Katherine Applegate

Katherine has written many books for children and young adults, including The Buffalo Storm (a picture book), Roscoe Riley Rules (a chapter book series), and Animorphs (which she wrote with her husband, Michael Grant.) Her novel Home of the Brave was awarded the 2008 Golden Kite Award for Best Fiction, the Bank Street 2008 Josette Frank Award for children's fiction, and was a Judy Lopez Memorial Award honour book.

Katherine lives in California with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

Q: What books did you read when you were a child?

A: I was a big fan of animal books.   We always had dogs or cats or gerbils in the house (I had very tolerant parents), and I was absolutely sure I would grow up to be a veterinarian.  I loved E.B. White (Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little) and Hugh Lofting (Dr. Dolittle.) Eventually, I did work for a vet in high school, but I soon realised I'd rather make things up for a living.

Q: What is the best thing about reading?

A: There's a saying I'm fond of:  "Reading makes immigrants of us all."  A book is a ticket to travel the world, to meet the most remarkable people and have the most breathtaking adventures - and do it all while wearing your sweatpants and bunny slippers.  

Q: What is your all time favourite book?  

A: Charlotte's Web, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in October.   It's truly a perfect book.  As an added plus, I'm pretty sure that the lives of countless home-dwelling spiders have been spared, thanks to Charlotte.  

Q: Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?

A: I think we all lose sight sometimes of how important it is to just sit back and LISTEN.  We're so busy fretting and instructing and advising that we often neglect to hear what children are trying to tell us.  Kids spin wise and poetic and funny stories:  just listen.  I'd give anything for the limitless imagination of the average five-year-old.

Q: How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?

A: The best thing my parents did - and this is truly important - was never to tell me the truth: that writing is a crazy way to make a living, a path full of rejection and frustration, a lonely and uncertain occupation.  By the time I'd figured all that out, it was too late to turn back.  I loved it too much. I hope I lie to my own children as convincingly.

Q: How do you encourage your children to read?

A: We listen to audiobooks while driving, and read together before bed.  Funny characters are always welcome (my daughter loves Sarah Pennypacker's Clementine books, as well as Beverly Cleary's Ramona.)  And you're never too old - at least I never will be - for a picture book!

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