"Diary of a Dreamer"
Growing up, Karen Cushman wanted to be a movie star or ballet dancer, an archaeologist or brain surgeon, depending on whichever book she had just read. She received undergraduate degrees from Stanford and went on to receive not one, but two masters degrees. She didn’t start writing full-time until her fiftieth birthday! Although she was a “late bloomer,” she wasted no time in winning awards. Cushman has a passion for imagining what long-ago life was like for ordinary kids.
Her characters, often gutsy girls figuring out who they are, have lived in the American West, Cold War Hollywood, and medieval England. Although Cushman’s work is rooted in history, kids (and adults!) today will have no problem relating to her characters and stories.
This spring, Cushman will be on tour for the 20th anniversary of her Newbery Honor winning book Catherine, Called Birdy. The novel transports the reader to the Middle Ages and to life inside the walls of an English manor, where the heroine, Catherine, lives with her family. Catherine’s story is told through her diary and includes her dreams—to be a painter, minstrel, or Crusader—and the reality that her father plans to marry her off to the highest bidder. This beloved book continues to be a favorite among teens and their parents. Other titles include the The Midwife’s Apprentice, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, Alchemy and Meggy Swan, and Will Sparrow’s Road.