Kate DiCamillo

The Inspiration

More about Kate DiCamillo

Two of Kate DiCamillo's award-winning books—Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux—have been made into movies.

If you haven't seen the films, you'll likely find DVDs in your local library. You can also see clips and more from The Tale of Despereaux or check out this interview with Kate when Because of Winn-Dixie was released in theaters.

Kate DiCamillo

When Kate DiCamillo was lonely for the company of a dog and her landlord wouldn't allow pets, she imagined one for herself instead. The big friendly dog she invented turned out to be Winn-Dixie, the title character of the Newbery Award winning Because of Winn-Dixie.

Winn-Dixie got his name from the grocery store. Kate DiCamillo grew up in Florida and this southern chain was her neighborhood market. She soaked up the stories and sounds of the south and later in life, during a cold Minnesota winter, Winn-Dixie was born. Her willingness to take the time to look and listen to the world around her introduced her to the many flavors of life. This gives her the ability to create complex characters whether they are dogs, mice, rats, princesses or just people, with very real feelings and longings of their own.

The Prompt

Write It Film It

For the queen in Kate DiCamillo's The Tale of Despereaux, it was soup. Soup was her very favorite food and after her death, the king outlawed it and any cooking utensils needed to make it. In the Kingdom of Dor, when you thought of soup, you thought of the queen. But soup was also remembered for the warm comfort it gives. Introduce us to your favorite comfort food and demonstrate your delicious dish. Share a funny or interesting story about why this is a favorite food.

Write It

Writing a recipe down is a great way to share food favorites with others. For this prompt, you need to write your recipe and give it a name—something that makes it stand out from similar recipes. Don't send in a recipe for "chocolate chip cookies." We're looking for something more descriptive, like "Rachael's Dear and Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies" or "Chase the Blues Away Chocolate Chipsters." When writing your recipe, be sure to include all the ingredients, the amounts used, the dishes and utensils needed, the preparation steps and the cooking temperature and time.

Submit your recipe.

Film It

There are plenty of cooking shows you can watch for ideas on presentation, framing and shooting style. Some things to definitely keep in mind:

  • Know where the action is and have your camera set up to capture it. It is important to show what the cook is doing with his/her hands, but also remember to show the cook's face.
  • Have your ingredients measured and ready and do as much preparation (peeling, chopping, mincing, etc.) as possible before you start the camera.
  • The cook should talk to the camera so that the viewer feels like the recipe is being explained and demonstrated just for him. Offer little stories about why you like this food or occasions when you've made it before.
  • Show your finished dish! Make sure we get a good look at it before you sample it on camera.

Upload your cooking video.

More about Kate DiCamillo

We Are Storytellers promo


Space Rangers

Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.

Sign up for our free newsletters about reading

Our Literacy Blogs

"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl