Press release provided to the The Children’s Book Review by the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council.
Published: January 5, 2009
Katherine Paterson, two-time winner of the National Book Award and Newbery Medal, was today named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. Paterson will serve in the position during 2010 and 2011; she succeeds Jon Scieszka, appointed in 2008, who was the first person to hold the title. Katherine Paterson has chosen “Read for Your Life” as the theme for her platform.
“Katherine Paterson represents the finest in literature for young people,” said Dr. Billington. “Her renown is national as well as international, and she will most ably fulfill the role of a national ambassador who speaks to the importance of reading and literacy in the lives of America’s youth.”The National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is named by the Librarian of Congress for a two-year term, based on recommendations from a selection committee representing many segments of the book community. The selection criteria include the candidate’s contribution to young people’s literature and ability to relate to children. The position was created to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.
The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council (CBC), and Every Child a Reader, the CBC foundation, are the sponsors of the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature initiative (www.read.gov/cfb/). Financial support for the National Ambassador program is provided by Penguin Young Readers Group, Scholastic Inc., HarperCollins Children’s Books, Random House Children’s Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan Publishers, Holiday House, Charlesbridge, National Geographic Children’s Books, Candlewick Press and Marshall Cavendish Publishers.
“Katherine Paterson is a longtime friend and supporter of the Library of Congress, and we are honored that she will be the national spokesperson for our message to young people, parents and caregivers that reading is fundamental for success in life,” said John Y. Cole, the Center’s director. “Katherine has been a popular speaker at previous National Book Festivals, and we look forward to her participation in the 2010 event.”
“This selection exemplifies the spectacular and diverse pool of talented authors who are writing for children in this country and denotes the breadth and strength of this program,” said Robin Adelson, executive director of the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. “Jon and Katherine have exceedingly different writing styles, yet they are able to captivate and connect with their respective readers in an equally magical way.”
Katherine Paterson’s international fame rests not only on her widely acclaimed novels but also on her efforts to promote literacy in the United States and abroad. A two-time winner of the Newbery Medal (“Bridge to Terabithia” and “Jacob Have I Loved”) and the National Book Award (“The Great Gilly Hopkins” and “The Master Puppeteer”), she has received many other accolades for her body of work, including the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, given by her home state of Vermont. Paterson was also named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000. Paterson’s most recent book is “The Day of the Pelican,” a moving, dramatic story of a refugee family’s flight from war-torn Kosovo to America. She and her husband, John, live in Barre, Vt. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Formore information, visit www.terabithia.com.
The Center for the Book (www.loc.gov/cfbook), a public-private partnership, was established by Congress in 1977 “to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, literacy, and libraries.” With its many educational programs that reach readers of all ages, through its support of the National Book Festival and through its dynamic state centers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Center for the Book has developed a nationwide network of organizational partners dedicated to promoting the wonders and benefits of reading. The Center also oversees the new Read.gov website, with its exclusive “Exquisite Corpse Adventure” serialized story.
The Children’s Book Council, established in 1945, is the nonprofit trade association of publishers of trade books for children and young adults in the United States. The CBC promotes the use and enjoyment of trade books for young people, most prominently as the official sponsor of Children’s Book Week, the longest running literacy event in the country. The goal of the Children’s Book Council is to make the reading and enjoyment of books for young people an essential part of America’s educational and social goals, as well as to enhance the public perception of the importance of reading by disseminating information about books for young people and about children’s book publishing. Every Child a Reader, the CBC foundation, is a separate legal entity created by the Board of Directors of the CBC. Every Child a Reader is dedicated to supporting positive programs and opportunities that help promote the enjoyment and importance of reading among America’s youth. For more information about the CBC, please visit www.cbcbooks.org and for Every Child a Reader, please visit www.ecarfoundation.org.