Ms DiCamillo began writing when she moved to Minneapolis, MN at age 30, and got a job working in a book warehouse on the children's floor. While there, she met a sales representative from Candlewick Books and submitted a draft of a story she had been working on. That draft would later become Because of Winn Dixie - her first novel for children, published in 2000, which won the Newbery Honor in 2001.
Since then, she has gone on to write several more tales for young readers, including novels, early chapter books, and picture books.
Animals feature prominently in her books. Because of Winn Dixie (2000) centers around a stray dog and how it transforms a young girl who takes him in. The Tiger Rising (2001) has an actual caged tiger which figures prominently in a young boy's life as he struggles with the grief of losing his mother and deals with a chronic skin condition. The Tale of Despereaux (published in 2003 and winner of the Newbery Medal in 2004) is the story of a gallant mouse finding his place in his world. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (published in 2006 and winner of that year's Boston Globe Horn Book Award) chronicles the journey of a china rabbit and how he transforms the lives of the many owners he comes to have. Her Mercy Watson early chapter book series tells the tales of the title character: "a toast loving porcine wonder."
On the topic of writing, Ms DiCamillo had this to say:
"The world, under the microscope of your attention, opens up like a beautiful, strange flower and gives itself back to you in ways you can never imagine. What stories are hiding behind the faces of the people who you walk past everyday? What love? What hopes? What despair?...Writing is seeing. It is paying attention."
Kate DiCamillo currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she is committed to writing "two pages a day, five days a week."