As a gift for children who are sheltering in place this summer, Newbery Medalist Katherine Paterson has released an original story for free on the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance website. The author of more than 30 books, Paterson also served as the 2010–2011 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is a v-p of the NCBLA.
In her introduction to “William and the Mysterious Brame,” Paterson explains the genesis of the story. The idea first came to her in “a career bad dream,” circa 1985, which took place at a bookstore. In the dream, Paterson was shown a closet full of cans that contained “a cross between Flintstones vitamins and dog biscuits” that, when eaten, released part of a story. She was horrified to learn that her latest book was published in that bizarre format.
Paterson was so struck by the dream that she wrote about it in a letter to her friend and fellow writer Stephanie Tolan. Flash forward 35 years later, when Tolan was cleaning out her house during quarantine and rediscovered the note, which she shared with Paterson. It wasn’t until Paterson’s son suggested she turn it into a story that the author put pen to paper. The result is dedicated to her grandsons, Aiden and Peyton. “I turned my crazy dream into a story for them,” she told readers in the intro. “They got it first, so I am now re-gifting a slightly used story to you. I hope you have fun with it.”
An accompanying activity kit and resources are also available on the NCBLA website.