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Traci's Letter to Mary Downing Hahn
By Traci Tangney
Genre: Non-fiction Level: Elementary 4-6
Year: 2002 Category: Letters About Literature

Dear Mary Downing Hahn,

Your book Wait till Helen Comes has changed me so much it's hard to put on paper. I'm going to tell you about how and why this came to be. Ever since I can remember I've hated reading. Books were stupid and didn't make sense. Then in third grade, I was diagnosed with a reading disability. Things at home weren't helping. Mom and Dad were trying to teach me to read, but it just wasn't getting through. I knew it wasn't their fault.

My parents had my older brother Troy to deal with too. When my brother was eight, he had a grand mal seizure and almost died. That's when I began to fear death. That's another thing Wait till Helen Comes helped me with; realizing death is a part of life. You shouldn't fear death. You should conquer it.

Somehow I got past the third grade. In the fourth grade I had a lot of older friends. Some of them got involved in something called Battle of the Books. That's where you read a bunch of books on a list and then people ask your team questions about the books. One day, my best friend's sister came up and told me about this book Wait till Helen Comes. Just her talking about it sent chills up my spine. So I decided to read it. I have to admit I laughed, I cried, I giggled, and I sighed. The part I liked best was at the end, when Helen apologizes to her mom and her mom forgives her for the accident. Your book not only helped me understand my family, but it opened my eyes and helped me see that some things are just an accident and can be overcome. Your book was so good it made me want to read more, and so I have, including all of your other books! So thank you Mary Downing Hahn, thank you.

Traci Tangney

Traci Tangney
5th Grade
Glacier Valley School, Juneau, Alaska
Teacher: Florence Hayward

About the Author: 5th Grade
Glacier Valley School, Juneau, Alaska
Teacher: Florence Hayward

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