Stories of My Life

Katherine Paterson. Dial, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8037-4043-3
“Sometimes I can’t believe my own life,” writes Paterson in these autobiographical stories about her missionary parents, her childhood in China and the U.S., and her career—first as a missionary herself and, after marriage and motherhood, as one of the most decorated authors in children’s literature. Fans of her novels will enjoy learning about the real-life places and events that inspired her work: the family farm that became the setting for Park’s Quest, the similarities between her mother and Susan Bradshaw in Jacob Have I Loved, and the death of her son’s best friend that led to Bridge to Terabithia. Written in a conversational style, these “kitchen sink stories” will perhaps be received best by professional adults and readers who grew up with her books; much of what she recounts is about the distant past, courtship, and motherhood. What absolutely shines through is Paterson’s warm, self-effacing humor, and the extraordinary humility of a writer who has won two National Book Awards, two Newbery Medals, and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. Like Mark Twain, to whom she is distantly related, Paterson is a true American treasure. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)■
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014
Release date: 10/16/2014
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