Katherine Womeldorf Paterson (born October 31, 1932) is a Chinese-born American writer best known for children's novels, including Bridge to Terabithia. For four different books published 1975-1980, she won two Newbery Medals and two National Book Awards. She is one of four people to win the two major international awards; for "lasting contribution to children's literature" she won the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing in 1998 and for her career contribution to "children's and young adult literature in the broadest sense" she won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council in 2006, the biggest monetary prize in children's literature. Also for her body of work she was awarded the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature in 2007 and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the American Library Association in 2013. She was the second U.S. National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, serving 2010 and 2011.
Katherine Womeldorf was born in Qing Jiang, China, to Presbyterian Missionaries Rev. G. (George) Raymond and Mary Womeldorf. Her father supported her family by preaching and heading Sutton 690, a boys’ school. The Womeldorf family lived in a Chinese neighborhood and immersed themselves in Chinese culture. When Katherine was five years old, the family fled China during the Japanese invasion of 1937. Her family returned to the United States at the onset of World War II.Paterson said during World War II, her parents and four siblings lived in Virginia and North Carolina, and when her family’s return to China was indefinitely postponed, they moved to various towns in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, before her parents settled in Winchester, Virginia. The Womeldorf family moved 15 times over 13 years.
Known for Writing
Birthday 1932-10-31 (89 years old)
Place of birth Huai'an District, People's Republic of China
Citizenships United States of America
Also known as Katherine Peterson, Katherine Womeldorf
Awards National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Newbery Honor, Library of Congress Living Legend, Regina Medal, Newbery Medal, Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Children's Literature Legacy Award, Hans Christian Andersen Award