Katherine Paterson

As the daughter of two missionaries, Katherine Paterson spent the first five years of her life in China. When the Japanese invaded during World War II, her family returned to the United States. By the age of 18, Paterson had moved over 18 times with her family. After studying English literature in Tennessee and Bible and Christian education in Virginia, Paterson moved to Japan as a missionary herself. She fell in love with Japan and stayed for four years.

After returning to the United States in 1961, Katherine met and married John Paterson, a Presbyterian pastor in Buffalo, New York. By 1966, the Patersons had four children, two of whom they adopted. When she wasn't busy raising a family, she spent her time writing, though it was a long nine years before her first novel was published. Paterson credits her husband for having faith in her abilities "during all those years that no one wanted to publish anything I had written."

By the early 1980s, Katherine Paterson had solidified her prestigious place in children's literature. In 1978, she won the Newbery Medal for Bridge to Terabithia. The following year, The Great Gilly Hopkins won a Newbery Honor, and just two years after that, Jacob Have I Loved won the 1981 Newbery Medal. In addition to middle grade novels, Paterson has written picture books and stories for younger children, including the popular Marvin series.

Books by This Author

Bread and Roses, Too

When a strike takes a dangerous turn, Rosa and Jake leave their homes for the safety of a neighboring town. Paterson uses the real events of the Lawrence textile strike as a backdrop for a compelling story about the turn of the century immigrant experience.

Bridge to Terabithia

Illustrated by: Donna Diamond
Age Level: Middle Grade (9-14)
Despite coming from different backgrounds, fifth-graders Jess and Leslie develop a deep friendship. Together they create an imaginary place where they alone rule as king and queen. This Newbery Medal book is told with humor and sensitivity and is filled with the joy of friendship, the pain of losing it, and the hope of healing.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Age Level: 6-9
The 13th century St. Francis of Assisi hymn of praise, "The Canticle of the Sun", pays homage to the natural world. It has been newly interpreted and freshly illustrated with handsome, memorable, and respectful results

Flint Heart

An ancient talisman resurfaces to once again create misery until a true heart destroys it forever. The husband and wife team rework this early 20th century fantasy making it accessible to contemporary audiences. Lush illustrations and rich language make this a fine family read aloud.

Jacob Have I Loved

Sara Louise Bradshaw knows that she should be proud of her beautiful twin Caroline. But how can she? Ever since they were born, Caroline has done nothing but take from Louise: their parents' – and only – friend. For once in her life, Louise wants to experience the kind of happiness that has always come so easily to Caroline. But in order to do that, she must first figure out who she is, and then make a place for herself outside her sister's shadow.


Lyddie is a resourceful, self-sufficient girl who leaves Vermont to work in a Lowell, Massachusetts factory. Historical detail about life in 19th century New England combined with a portrait of this fiercely independent girl create an unforgettable novel.

Marvin One Too Many

Illustrated by: Jane Clark Brown
Age Level: 6-9
Marvin's excitement about first grade quickly dwindles when his name doesn't appear on the list and the class is short one desk. Add to that the fact that he struggles to read, well, it's clear that he's just "one too many." Things improve when Marvin's parents find out what is going on and his father shares his difficulty learning to read.

Marvin's Best Christmas Ever

Illustrated by: Jane Clark Brown
Age Level: 6-9
The year that Marvin made a handsome wreath as a present for his parents, they decided to leave it up after the holidays. By spring, even though it was brown and no longer very attractive, the wreath had become home for another family. And so it stayed even longer – making it Marvin’s best Christmas ever. As with other books about Marvin, readers will see themselves in his likable character.

Preacher's Boy

It's 1899 and Robbie Hewitt isn't sure what the new century will bring, so he decides to have as much fun as possible - just in case! When Robbie stops worrying about God (and his preacher father), his choices lead him into trouble, and the people around him into danger.