As if being a bestselling author of 17 books to date and the Library of Congress’s 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature weren’t enough for her, Kate DiCamillo, who a year ago received the 2014 Newbery Award for her middle-grade novel, Flora & Ulysses, has been named the Collaborative Summer Library Program’s National Summer Reading Champion.
The Collaborative Summer Library Program is a national nonprofit organization that conceptualizes, produces, and provides public libraries with high-quality summer reading materials for childr en, teens, and adults. CSLP was founded in 1987 in Minnesota – where, coincidentally DiCamillo has resided for more than 20 years. Ten regional library systems there banded together to develop a common summer library reading program for children that would cut costs for all. Members now include the state library systems in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, plus four U.S. territories.
DiCamillo is the first National Summer Reading Champion in the 28-year-old organization’s history. Her term will extend two years, through 2016 and the theme for 2015 is “Every Hero Has a Story.”In her role as SCLP’s National Summer Reading Champion, DiCamillo will shoot a series of public service announcements, participate in a national media campaign, and appear at public library events around the country. Her mission is to encourage families to sign up for and participate in summer reading programs at their local libraries and to raise awareness of the importance of summer reading for children, teens, and adults.
“I am hopeful that in my role as National Summer Reading Champion with CSLP I can encourage young readers to go and find themselves at the library, to find books that capture their imaginations and to spend time with others who love good stories,” DiCamillo said in a release.
“We are overjoyed to have Kate join us as our first ever National Summer Reading Champion,” CSLP’s president Karen Yother said. “Her dedication to lifelong learning through literacy from childhood to adulthood represents everything our organization stands for.”
As for her publisher, even though there will be even greater demands upon DiCamillo’s time that may or may not take her away from her current writing projects – including the next installment of her Deckawoo Drive series scheduled for this fall, plus a middle-grade novel scheduled for release in 2016 – Candlewick executives could not be happier for this latest accolade. “Kate has long been an advocate for community reading initiatives,” Candlewick v-p of publicity Jennifer Roberts told PW, pointing out that DiCamillo’s platform as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is Stories Connect Us; DiCamillo’s philosophy about storytelling is that it strengthens both family and social bonds.
“Promoting the importance of summer reading, and celebrating public libraries as the most important free and accessible hubs of community reading in our country seemed like a natural extension of her ongoing efforts,” Roberts added. “CSLP is an exciting new partner for Kate and Candlewick Press, and we are eager to marry her message with that of our biggest literacy superheroes – our librarians!”