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Martha's letter to Frances Burnett
By Martha Beard
Genre: Non-fiction Level: High School 10-12
Year: 2000 Category: Letters About Literature

Dear Ms. Burnett,

There are a few things in this world that really matter. Kindness, love, happiness, imagination; all play important roles in our lives on earth. Your book A Little Princess teaches and encourages anyone to be kind, to love everyone, to be happy at all times and to use imagination when trying to lead a happy, kind, loving life. I know that you, as a well-published author, must get a lot of praise for your work; nevertheless, I feel the need to write you and express my respect and gratitude towards you for writing such a book.

I read A Little Princess whenever I feel sad and alone. In so many way, your book helps me understand my situation. It never fails to give whatever troubles I'm facing a new perspective and change the way I look at them. When I read your book, all of my concern seem surmountable. If Sara can be even a little happy living a life of drudgery in a cold attic, then perhaps I can live through one more bad day at school. The book helps me realize how much of life's joys are based purely on perception; if I decide my life can be happy and work towards that happiness, then I can lead a joyful life under almost any circumstances. If I see everything around me as good or joyful in some way, then I feel good and joyful. Your book is the best tool I have in altering my conception enough to feel cheerful about all of life's little joys.

Many people suggest that children's literature, your book being the best in that category, is not as important as other types of writing, or even that it is not literature at all. They think that the fantasy and simplicity involved in a book aimed at children makes it unimportant for adults to read. I believe the exact opposite. Your book, when read by adults, offers so many parables that it is beneficial to any adults who read it. Because it is aimed at children, it of course has a moral. This moral, that kindness does not go unrewarded, is partially what makes your book great. The other part is the positive spin you have Sara put on things. She makes everything that happens to her a positive experience. Even during the lowest time of her life, she was able to make herself a little happy by merely putting her mind above it, imagining herself somewhere else and thus mentally beating her troubles. And not only was she able to comfort herself, but she brought joy to those others who were suffering. Everyone benefited from Sara's love. This is the magic in your book. Imagine if every adult could learn to do this. That idea is why I believe that if more adults read your book, the world would be a better place.

Regardless of other's opinions, however, my favorite book is a children's book. Yours. It provides so much insight into the way people should live and how important it is to be a kind, loving person. A Little Princess is a wonderful book that I believe everyone should read. Thank you for writing it. It is loved and appreciated.


Martha Beard
10th Grade
East High School/School Within a School, Anchorage
Teacher: Sally Carricaburu

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