The subtitle will have librarians, teachers, and reading specialists reaching for this book.
Culled from thousands of letters submitted to the “Letters About Literature” program sponsored by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress, the contest brings to light how “hearts are inspired and at times healed by the power of an author’s words.” The letters are bundled into three general age groupings—upper elementary, middle school, and high school—and then separated into the same thematic chapters for each age category: Destinations, Realizations, and Returning Home. The works discussed are a good range of the expected (Newbery winners, Harry Potter, the classics) and lesser-known titles (Shades of Black, by Sandra L. Pinkney and illustrated by Myles Pinkney; Two Old Women, by Velma Wallis). The format for each entry first quotes from it, then gives some background on it before presenting the student’s letter. Though the letters are personal, poignant, and often profound, the question is, who is the audience? Will teens want to read about other teens’ angst? While the students’ letters reveal how deeply books and poetry affect the lives of young readers, the volume is probably most likely to find a home with educators and adults with a passion for books and reading.
Earnest and often revealing, this collection nevertheless has an uncertain audience. (source notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 12-adult)