American children’s fiction author Kate DiCamillo has published more than 25 novels and has sold millions of copies of her booksworldwide. It’s easy to understand why parents and children love her fascinating books. If, like millions of fans, you love Kate’s work, what are some of the things she enjoys doing?
Kate DiCamillo enjoys dining out at restaurants, observing people and her surroundings, spending time with her dog (to whom she says she’s an aunt), and reading novels instead of just writing them.
In this article, I’ll explore these and other things that Kate DiCamillo enjoys doing in her spare time and feature some fascinating facts about her writing. Let’s get started!
Kate is a highly disciplined writer who writes daily. She likes to get up early in the morning while it’s still dark outside to write. This has helped her to be prolific with her novels. “[Writing is] the first thing I do,” Kate told The Gazette. “I write just two pages, but I’ve found that if I just write two pages every day, it can become a novel in a year’s time.”
When thinking about what to eat for dinner, Kate is likely to want to eat out instead of dining in – and there’s an intriguing reason for that. “I was so poor for so long, it is a thrill going into a restaurant and ordering food,” Kate told The Mini Page. She adds that her favorite food is pizza.
The experiences we go through in life shape our personalities, and the challenges we face make us stronger. Kate agrees with this, because experiencing regular bouts of pneumonia as a child helped her become more observant of the people around her.
“Looking back, I can see all that illness for what it was: a gift that shaped me and made me what I am. I was alone a lot. I learned to rely on my imagination for entertainment,” she’s quoted as saying in J Rank. “Because I was always on the lookout for the next needle, the next tongue depressor, I learned to watch and listen and gauge the behavior of those around me. I became an imaginative observer.
That experience has contributed to making her a creative and successful writer.
Many successful authors encourage unpublished writers to read many books, and it makes sense that if you want to write well, you should read as much as you can. Not only does Kate Dicamillo have incredible writing talent, but she loves reading books in her spare time, a habit that she’s maintained since childhood.
“I read a couple of books a week,” she told The Guardian, adding that approximately 80 percent of her reading material is adult contemporary literature and the remaining 20 percent consists of non-fiction and children’s books.
Many children’s books contain valuable lessons that people of any age can benefit from, and Kate’s books are prime examples, with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane being one. You can find out more about this book by reading our guide, “7 Best Kids’ Books About Toys.”
If you’ve read Kate’s books, you’ll know that they always feature animal characters. She loves animals but hasn’t always been able to own them. When she worked at a book warehouse in Minneapolis, she lived in an apartment where the owners didn’t allow her to keep a dog.
Her desire to have a dog of her own inspired Kate to include a dog in one of her stories and that’s how her successful and award-winning first book, Because of Winn-Dixie, came about.
Although not much is known about her personal life, Kate has stated that she’s an aunt to a dog named Henry, as Walker Books reports. The website goes on to say that Kate had dreams of becoming a vet when she was a child, which further shows how much she loves animals.
Kate DiCamillo lives in south Minneapolis and loves going for eight-mile walks daily. She takes these walks with her mini goldendoodle called Ramona. Reflecting on this, she tells Mpls St. Paul Magazine, “Sometimes I have to pull the dog off the couch. She’s like, ‘What?! Again?’ Yes: We’re going again.”
She adds, “People, if they’re not from here, say you can’t walk in winter. No. The lake paths stay plowed all winter long. I finally got the cleats you put on over your boots. They’re fantastic.”
Kate isn’t married and she doesn’t have children, but she has mentioned that she has a wide circle of friends. She likes to spend time at her friends’ houses, and sometimes they play games like Scrabble.
When she’s spending time with people she loves, Kate is full of humor – and she’s even been chased out of restaurants because her laugh is so loud.
Back in 2013 when Kate was interviewed by Mackin Community, she said that her publishers at the time would send her about 30 fan mail letters weekly. “I like getting them,” she said in the interview. “I have a postcard that I send, and I generally write a small note on there.”
Her fan mail increased dramatically when movies based on her novels started being produced, which caused her to struggle to keep up with answering the fan mail with personal notes. However, she states, “As long as it stays between 15 and 30 letters, I can read them all and include a personal note!”
Although Kate doesn’t have any children of her own, she loves being around kids. She realized this from the experience of being a keynote speaker at events and going to schools to speak to children.
“When the offer comes [to go speak at schools], go,” she told listeners in an interview on the podcast First Draft. “One of the great things that I discovered is how much I really love being around kids and talking with them.”
- The Gazette: Offering Hope: Newberry Winner Kate DiCamillo Loves Writing For Children, Young Adults
- The Mini Page: Meet Author Kate DiCamillo
- Jrank: Kate DiCamillo (1964-) Biography
- The Guardian: Kate DiCamillo: I Just Realised That I Am Always the One Forcing Other People To Read Books
- Walker Books: Kate DiCamillo
- Mpls St. Paul Magazine: Kate DiCamillo Might Be Your Neighbor
- Mackin Community: Newberry Medal Author Kate DiCamillo
- First Draft: First Draft Episode #235: Kate DiCamillo