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Kate DiCamillo Spins a New Tale

Author Kate DiCamillo’s latest book, Ferris, is about 10-year-old Ferris Wilkey and her offbeat family.

A posed shot of Kate DiCamillo next to the cover of her book, Ferris.
© Catherine Smith Photography, Candlewick Press
Kate DiCamillo has written more than 25 books.

In Kate DiCamillo’s new book, Ferris, 10-year-old Ferris Wilkey is having a busy summer. Her aunt and uncle have broken up, her little sister is trying to get in trouble, and her grandmother says she sees a ghost. It’s a sweet story of an offbeat but loving family. It also happens to be hilarious.

If anyone knows how to write a great story, it’s DiCamillo. Her first book, Because of Winn-Dixie, won several awards and was later made into a movie. Since then, she’s written many other books, including Flora & Ulysses and The Tale of Despereaux. In most of them, the main character is under 13 years old. It may be hard to imagine how an adult can write about a kid’s thoughts and feelings. But DiCamillo says she remembers very well what it was like to be a child.

“I am, basically, an 8-year-old,” DiCamillo told the New York Times. That could be why so many kids feel like they can relate to DiCamillo’s books. The proof of this is in the hundreds of fan letters she receives every week, and in the crowds of people who come to see her when she goes on tour to promote her books. 

“I’m deeply moved by it… I’m astonished by it,” she told the Associated Press. 

DiCamillo has loved a good story since she was a kid. Now, her own stories are inspiring new generations of young readers. 

“Stories help us see each other and help us see ourselves,” DiCamillo told

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Fun Fact

Kate DiCamillo’s dog, Ramona, is named after Ramona Quimby, a character created by children’s author Beverly Cleary.
Kate DiCamillo sits on a couch with her arm around a black dog with curly fur.
© Catherine Smith Photography

Songs of Spring!

March 19 is the first day of spring. But if you live in a place where there are four seasons, you know that the change from winter to spring doesn’t happen in a day. It’s a gradual thing. If you want to know if spring is really here, ask the birds!

While some birds sing all year, the trees are filled with music in the spring. That’s because, as the weather warms up, the male birds of many species have a song they use to attract mates.

Speaking of bird songs, did you know that not all bird species sing? What’s more, each singing species has its own calls and songs, which means it’s possible to tell what kind of bird is singing just by hearing it.

Check out these bird calls. Maybe you’ll recognize some from your neighborhood!

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Blue Jay
A blue and white bird perches on top of a post.

Northern Cardinal

Song Sparrow

Mountain Chickadee

Downy Woodpecker

Spring Has Sprung for Some!

© Mihai Andritoiu/
These photos show the same trees in the different seasons.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s spring. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s fall. Have you ever wondered why? You can learn more about seasons at Britannica.
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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: a day when day and night are the same length

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