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Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Kate DiCamillo delivered her Kerlan Award acceptance speech last week at the U of M. Entitled "Storks, Work, and Better Health Through Better Plumbing," it was the story of her own journey as a reader and writer. Upon moving to Minnesota, she accepted a job as a picker on the third floor at the Bookmen in Minneapolis. A picker went among the shelves, filling customer orders by picking the desired books. It was here Kate began reading children's books, all of which were housed on the third floor. Her first was The Watsons Go to Burmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. 

I love the idea of a picker doing her (or his) picking. It is what we do when we go to the library. Often times, we know just the book we want. Other times, we wander, scanning the shelves for something that appeals to our senses. Allowing readers that freedom to pick what they want is essential to reading success. Picking books for which we have passion stimulates even greater interest. 

Today my young neighbor friends picked Mercy Watson books for me to read aloud. We giggled together at the adventures of a porcine wonder whose love of toast with a great deal of butter on it surpasses all other things on her mind.


  1. Great story and a wonderful analogy. I think I'll go to the library tomorrow, return some books and become a picker.

  2. beautiful shot. may a warm light always shine on this author who has brought so many wonderful characters and stories into our lives. how wonderful that her first children's book read as an adult was The Watsons...

  3. How I love her books, most especially Winn Dixie!!! I recently "picked" a book off of my library's shelves instead of electronically placing a request that a librarian then picked off of a shelf for me. My choice was not great literature (guilty pleasure) but perfect for the place I'm in at the moment...I loved browsing the shelves once again & letting myself be attracted to covers & titles...