Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Letter to Author - an example

Here's a sample letter that a students wrote for an assigment similar to yours.

Eastside High School
10245 Eagle Drive
Covington, GA 30015
May 16, 2002

Barbara O’Connor
Double Day Press
1234 Main St.
Duxbury, Massachussetts

Dear Mrs. O’Connor:

On Monday May 13, I finished your novel Me and Rupert Goody, your novel about a young girl struggling to come to terms with a new “sibling” in her “family.” I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading the novel.

As a girl from the South, I considered your portrayal of Jennalee and her problems to be very accurate and realistic. Jennalee’s descriptions of her family made me laugh but also made me feel very sad for her. I also have a large family and sometimes it does seem as though there is “a ton of hell” going on in my house. I especially liked the part where Jennalee got her sister in trouble with their mom; it happens like that at my house, too. I know why Jennalee was so jealous of Rupert. Until Rupert arrived, Uncle Beau’s was Jennalee’s sanctuary; she had Uncle Beau’s undivided attention. He made her feel important and valuable. She didn’t want to share that with Rupert.

I especially liked the language in the novel. Jennalee’s grammar wasn’t perfect so she sounded like a real person. I also liked that she wasn’t perfect; she was jealous and sometimes mean. She also worked hard. Eventually, she did the right thing and accepted Rupert as a member of her family. In spite of her sometimes bad actions, Uncle Beau and her family still loved her.

At first, I was wondering why you made Rupert a black man. I thought that was going to be the major conflict. I like that his race was really not the issue to Jennalee. I thought that sent a valuable message without being really obvious. He was also a very forgiving and loving character; he didn’t try to be mean to Jennalee even when she was being mean to him.

In your letter, you talked about things that you took from your own life and included in your books. Do you keep a notebook of possible ideas or do you just rely on your memory? Do you ever use people you know in your books?

Is it hard to make the characters in a book sound like real people? Jennalee and her family sound just like my family. How much time do you spend writing a book? Does anyone help you?

I really enjoyed Me and Rupert Goody and I am looking forward to reading the book you have set in Freedom, Georgia. Thank you for taking the time to respond to letters from my class.


Melanie Hundley