Stories of My Life by Katherine Paterson #NetGalley #ARCReview #BookReview #NewberyMedal #NationalBookAward

From her childhood in China to the moment she won her first National Book Award, literary icon Katherine Paterson shares the personal stories that inspired her children’s books.
Told with her trademark humor and heart, Paterson’s tales reveal details about her life from her childhood with missionary parents, to living as a single woman in Japan, to raising four children in suburban Maryland with her minister husband. Read about the origins of such familiar characters as Leslie Burke and Janice Avery from Bridge to Terabithia, and go behind the scenes to the moments Katherine found out she won her many awards. Filled with personal photos and letters, this funny, heartwarming history from a legendary writer lets fans in on the making of literary classics.

Katherine Paterson is the beloved author of many books for young readers, including Bridge to Terabithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved, The Master Puppeteer, and the Christmas books A Stubborn Sweetness and Other Stories for the Christmas Season and The Night of His Birth. She has been honored with nearly every major award for children’s literature, including the Newbery Medal, a Newbery Honor, the National Book Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, and more than one hundred other awards and honors. She was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000 and served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in 2010-2011.”

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Stories of My Life (Amazon) (AbeBooks) book from NetGalley and Westminster John Knox Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Katherine Paterson wrote the most impactful books for me as I grew up. I did not know that her life was just as fascinating as her books. Not only is she an award-winning author, she was a missionary kid, teacher, preacher’s wife, devoted mother, and a Christian.

Paterson reveals the ups and downs of her life. She starts the book with the three most frequently asked questions from readers: How did you become a writer? Where do you get your ideas? How does it feel to be famous?

This memoir (I don’t care that she doesn’t think of it as a memoir, it reads like one) was enlightening. I had no idea that Paterson had such an interesting life as a missionary kid, then as a missionary wife. Despite the unusual nature of her early life, she quickly proves that she’s just an ordinary woman who has led an extraordinary life. This has proved useful when coming up for ideas for her books.

I’m always amazed when someone writes about their life and has vivid stories of their youth because I can barely recall my own memories from such young ages. Paterson admits that she never thought she was going to be a writer and kept no diaries or had any early writings to look back on when she wrote this autobiography. Still, the memories she does have are compelling and there’s an easy flow to the book. Her memories flow easily from her pen, and she shares her inspiration for many of her books.

Bridge to Terabithia (Amazon) (AbeBooks), The Great Gilly Hopkins (Amazon) (AbeBooks) and Jacob Have I Loved (Amazon) (AbeBooks) were required reading in fifth grade, just a few years after they had won the Newbery honors and the National Book Award. I was instantly smitten with Paterson’s writing, and these books are still among my favorites of all time. They definitely left a lasting impression on me. Bridge to Terabithia was most helpful to me the following year, when my grandmother died. It was the first loss in my life, and I re-read the book for a sense of comfort, and because Jessie had his own loss in the book that he had to get over.

I’m so glad I got to know one of my favorite author a bit better. Katherine Paterson has led such an interesting life that I’m glad she decided to share many parts of it with her readers.

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