This week, we will focus on the author of this month’s Book Group selection, Colibri. Ann Cameron was born in Rice Lake, Wisconsin in 1943. As a child, Cameron spent a lot of time doing outdoor activities. Cameron cites these childhood activities as motivation for outdoor motifs in her books because she feels that children today tend lack this element during childhood. Also, she has used people, particularly her older sister, and experiences at her family’s summer home as inspiration for her work. Reading and listening to the radio as a child also served to inspire her imagination.
After high school, Cameron attended Harvard University during a pivotal time in American history. She has cited attending Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech at the university as well as her participation in a freedom ride to Maryland in the 1960s. She also listened to influential poets give readings at Harvard, and she even studied with the poet Robert Lowell. Upon graduation, Cameron moved to New York where she worked for a publisher, but she decided that she wanted to learn more about writing. Thus, she returned to the Midwest to receive her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa. She released her first children’s book, The Seed, in 1974.
After several moves, Cameron landed in Panajachel, Guatemala. With her husband and over the course of fifteen years, the duo worked with locals, international donors, and private organizations to improve the library in Panajachel, which is now recognized as one of the best in Central America. This time spent in Guatemala greatly influenced her. This is what she had to say about her time there:
“Guatemala had a lot to do with forming my character. Most of my adult life to that point, I’d lived only around people who, like me, had spent years and years in school. In the Mayan town of Panajachel, I lived among Guatemalan neighbors who mostly had gone to school only a few years and many who never had gone to school at all. I learned a lot from them about patience, endurance, and valuing the most important things in life. I found people who had never read a book in their lives be just as intelligent and often more original and interesting to me than people who had studied and read their whole lives long. But I also so how people suffer from lack of opportunity, from not having a chance at education” (source).
Hopefully, you will join us in reading Colibri by Ann Cameron! The book is written by an author with great imagination and vision inspired by her personal experiences.
Until Next Time,