On a hectic Saturday before Christmas, writer Kate DiCamillo stands in front of a buzzing crowd of toddlers and children at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, Minn. She is dressed in her usual black top and jeans, and her white-blond hair curls around her watchful face. Some of the kids sit cross-legged on the floor; some perch demurely on chairs or on a parent's lap; some peer around the edges of bookshelves; some bat absently at furry puppets that hang from a display.
DiCamillo is used to the pandemonium that is a crowd of children. She is not rattled. She keeps things moving.