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Letters About Literature

To Ray Bradbury about "Dandelion Wine"

Hanna Lustig, 12th grade
Houston High School
Germantown

But with the realization of age, comes a dual epiphany, the same that comforts Helen Loomis, Great Grandma Spaulding, and Douglas alike: what comes in between birth and death is what is truly significant. We cannot defeat death. But we can win, in our own way. We can live in spite of inevitable entropy, make the most of the small space in time we are allowed. 

 

Dear Ray Bradbury, 

To Heather Hepler about "The Cupcake Queen"

Kayla Laymance, 5th grade
Sunbright School
Sunbright

Reading about Penny made me realize that I'm not the only one who has been picked on at school or felt lonely. Her success with making friends and winning contests inspired me to change how I look at things. I now feel like I'm not alone anymore. My self confidence has improved a bunch. I feel better about my life. I know now that things can change in my life and that my future lies in my hands. 

 

Dear Heather Hepler, 

To Edgar Allan Poe about "Annabel Lee"

Haley Wright
Siegel Middle School, 6th grade
Murfreesboro

There are poems that make you smile, poems that are depressing, and poems that bring you a sense of joy. Mr. Poe, your poem “Annabel Lee” changed my life. Before I read your poem, I was going through a hard time. 

 

Dear Edgar Allan Poe,

There are poems that make you smile, poems that are depressing, and poems that bring you a sense of joy. Mr. Poe, your poem “Annabel Lee” changed my life.

Before I read your poem, I was going through a hard time. In second grade, I was facing the death of my father. He had been battling brain cancer for a while, and I guess he got tired and was ready to give up.

Dear Connie McIntyre

Matthew Lee
4th grade
Memphis
1st place

 

"Grandpa and I used to be as close as the holes in my sister's flute.We had spent long hours together reading books, fishing, and walking in the park."

 

Dear Connie McIntyre,

Dear Thornton Wilder,

Paul Hoover
Germantwon High School, 11th grade
Germantown

Once upon a time, I took many facts of life for granted. I didn't exactly think much of my family, my community, my purpose in life, or even my mortality. None of those things really matter to a sixteen year-old boy trying to fast forward his life a few years and begin living in "the real world." Looking back at myself a year ago, I feel as if I was so simple, uninterested in some of mankind's most perplexing mysteries. Beyond the veil of my short-sightedness, there was a whole world of thought just waiting for me to explore. 

 

Dear Thornton Wilder,

Dear Sherman Alexie,

Megan Lee
White Station High School, 9th grade
Memphis

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian reassembled my slowly decaying world. My parents, my grandparents, and their parents have been Chinese for as long as they can remember, until my parents broke the chain and moved to America twenty years ago. They did not leave their heritage behind; thus, I was born as the so-called banana person. Outside, I look yellow, an Asian. However, inside, I tried to be a Caucasian American. From the beginning, I was an outcast, someone different, and this metaphor bothered me.

 

Dear Sherman Alexie,

Dear Paulo Coehlo,

Malli Swamy
White Station High School, 11th grade
Memphis

Malli Swamy won a National Honorable Mention for her letter to Paolo Coelho about The Alchemist. Malli named White Station High School in Memphis the recipient of a $1,000 reading grant from Target.

 

Dear Paulo Coelho,

Dear Maurice Sendak,

Will Thomas
St. Andrew's-Sewanee School, 8th grade
Sewanee

When I was a young child I often felt like I had to escape. I felt like I had to run away from school, my parents, and from things that now seem childish, but to me, back then they were serious problems that I could never forgive anybody for. At times I would pack my bags until they were full of clothes and other useless objects, stuff all my money (all twenty dollars of it that is) into a bag, and try to walk out the door, but something always held me back. So once again I would turn back, head to my room and dream about the possibilities.

