Katherine Paterson has written numerous children’s books and received many awards, including two Newbery medals. Most of her books are aimed at upper elementary and middle school readers.
Several books have been made into movies, such as Bridge to Terebithia. This story deals with many issues facing children, such as not fitting in, bullying, growing up, and even death. Adults, as well, can take away lessons from this and her other books. The movie version was released in 2007 and is now available on DVD. Jacob Have I Loved became a made-for TV movie in 1989.
Throughout Paterson’s writing you will find Christian themes and values. Her parents were missionaries to China, and she was a missionary to Japan for four years before marrying a Presbyterian pastor. Some of her first paid writing was Bible curriculum for 5th and 6th graders. She began writing fiction as a young mother, while having four babies in four years (two were adopted).
The following is a recommend list (my favorites), but all of Paterson’s books are award winners and worthy of reading.
- Bridge to Terebithia – The story of Jess and Leslie and the world they build together is a must-read.
- Jip, His Story – An orphan boy in the 1850s is left to grow up on a poor farm. This is an eye-opener into issues still faced today, such as mental illness, and a picture of an unusual friendship.
- The Great Gilly Hopkins – Often banned because of its subject matter and the language and behavior of the title character, this is a story of a foster child who learns about love.
- Jacob Have I Loved – This Newbery Medal winner takes its title from scripture. Louise grows up in the shadow of her twin, Caroline, but learns to be her own person and finds joy in a small town.
- Lyddie – Set in the 19th century, this book gives a picture of the conditions surrounding work in the textile mills. Lyddie reappears later as a character in Jip, His Story.
- Flip-Flop Girl – This is a story of nine year old Vinnie who must adjust to many changes, including a new school.