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Letters About Literature

To Laura Ingalls Wilder about "Farmer Boy"

Nathaniel Hall
New Market Elementary
New Market

Without reading Farmer Boy, I might still think Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder were just old people who lived a long time ago and who could not teach me anything important. Now I know that values like speaking truthfully and working hard do not change. If Almanzo were still here, he and I would love sledding down my hill, eating donuts (bought, not made by my mom!), and throwing snow balls. 

Dear Mrs. Wilder,

To Dr. Seuss about "The Cat in the Hat"

Daniel Zuo
White Station High School, 11th grade
Memphis

But, thanks to you, it was not the last time I heard her. Because now, every rainy day, all I have to do is pull out my battered copy of The Cat in the Hat, and I am back in that hospital room again. I can still hear her soft, raspy voice tell me about Thing 1 and Thing 2. I can still hear her tell me that “the sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.”

 

Dear Theodore Geisel,

To Kristin Cashore about "Graceling"

Nathan Kiefer, 8th grade
Sunbright School
Sunbright

In the beginning, Katsa would grudgingly follow orders, like me with my dad, but later, she learned to stand up for herself. By seeing her success with questioning authority, I learned to not blindly follow orders. I didn't become obstinate, but would logically and respectfully make my viewpoint known. I learned to come from a place of questioning and understanding rather than childish rebellion.

 

Dear Kristin Cashore,

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.