© 2023 90.7 WMFE. All Rights Reserved.
Public Media for Central Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Kate DiCamillo On Childhood Beauty Pageants, Reading, & Growing Up In Clermont

Kate DiCamillo. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Kate DiCamillo. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Award winning author Kate DiCamillo returns to Central Florida and her past as a childhood beauty pageant contestant in her latest novel Raymie Nightingale.

The novel's 10 year old hero, Raymie Clarke, enters the Little Miss Central Florida Tire contest in an attempt to reconnect with her missing father.

DiCamillo, who now lives in Minneapolis, said she has a clear memory of standing on the stage of the 'Little Miss Orange Blossom' contest as a child and thinking "Wow, I shouldn't be here."

"My Mom has passed away, so I can't ask why she put me in that contest,  because if there was anybody who should not have been in a Little Miss Orange Blossom Contest, it was me," said DiCamillo.

Growing up, DiCamillo said she read everything she could.

"I read my way through the school library, the public library. My mother was spectacular about buying me books, reading to me, taking me to the library," she said.

"I needed every book I could get my hands on- it felt like a physical need," said DiCamillo.

DiCamillo said she spent so much time at the public library in Clermont, the librarians waived the four book maximum check out.

"So not only did I love that library and the books in it, it was also a place where I felt seen, and it really mattered," said DiCamillo.

"I think that libraries matter more now than ever, as safe places, as community places," she said.