With backing from Kate DiCamillo, staff from the Teacher Education Center within UW-Madison’s School of Education are delivering nearly 300 books by the award-winning author to several districts around Wisconsin.
DiCamillo is presenting the 2019 Charlotte Zolotow Lecture, sponsored by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), on Thursday in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater. At DiCamillo’s request, her honorarium for this appearance is being used to buy copies of her newest book — “Beverly, Right Here.”
“Kate’s generosity is commendable,” says KT Horning, director of the CCBC. “She has never forgotten how important books were to her when she was young, and she is always looking for ways to get books directly into the hands of other children who might need them as much as she did as a child.”
These books are being distributed to seventh graders and libraries in districts associated with a new special education teacher residency program (UW-SET) being piloted by the School of Education. This new program is designed for students who are interested in completing a year-long student teaching experience in one of eight partnering school districts. Interested students must commit to teaching for at least three years in one of these districts.
Tessa Neigum, UW-SET program coordinator, is hand-delivering the books. The Wisconsin districts participating in this program, where the books are being delivered to, are: Adams-Friendship Area School District; Beloit School District; Cambria-Friesland School District; Juda School District; Royall School District; Seneca Area School District; Wauzeka-Steuben School District; and Wonewoc-Union Center School District. (For complete details about the program, visit: https://tec.education.wisc.edu/uw-set-residency-program/.)
“We are very appreciative of our relationship with UW-Madison and author Kate DiCamillo’s generosity in providing our intermediate students with copies of her new book, “Beverly, Right Here,’ ” says Dr. Stanley Munro, superintendent of the School District of Beloit. “As a forward-looking district, we must build in our students a strong foundation in literacy so that they are able to realize their full academic potential. This donation only reinforces this commitment to our students.”
DiCamillo’s 45-minute Zolotow Lecture Thursday night, “What Stories Have Given Me,” is part of this year’s Wisconsin Book Festival. The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public, with no tickets required.
DiCamillo — an author of numerous books for young people — was born in Philadelphia but grew up in Florida. She moved to Minnesota in her 20s, with homesickness and a bitter winter leading her to write, “Because of Winn-Dixie,” her first published novel that became a best-seller and earned her a Newbery honor.
From there, DiCamillo has gone on to explore settings as varied as a medieval castle and a magician’s theater while continuing to enjoy great success, winning two Newbery Medals — for “The Tale of Despereaux” and “Flora & Ulysses” — and being named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
DiCamillo’s most recent trio of interrelated novels (“Raymie Nightingale,” “Louisiana’s Way Home,” and “Beverly, Right Here”) return to the South of her childhood, and are her most autobiographical. Each one features one of three friends facing specific life challenges. Her books’ themes of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances and their messages of shared humanity and connectedness have resonated with readers of all ages around the world.
DiCamillo today has nearly 30 million books in print across the globe.
Established in 1998, the lecture was named to honor Charlotte Zolotow, a distinguished children’s book editor for 38 years with Harper Junior Books, and author of more than 65 picture books, including such classic works as “Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present” and “William’s Doll.” Zolotow attended UW–Madison on a writing scholarship from 1933-36 and she studied with Professor Helen C. White. The CCBC administers the event, which each year brings a distinguished children’s book author or illustrator to the campus to deliver a free public lecture.
This free public event is sponsored by UW–Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), the Wisconsin Book Festival, and the Friends of the CCBC, Inc.
The CCBC is a unique examination, study and research library housed in the School of Education. Its noncirculating collections include current, retrospective and historical books published for children and young adults. A vital gathering place for books, ideas and expertise, the CCBC is committed to identifying excellent literature for children and adolescents and bringing this literature to the attention of those adults who have an academic, professional or career interest in connecting young readers with books.