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Peer Work

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Cassie's Letter to Paul Danziger and Ann M. Martin
By Cassie Toole
Genre: Non-fiction Level: Junior 7-9
Year: 2001 Category: Letters About Literature


Dear Paul Danziger and Ann M. Martin,

When I first read your book, P.S. Longer Letter Later, I had just moved to Alaska from Norway. The book resembled exactly how my life was going at this time! I had left all my friends and family behind. Now I was in a totally different world and I didn't know what to do. Elizabeth seems exactly like the person that I seemed to be, shy and somewhat different from everyone else that she knows. Just like her, without my best friend, I felt lost and alone.

Cassie TooleReading your book made me look back and think of all the things that are happening in my life. This was the first and only time that I have ever cried over a book. It might not have been the book itself, but it touched me. I didn't feel like I was alone anymore. Whenever I finished the book I would start over again, hoping to find something new that I never realized before.

I was now interested in writing letters to all my friends back home! I just didn't know how to write in English. My mom would teach me a little bit every night, and soon I could write anything my mind could think up! Not only did your book teach me how to write, but before I started reading it myself, my mom would have to read it to me. I didn't know how to read, or barely even speak English! After my mom read it to me, we would through a part of it every night, just so I could figure out how to pronounce the different words. Since I learned how to speak, write, and read English before 2nd grade started, I didn't have to be in bilingual classes. This would have held me back. I wouldn't be in the gifted classes that I am in now! So you could almost say that it is part of who I am now.

Through the letters I wrote I kept in touch with my good friends back home. Just like in the book, we talked about everything from what we are wearing to our problems in life. It was almost like I was with them all, and nothing had ever changed! It gave me a nice warm feeling of belonging. Soon I was making new friends at my own school. I still read the book now even though I have outgrown it and can read much more advanced things now. The book comes to life since it seems like I have lived it all!

I got a whole new outlook on life when I read this book. I think I needed it too. I was different than everyone else before I read it. I was very shy and always dressed differently. When I read P.S. Longer Letter Later I felt like this was ok, and being an outsider isn't a bad thing as long as you're happy with your life. Well, I wasn't too happy with the way things were going, because all my friends now seemed to think I was weird. It was probably the way I talked or how I dressed. I never really found out. I tried to change my life, and this book guided me through it in a weird sort of way.

My life has changed so much since I read this book. It almost seemed to have changed with the book. Books that seem realistic always grab me better than others. This one did a perfect job of that! I don't read many books that keep me interested the whole way through. Books that are written in a different way than in story form are always better to me. It puts some change in the material you read, and if you read a lot this is always a good thing.

I have to say that this is one of the best books I have ever read. It might only be because of how it changed my life, but it has real sentimental value to me! I still read it, and I'm almost 14 now! I don't think I will ever forget this book. It would be kind of hard after all that we have been through together! I thank you very much for writing this book, and helping me get through the hard times!

Sincerely,

Cassie Toole
8th Grade
Romig Middle School, Anchorage, Alaska
Teacher: Ms. Lauri Packebush


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