Katherine Paterson Top Facts

There’s so much to know about Katherine Paterson, a dynamic American writer, and author, who created the award-winning children’s classic – ‘Bridge to Terabithia’.

Katherine Paterson

American Writer

The popularity and mass acceptance of ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ may have made Katherine Paterson very popular among readers, but there are several other facts about the author which are not commonly known to new readers. Here are the top 10 facts about Katherine Paterson that every fan should know.

Paterson Didn’t Want to Be a Writer at First

During one of her interviews, Katherine Paterson revealed she didn’t start out wanting to be a writer of any sort. As a matter of fact, she had many dreams during certain periods of her life growing and none of them involved pen and paper. Her three dreams from childhood to early womanhood were; becoming a movie star, serving the Christian mission, and marrying and populating her home with lots of children.

She Learnt How to Read and Write at Age Four

Young Katherine Paterson was smart and intelligent and learned how to read and write when she was about four – maybe five years old. This was part of the few things that brought her joy and fulfillment as a child – and despite coming halfway across the world knowing only to communicate with Chinese, she picked off quickly easily, and seamlessly on the skills.

Paterson Got into Acting and Dreamt of Being a Movie Star

Acting was one of Katherine Paterson’s passions growing up, and all she wanted to do was become a movie star. She geared towards the direction and got involved in acting through high school, but it was never going to be that she made it into superstardom.

She Engaged in Missionary Duties

Katherine Paterson also lived out one of her other life’s dreams which is evangelism. She was a Christian missionary in a western Virginian school – where she taught several children about the faith.

Paterson Went to Japan on a Friend’s Recommendation

Katherine Paterson was born in China and growing up, she experienced the enmity between China and Japan – during the war. During her young age and while still studying and learning, Paterson wanted to renter China but found that US citizens were barred from entering. He later went to Japan after a Japanese friend of hers convinced her that the Japanese weren’t as bad as she thought.

Her Marriage Almost Ended Her Writing Career

Around 1962 upwards, Katherine Paterson settled down with a Presbyterian pastor, John, and both started a family together and had four children – two of which were adopted. During this period, she found herself being too busy raising her children and managing her home that she was unproductive and almost lost her creative writing prowess. A friend of hers intervened and took her to enroll in an adult creating writing class which she picked up again.

She Doubted Herself After Every Piece Written

Katherine Paterson’s literary success almost felt like a fluke and even she didn’t expect she would excel at it. She revealed she always felt the same way, and after every book was published – she would often feel she had run out of stories but just then another idea of a character would stroll through her thought and the next thing she knew, she’d started transforming it into something very interesting.

She Has a Cute Dog Called Pixie

Despite having a big, loving family to be around, Paterson would normally spend time alone at her Vermont home resigned to her writing and the warm company of her loyal and loving pet dog – Pixie.

Paterson is a Mother of Four, Grandmother of Seven Children

Katherine Paterson got married to John back in 1962 and Both of them have four children – two biological and the other two adopted. David, one of her sons, was part of the inspiration for ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ based on the tragic story of losing his best friend to a lightning strike. Aside from her immediate children, Katherine Paterson also enjoys being the matron of a large, extended family and has up to seven grandchildren.

She Has Written More Than Forty Books and Won Several Awards

Since her writing career began officially in the 1960s, Katherine Paterson has written over forty books – eighteen of which are in the children’s book category.

The prolific writer has also won several awards, nominees, and accolades for her best works. She scuppered the Newbery Medal on two occasions with her works in ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ and ‘Jacob Have I Loved’ – both in 78 and 81 respectively. Katherine Paterson’s other works including ‘The Master Puppeteer’ and ‘The Great Gilly Hopkins’ won the National Book Awards for 77 and 79 respectively.


Who is Pixie to Katherine Paterson?

Pixie is Katherine Paterson’s beloved and loyal pet dog. Pixie lives alone with Paterson at her Vermont home.

What is a very interesting thing about Katherine Paterson readers should know?

One very interesting thing readers may be surprised to know about Katherine Paterson is that from childhood – well into her young adulthood – she wanted to be an actor, not a writer.

Who is Katherine Paterson married to?

John is the name of Katherine Paterson’s husband. Both have been married for more than fifty years now and have children and grandchildren.

What kind of relationship does Katherine Paterson have with Japan?

Having spent a good amount of her childhood in China, Paterson grew up hating Japan for the havoc it caused to China. But, years later, at the recommendation of a friend, she traveled to Japan and admitted she would want to spend the rest of her life among the Japanese.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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