- courtesy of katherine paterson
Montpelier author Katherine Paterson has won the E.B. White Award, given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters to a writer for achievement in children's literature. "It's just a real thrill," says Paterson, who calls White one of her "genuine literary heroes." As a graduate student, she kept Strunk and White's The Elements of Style nearby any time she had to write, she says. She read all of White's children's books to her own four children "and cried over Charlotte's Web more times than I can imagine. It's just wonderful to have an award with his name on it." The honor comes with $10,000 and is the latest in a long string of accolades for Paterson, who has written more than 30 books, including 17 novels for children and young adults. She is a two-time winner of the John Newbery Medal — for Bridge to Terabithia in 1978 and for Jacob Have I Loved in 1981 — and a two-time winner of the National Book Award — for The Master Puppeteer in 1977 and for The Great Gilly Hopkins in 1979. Paterson, 86, is at work on a new novel for children. She doesn't call any of her books her favorite, though Bridge to Terabithia has outsold the others. "You know, it's hard to say 'favorite' because I had a different relationship with each of them, and they were written for different reasons..." she says. "I don't think any of my children or my books are perfect, but I love them all."