One of the biggest thrills I get is reading letters from students. Even better is when a student who normally doesn't like reading gets interested in my book. That is the best praise of all. Here are some excerpts from the letters I got this spring. Replying to them was one of the most pleasant writing tasks I've ever done.
Clarissa from St. Theresa school writes;
It's funny because the last time I really loved a book was in Grade two. What's even funnier is when my teacher made me choose a book to read for red maple leaving fletchville and war brothers were the only books left and I didn't want to read either book.I ended up choosing leaving fletchville and I learnt a lesson; don't judge a book but its cover. This is exactly what I did, I didn't want to read it because I wasn't attracted to the cover.
Wazir at McCrimmon Middle School wrote; "In leaving fletchville I thought it was funny and sad. I thought it was sad when i figured out that Leon had no parents and only lived with his brother and sister. ...I thought it was funny when brandon pretended he was a plane and crashed into Ricky and his friends to make the little kids laugh... what got me so into the book and wanted me to actually finish it is that i thought Brandon had ADHD, which made it even more interesting. I personally never liked reading books until I read "leaving fletchville"
Joyosi, MacCrimmon Middle School My name is Joyosi and I am in the 7th grade. I love your book. At first I was a little resistant but when I started it I just could not put it down. This is a first for me.
Some students could quit school and become book-reviewers tomorrow. Emma at St. Theresa school had better insight into the book than most adults I have spoken with. She got everything I put in there; here is just part of her three page letter:
...the real reason I loved your book was because how you emphasized change. The change of person,, change of heart, and change of life. Even at the beginning of thebook you made it clear that Brandon was the kid that always got cent to the principals office because he felt the need to distrub the class or get into a fight. But it didn't bother him being known for the bad boy. When Leon step in and starts slowly changing his life one step at a time. helping Brandon with his homework and sometimes just keeping him company. As their friendship grew stronger I noticed Brandon had a change of heart. He cared for his friend so Brandon got a job to help give Leon money. Most importantly at the end of the book Brandon was a changed person. He didn't want to disturb his classes anymore because he rather sat with leon. Brandon was enjoying having a friend...
And Emily writes; ...It was the best book I ever read and I have read a lot of books. Me and six of my friends in my class , all voted for your book for the best fiction award. The reasons I love your book is because it has lots of secrets, trust, action, mystery, a problem and a solution, also the one thing I really love in a book and that is a happy ending.