Kate DiCamillo

American children's fiction author

Kate DiCamillo is an American author and prolific writer of children’s books based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Her impact on children’s literature precedes her – and several of her books have gone on to win multiple medals, including the prestigious Newbury award for middle-grade literature won by her masterpiece ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’.

Life Facts

  • Birth name: Katrina Elizabeth DiCamillo
  • Born in Pennsylvania but moved to Florida with her mother and brother at age four.
  • Her father stayed back because of work: he was an orthodontist.
  • She suffered chronic pneumonia as a child. This was majorly the reason her family moved to Florida.
  • From the University of Florida, Kate DiCamillo graduated with an English major in 1987.

Interesting Facts

  • Kate DiCamillo dedicates all her time to writing.
  • She has neither been married nor had any children.
  • Her book, ‘The Tiger Rising’ – not ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ – is widely considered her best novel.
  • She has won the Newbury award on two occasions, making her one of the only six writers to have done so.
  • She’s related to the famous architectural historian Curt DiCamillo.

Famous Books by Kate DiCamillo

With over 25 great books written – not forgetting so many awards collected between them, Kate DiCamillo is well worth her status as an acclaimed writer of modern children’s books. She has come a long way from picking and stacking books of great authors to being a great author herself – all thanks to a life of consistent hard work and goal setting.

Because of Winn-Dixie’ was Kate DiCamillo’s first trial at novel writing, and it unexpectedly flourish among readers and book critics alike – making her a natural for creative writing, especially in the young persons’ literature category. There are several other books DiCamillo has written – with one even rated higher than her masterpiece ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’. Below are highlights of some of her best books.

Because of Winn-Dixie’ is the breakout novel for Kate DiCamillo – and also her very first – and follows the story of young Opal who moves to Naomi, Florida, with the preacher, her father. Opal longs to see her mother – who left them many years ago, and for this reason, loses her sense of companionship; feeling mostly nostalgic, sad, and alone.

One day while shopping in the Winn-Dixie supermarket, Opal finds a shabby dog appearing to have been homeless. She names him after the supermarket she adopts him as her own. Later, this once dirty and unkept dog will teach her how to make friends live life to the fullest, and most importantly, let go of the past.

The Tiger Rising’ is taken to be Kate DiCamillo’s best work to date and follows the story of two friends, Rob and Sistine, who find relief for their grief by watching a caged tiger pace up and down its cage. Rob’s grief comes from losing his mother to cancer, while Sistine’s sadness comes from her parent’s separation. As both searches for a way to find freedom from grief, they reach a decision to uncage the tiger – and what happens next is messy but proves to have worth the risk.

The Tale of Despereaux‘ is one of Kate DiCamillo’s fairy tales which narrates the story of an unusually tiny mouse with very large ears called Despereaux Tilling. Despereaux is completely different in every sense from the mouse race; he is smart, can read, and can understand and enjoy music – and these are things that his people can’t do.

These abilities lead him to befriend a human princess but are declared an outcast by his kind. Despite the life-threatening predicament, this puts him in, Despereaux has never been more determined

Early Life and Education

Kate DiCamillo was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Adolph and Betty DiCamillo. At age four, she moved to Florida with her mother and brother because she suffered severe pneumonia. Her father, Adolph, who was an orthodontist, stayed back – perhaps because of work. He however planned to relocate to be with his family but it never truly happened. Following stabilized health, Kate DiCamillo fared well through grade school, and during college, she attended the University of Florida where she attained a degree in English studies – followed by a move to Minnesota.

Literary Career

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Kate DiCamillo took a few menial jobs before landing one that enabled her to work at a book warehouse where she worked and interacted with tons of books by great authors. This experience was tremendous in inspiring her writing career as, in the year 2000, she released her first novel ‘Because of Winn-Dixie’ – which became very successful, serving as the breakout for her colorful literary career.

Literature by Kate DiCamillo

Explore literature by Kate DiCamillo below, created by the team at Book Analysis.