 

Dear Maurice Sendak,

Dear Anthony Kiedis and Larry Sloman,

Emily Blount
St. Andrew's-Sewanee School, 8th grade
Sewanee

Your memoir set off a chain reaction that opened my eyes to the world. I'm not going to say I loved your book, or that it is the best piece of literature that I have ever read. I'm not going to walk around suggesting it to just anybody, but I'm not going to put it out of my mind or forget about it. reading your book was out of my comfort zone, and it defied the boundaries I had created for myself. 

 

Dear Mr. Kiedis and Mr. Sloman,

Dear J.D. Salinger,

Siori Koerner
Christiana Middle School, 8th grade
Christiana

Siori Koerner won a National Award for her letter, and named Christiana Middle School in Christiana the recipient of a $10,000 reading grant from Target.

Where I'm from, people know me as the "weird girl" - I'm not into the latest trends in pop culture, and I'm not bubbly and air-headed; nor am I the dark, angsty teen aged disaster of the cultural norm. I'm different; therefore, I'm strange. I had always thought that I'd be the only one who was peculiar. The thought of being so unusual that it repelled people away from me crawled in the tiny crevices of my mind, sometimes overtaking my head until it threw me into short periods of muted sadness. I had always thought I was the only one who was like this, until I read your book.

 

Dear J.D. Salinger,

Dear Brian Selznick,

Ashlyn Anderson
Poplar Grove School, 4th grade
Franklin

When I was younger it was easy to make friends, speak up, and take chances but as I got older it got harder. A few years ago when I started my new school, adjusting was hard. I wasn't necessarily lonely but shy. Since I read your amazing book I have been thinking about how much Hugo and I have in common.

 

Dear Mr. Selznick,

When I was younger it was easy to make friends, speak up, and take chances but as I got older it got harder. A few years ago when I started my new school, adjusting was hard. I wasn't necessarily lonely but shy. Since I read your amazing book I have been thinking about how much Hugo and I have in common.

Dear Jack London,

Brayden Kee
Stuart-Burns Elementary, 5th grade
Burns

 

I enjoyed reading your book. I noticed that some things are the same in nature as they are in my life. White Fang was bullied, and I am too. I know how it feels to be bullied and made fun of. 

 

Dear Mr. London,

I enjoyed reading your book. I was able to relate to White Fang's feelings. I noticed that some things are the same in nature as they are in my life.

Dear Mitch Albom,

Katherine V. Fulcher
Jefferson Middle School, 5th grade
Oak Ridge

My grandfather was a kind, caring, and happy man. He loved to work on his farm. When he was 77 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This probably discouraged him, but he never gave up. I always wondered how anyone could be so strong until I read your book Tuesdays with Morrie.

 

Dear Mitch Albom,

My grandfather was a kind, caring, and happy man. He loved to work on his farm. When he was 77 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This probably discouraged him, but he never gave up. I always wondered how anyone could be so strong until I read your book Tuesdays with Morrie.

Dear Kaye Gibbons,

Kendyl Kearly
Oak Ridge High School, 12th grade
Oak Ridge

Growing up, the women in my family fed me a healthy diet of the war stories belonging to my female heroines against their male enemies. These women rejoiced in telling about the husband who cheated or the boyfriend who left without so much as a note. I was raised by a mother who had been standing on her own two feet for as long as I could remember, a boisterous grandmother who only lived a mile or so away and cynical aunts who visited frequently.

 

Dear Kaye Gibbons,

Growing up, the women in my family fed me a healthy diet of the war stories belonging to my female heroines against their male enemies. These women rejoiced in telling about the husband who cheated or the boyfriend who left without so much as a note. I was raised by a mother who had been standing on her own two feet for as long as I could remember, a boisterous grandmother who only lived a mile or so away and cynical aunts who visited frequently.

Dear E.B. White,

Vivian Hu
Germantwon High School, 11th grade
Germantown

 On my last day before the school change.... I cleaned out my cubby and desk and waved goodbye to friends, teachers, and classmates. (I would see them again … right?) My favorite teacher stopped me on my way out. In her hands was your book, Charlotte's Web. She knew I liked to read, so she had gotten it as a gift for me to remember her by. Overwhelmed, I pocketed it happily. We parted with a hug.

Dear E.B. White,