Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo at the Bath Festival


I first heard of Kate DiCamillo when I found 'Because of Winn Dixie' while on holiday in America and have loved her writing ever since. Today, I was thrilled to see her at the Bath Festival. 

Kate read from 'Raymie Nightingale' , a book much-loved by the NSTBA team and JAB members. To hear her soft accent breathe life into the story was pure pleasure. She told us how she was like Raymie as a child- anxious and 'busy being terrified'-and discussed the recurring theme of missing parents in her writing. 

Her talk was full of anecdotes and humour and I could have listened to her for hours. If you haven't read 'Raymie Nightingale' or 'Because of Winn Dixie' or any of Kate's other books, put them at the top of your 'to be read soon' list!


Raymie Nightingale


'Raymie Nightingale' is a lovely story about friendship, yet is far more complex than it first might seem.

Raymie's father has left home. He's gone off with a dental hygienist and so Raymie forms a plan. If she can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father will see her picture in the paper and will come home. However, she finds there is more to the competition than just competing- learning how to twirl a baton, doing good deeds- she also has to beat the other competitors: Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski.

The three girls couldn't be more different yet as the competition approaches, they come together to form an odd friendship which really works. Each girl benefits from the relationship- and it helps Raymie find out more about herself and come to terms with her father leaving. 

 The book offers so many possibilities for use in the classroom as there is far more to this story than it first appears. The characters are well formed and very individual with quirky traits, offering plenty of drama, discussion and writing opportunities. 

'Raymie Nightingale' is a beautiful story of love and loss, hurt and healing, fun and friendship.


Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

Candlewick Press    ISBN:  978-0763681173