

DiCamillo's most recent honor came in September when she was named a top 10 finalist in the Young People’s Literature category by the National Book Foundation for her book "Flora & Ulysses."

Plus, in October, Oscar-winning "Forrest Gump" director Robert Zemeckis announced that he was adapting DiCamillo's 2006 best-seller “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” into a movie.

The author's “Because of Winn Dixie” and the Newbery Medal-winning “The Tale of Despereaux” have already been turned into feature films.

Next Up

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.


How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.


Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.


4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.


Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.


At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said