2016 National Book Award Longlist, Young People's Literature

Kate DiCamillo

Raymie Nightingale
Raymie Nightingale
(Candlewick Press)
ISBN: 978-0763681173

National Book Foundation: Who did you write this book for?
Kate DiCamillo: I started Raymie's story knowing two things: 1. Raymie's name (Raymie Clarke) and 2. the name of the pageant she had entered (The Little Miss Central Florida Tire Contest). I thought it was going to be a funny book, a book about an inept child and a beauty contest. But then two other characters showed up (Beverly Tapinski and Lousiana Elefante), and I discovered that Raymie's father was gone, and the story turned and became an examination of loss and hope and joy and friendship. So, I guess I wrote Raymie Nightingale for my own heart, and for the hearts of my friends.


Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

About the Author

Kate DiCamillo’s Lora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures was on the National Book Award Longlist for Young People’s Literature in 2013, and she was a National Book Award Finalist for the same category in 2001 for The Tiger Rising. She won a Newbery Medal in 2004 for The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread.  DiCamillo served as the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2014 and 2015.


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