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How Do Stories Connect Us? A Q&A with National Ambassador Kate DiCamillo

What are some things you are most looking forward to during your time as National Ambassador?
I am looking forward to going places I haven’t gone.  I am looking forward to seeing faces I haven’t seen.  And I am looking forward to being in rooms filled with people who are reading together.

What do you hope to accomplish in your role as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature?
If I could somehow convince people that reading together is a way for us to see each other.  And that that is a happy and joyous thing. That there is nothing but pleasure and connectivity in stories.  Reading should not be a task.  It should be a celebration.

Your stated platform is “Stories Connect Us.” How do they connect us?
We are all connected by stories because we are stories ourselves. There’s that wonderful quote from Muriel Rukeyser: the universe isn’t made of atoms.  It is made of stories.  When we learn someone else’s story, it shifts the fabric of our being.  We are more open.  And when we are open, we connect.

How will you advocate your platform?
Well, I would love it if I could talk to people who have gathered together because they are reading together.  I would like to go to towns, schools, hospitals, community centers, anywhere we can get people to gather and talk about books they have read together, and how that reading together has changed how they see each other.

What sort of change would you like to see come about through reading together?
I would like to see if we can all open up and *see* each other.

What do you mean when you say “We are made of stories?”
If you sit down and talk with anybody at length (child or adult) you can get them to tell you amazing stories.  Everybody’s life is a story just waiting to be told.

With several social media platforms, anyone and everyone can tell/post/blog their story. Does this form of storytelling connect us?
Oh, yes.  I think so.  It’s still stories.  It’s still windows into different lives.

What books/stories do you recommend be read together in realizing your platform?
I might have to work on compiling a list. Off the top of my head: Wonder, To Kill a Mockingbird, Whistling Season, A Single Shard, Charlotte’s Web, The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

Learn more about the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature program ▸▸

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