Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kate DiCamillo on Mercy Watson's 10th Birthday!

On Thursday, October 15, 2015 my 3rd graders and I thoroughly enjoyed celebrating Mercy Watson's 10th Birthday by watching a live-broadcast of author, Kate DiCamillo. Thanks to the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, we registered to watch the broadcast. A few days before, we emailed our questions. Then at 1pm EST, we joined students all around the globe to listen to Kate talk about the Mercy character she created and her writing process.

Definitely my students favorite part was when the moderator said, "Students at Discovery ES in Virginia want to know why the Watsons always call the fire department and Eugenia always calls the Police Department?" Cheers erupted because our question was being asked. Kate said: "I like the idea that you can always ask for help so I include that in these stories." A nice thought!

Here are some pictures from the day:

Our class sign.

Class watching Kate on the Smart Panel.

Kate reading aloud to us.

Kate meeting a real pig at the end of the live broadcast!!

Here's some highlights of what she said:
* She published her first book, Because of Winn Dixie, at age 36. Now she is 51 and has published a total of 31 books. She has 4 more in the works with a new novel coming out in April.
* Her typical day as a writer is to get up at 5:30am, get a cup of coffee from the automatic coffee maker and write 2 pages. Every day - 2 pages.
* As a child, she was sick a lot and she spent LOTS of time reading books and imagining stories.
* She admitted that writing is a very solitary activity. However, she does have a community of writing friends that gives her feedback and tells her if her stories make sense.
* She got the idea of making Mercy's favorite food toast with butter the day she drove her friend to the airport using her brand new car and her friend got into the car with toast with butter and proceeded to tell her how great this food is. 
* Of all the characters she has written, she admits that Sistine Bailey and Flora are the two most like her.
* She always has a small moleskin notebook with her to jot down ideas. 
* she travels to "fill her well" and discover new ideas to write about.
* New York City is a favorite place to travel because she can walk 3 blocks and get so many writing ideas.
* She does not believe in "writer's block". Instead, she feels there are good writing days and bad writing days. But no matter what, you need to show up and write. That's why she writes 2 pages a day, every day. 
* Advise for budding writers - READ LOTS and Don't give up. She had 6 years of rejection letters.

More can be found AT HER WEBSITE


  1. I'm with you on this one! Writers are rock stars. We are so lucky to have them so accessible. Thank you for sharing her and her advice. What a gift for your students!

  2. What a great day in your classroom. To be able to watch Kate (who I agree with you is a Rock Star) and to have their question asked.

  3. What an amazing experience! I am sharing this list with my students, her fans.