Katherine Paterson on finding connections and true literacy

Katherine Paterson is a prolific author of books for children and young adults - her most famous being Bridge to Terebithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins. Another two favourites are Jacob Have I Loved and Parzival.

This compilation from ‘Hope and Happy Endings’ in A Sense of Wonder: On Reading and Writing Books for Children.

In order to have peace we must be able to see connections.

In order to have peace we must use our imaginations….

We must devote ourselves to finding connections rather than causing or fearing divisions. 

We have to give imagination a chance….

Every person in the world has the basic right to learn how to read and write. But we must not by content to merely teach the decoding of words….our goal for those we teach must be much more …

It must be true literacy – the kind of freeing experience…. when the mind is cut loose and the imagination soars….

It is not enough simply to teach children to read: we have to give them something worth reading.

Something that will stretch imaginations – something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own….peace is not won by those who fiercely guard their differences but by those who with open minds and hearts seek out connections.

Therefore, our task as teachers and writers, artists and parents, is to nourish the imagination…”

P.S. You can tell how highly I regard Bridge to Terebithia in this essay from the very early days of WTBA.