I met Kate Dopirak the summer of 2014 at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ summer conference. We were both regional assistant advisors for SCBWI. We both had two boys and goofy dogs at home. We both wrote picture books and were represented by Adams Literary. Kate and I sat together on a bus ride to SCBWI co-founder Steve Mooser’s house and later at an ALit gathering. We talked and laughed and clicked, easy as that. Kate was on the cusp of publishing her first book (and went on to publish several more). We kept in touch after the conference, sometimes reading each other’s manuscripts.
In October 2018, Kate died from a rare brain disorder called Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease. As her website says,
She left this world too soon and with so much more to accomplish. But Kate’s life was one of amazing accomplishment, as her story is full of qualities that should be celebrated and to which we all should aspire. Her experiences show that life often takes unexpected and unfair turns, but still offers a mysterious mix of laughter and love that can shine through even the darkest times. Together we continue her mission to twinkle, sparkle and create meaningful, memorable connections through the power of books.
Kate’s last book, Hurry Up!: A Book About Slowing Down, released earlier this month, and it’s a beauty. Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal (who illustrated the cover of my May B.,), the story reminds readers to stop and savor, slow down and enjoy. It shines with the child-like wonder all Kate’s work conveys.
“Hurry up and buy this charming book,” Kirkus says in a starred review. I hope you might consider doing just that.