Journeys: Young Readers' Letters to Authors Who Changed Their Lives

Journeys: Young Readers' Letters to Authors Who Changed Their Lives

by Library of Congress


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Books can change lives — and here are more than fifty powerful letters from young readers to authors revealing some of the ways that is true.

Annie Schnitzer tells Elie Wiesel, “Reading your story allowed me to connect with my own history,” explaining how reading his memoir deepened her understanding of her grandparents’ plight during the Holocaust. After reading The House on Mango Street, Julia Mueller writes to Sandra Cisneros, “You didn’t tell me how to pull myself back together; you just showed me that I could. I was tired of trying to be somebody else’s definition of beautiful, and you told me that was okay.” Culled from the Letters About Literature contest of the Library of Congress Center for the Book, the fifty-two letters in this collection — written by students in grades four through twelve — reveal how deeply books and poetry affect the lives of readers. Offering letters that are as profound as they are personal and as moving as they are enlightening, this collection, which also features artwork by some of the contest entrants, provides a glimpse into young people’s lives and their connections — both expected and unexpected — to the written word.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763681012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 1,201,515
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

The Library of Congress Center for the Book promotes books, reading, literacy, and libraries, as well as the scholarly study of books. It was founded in 1977 and has established affiliate centers across the country and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Center’s mission is carried out around the world.

Catherine Gourley has been the national director of the Letters About Literature reading promotion program since 2004. She is also an author of many nonfiction books about women’s history and the principal curriculum writer for the Story of Movies, an educational outreach program. She lives in Virginia.

Table of Contents

Foreword John Y. Cole xi

Preface xiii

Part 1 Upper Elementary: Finding a Friend, Finding a Voice

Chapter 1 Destinations

"My life is so different from yours." Alessandra Selassie 3

"I wanted to jump into the story and yell." Hanna Lee 8

"I became Crispin, living in the Middle Ages." Thomas J. Cienki 11

"Your poem is my winter." Katja Saana Sinikka Martin 13

Chapter 2 Realizations

"It's true. Nobody wants to talk to nobodies." Erica Langan 15

"I used to find it hard to forgive my dad." Taaja Immani Draughn 18

"The only person who didn't understand anything was me." Jayanth Uppaluri 21

"I can hide from being Jewish. You couldn't." Eliana Kahn 26

"In my opinion, diversity is a good thing." Chelsea Brown 29

"When it seems like I'm all alone, I'm really not." Lacie Craven Glidden 32

"Mushy answers don't feel true." Darius Atefat-Peckham 35

"Life is a big stinking blob of mess." Gerel Sanzhikov 39

"Maybe your words weren't meant just for me." Anna Mytko 43

Chapter 3 Returning Home

"The spiraling piece of lead had shattered my heart." Linnea Rain Lentfer 46

"I have not done anything dangerous or illegal." Davis Klimek 48

"The Keep pile, the Throw Out pile, and the Keep in the Attic pile" Becky Miller 51

"In the future it will be my turn to carry on what my grandparents and parents have fought for." Aleema Kelly 55

"Even in a sea of clovers, flowers find each other." Hillary V. Schiff 58

Part 2 Middle School: A New Awareness

Chapter 4 Destinations

"I left my world behind and entered a new one." Janet Lynne Snow 63

"I found myself raising my butterbeer mug to that brave Boy Who Lived." Anne Overton 66

"To my surprise, your book was a great inspiration to me - not boring at all." Abbie Beaver 71

"Queen of Up, Up" Arielle Moosman 75

Chapter 5 Realizations

"Because, dearest Anne, because your Kitty understands." Jisoo Choi 79

"For the first time in my life, I found a part of the German nation with which I could sympathize." Bertina Kudrin 83

"All students learn differently." Jonathan Hoff 87

"I felt a twinge of fear at what I could become." Kara S. Moritz 91

"Keeping a leash on the minds of school-age children" Shannon Chinn 95

"For the first time, I heard my own silence." Emmy Goyette 100

"It was uncomfortable to look into his world and see the pain." Gabriel Ferris 104

Chapter 6 Returning Home

"I still imagine my bedroom as a hobbit-hole." Elizabeth Chambers 108

"Gone was the ice skater; gone were the Olympics." Ellie Ball 113

"It was a hate crime." Margaret Veglahn 117

"I saw my brother Joe try to fight death." Juliana Gorman 121

"I'm pressing play." Bailee Stump 126

Part 3 High School: "I Am Not a Nobody"

Chapter 7 Destinations

"Courage to conquer my fears" Anna Marie Wichorek 133

"I became lost in the Kabul of Amir's childhood." Audrey 137

"I no longer hide in my flannel sheets, waiting for my problems to disappear." Gabrielle Sclafani 142

Chapter 8 Realizations

"I was weighed down, coated in a layer of plastic." Emily Waller 147

"It is difficult to reconcile my hate and my love." Hannah DesChamp 151

"Words seemed weak and cruelly useless." Alexandra McLaughlin 155

"My mother was my salvation from my father." Joshua Tiprigan 160

"The judgmental, racist, hateful monster I feared was myself." Xiomara Torres 164

"My mother sits at her comer in the East, and I at the West." Ayesha Usmani 168

"I, too, take advantage of my mother." Lisa Le 172

"I needed to please everyone and have everyone pleased with me." Kelsey Bowen 176

"In order to protect ourselves, we have to hurt our loved ones." Macoy Churchill 180

Chapter 9 Returning Home

"I am not fat anymore. I never was, I suppose." Julia Mueller 184

"You didn't even try." Abby Swegarden 188

"I am armed with your words." Aidan Kingwell 193

"This is a city in need of a Holden Caulfield." Martha Park 198

"You were so unspeakably right." Devi Acharya 201

"I consider writing another form of resistance." Annie Schnitzer 205

Legacy 209

About the Center for the Book 211

Source Notes 212

Bibliography 218

Index 225

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