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Bethlehem's letter to Katherine Paterson
By Bethlehem Pal-laya
Genre: Non-fiction Level: Elementary 4-6
Year: 1999 Category: Letters About Literature

Dear Ms. Katherine Paterson,

Your book, The Great Gilly Hopkins inspired me to remember the orphans in the orphanages. It makes me sad to hear that some kids do not have a family and a place to call home. The reason I am so sad is because sometimes these kids may grow up with a painful past. Their past might cause them to behave differently from other kids around. It might even cause them to become:

  • juvenile delinquents and eventually have a criminal record
  • sickly for lack of food or proper nutrition
  • illiterate for lack of proper education
  • mentally and psychologically sick
  • a public burden for lack of decent job
  • suicidal (worst case)

At times, orphans may be fortunate enough to end up in good foster homes. These orphans do not face those kinds of problems when they grow up because they receive love and attention from the foster parents. However, it is very unfortunate for those orphans and abandoned children who end up living in an ugly foster home with mean and uncaring foster parents. These are the children most likely to have a lot of problems in life. Some children in orphanages or foster homes have the desire to leave the place and live with their real parents even if they have to struggle to work for money just like Gilly did. God helps reveal the whole truth to the person in eleven words:

" usually is not the way it is supposed to be....."
The Great Gilly Hopkins
By Katherine Paterson

Before I read your story, I have always dreamed of becoming a doctor so I could help the people especially in the Third World countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Africa, and others. After reading your book, I still would like to become a doctor; but not just any doctor. I would be a pediatrician so I could help the orphans and abandoned children and let them know that there are people that care for their lives and welfare even if they do not have any parents.

I have always been very grateful for what I have, but now I am even more thankful to the Lord for giving me Mom and Dad. If I did not have my mom and dad, I would not have anybody to help me with my studies and my homework. They also help me to accomplish some great things such as achieving 6th place in the Alaska State Spelling Bee as a 4th grader, being accepted in the Anchorage School District Honor Choir, and attend the gifted program.

I now thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter for I know that an author's time is usually limited. Once again, thank you and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bethlehem Pal-laya

5th grade
Ursa Minor Elementary School, Ft. Richardson
Teacher & Librarian: Mrs. Carrie Smoldon, Mrs. Brandt

About the Author: 5th grade
Ursa Minor Elementary School, Ft. Richardson
Teacher & Librarian: Mrs. Carrie Smoldon, Mrs. Brandt

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