listen and hope.



I signed his copy of ‘The Tale of Despereaux’ and he said, “My teacher said fifth grade is the year of asking questions.”

“Really?” I said.

“Yeah,” he said.  He took out a notebook.  “Every day we’re supposed to ask someone different a good question and listen really good and then write down the answer when they’re done talking.”

“Oh,” I said, “I get it.  I’m someone different.  Okay, what’s your question?”

“My question is how do you get all that hope into your stories?”

“That’s not a good question,” I said.  “That’s a great question.  Let me think.  Um.  I guess that writing the story is an act of hope, and so even when I don’t feel hopeful, writing the story can lead me to hope.  Does that make sense?”

“Yeah,” he said.  He looked me in the eye.  “It’s kind of a long answer.  But I can write it all out.  Thanks.”

He picked up his copy of Despereaux, and walked away—writing in his notebook.

This was years ago.

Why did I wake up this morning and think of this child?

Maybe because this is a time to start asking good questions, a time to write down the answers, a time to listen to each other really well.

I’m going to get myself a little spiral bound notebook.

I’m going to listen and hope.

-Kate DiCamillo – American author

62 responses »

  1. This is simply MARVELLOUS and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing – and to let you know that I re-started carrying a little notebook in my rucksack. I gave it up when I didn’t carry a handbag any longer on me. A friend of mine here in Switzerland carries her little notebook and a pencil with her at all times. She observes, wonders, takes questions or puts questions in herself…. she’s much younger than me but (so goes the tale) ‘adopted’ me as her ‘other mother’ some 20yrs ago when we shared a bedroom at a hotel during a choral week and she told me everything about herself, her worries and her many, many questions. Until she told me that when we met the first time after our arrival in CH, I had completely forgotten the impact I had on her then – and now I took HER as the inspiring person and took up the little notebook.
    Neat, ain’t it? 😉


  2. it’s a wonderful exchange of ideas 🙂 you know what, Beth, I must start reading some children’s books again; it’s been too long; this is a timely reminder: this book, of course, and the one with Fern in it, Charlotte’s Web 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to carry a little notebook everywhere. I still have one in my truck. Now, when I’m out and have a moment to capture, I dictate into my phone. That stuff will find my journal in the mornings or the evenings. Yes, it bolsters hope.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this on Kate’s FB page. Thank you for posting her wonderful words of hope and listening. She is the best author!! Have you read her new Stella book? And there’s a new one about Stella’s brother Frank coming out this summer. Happy Thanksgiving, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OH MY GOD! This is the best! The best! And I just saw it now 🙂 ha! Probably meant to be that I saw it now … you know right before New Year’s 🙂 the funny thing is my daughter finished reading this book last month and she loved it! This was after reading Flora & Ulysses 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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