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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

The gift of a thank you letter

October 23, 2009

I love children's writing. It can be fresh, fun, and unexpected. It can also be rare. E-mails just don't have the staying power of a pen (or pencil) and paper correspondence.

But recently I got a batch of thank you letters from a group of 4th graders at the grade school from which my son graduated. I had donated some new books to the school.

The librarians and teachers are always appreciative as their budget frequently doesn't allow them to purchase new materials.

The librarian at this school — a woman whose commitment and passion about books, reading, and children is positively contagious — suggested that a 4th grade class write a thank you note to the mom of a former student who had given the books to the school.

They were all simply wonderful. And it reminded me of the power of books and the statement that school libraries can make providing children with new and often refreshed books.

One boy wrote: "Thanks for all kinds of book entertainment you've given us. I love reading. If it weren't for you, I have to go to the public library which is very rough anyways. Thanks."

Another student, a girl, wrote THANKS in big, bold printing with a picture of a full book shelf — and told me her teacher is fun and that I "rock!" (I am thrilled that a 4th grader says a person rocks because of books!)

Another girl thought I asked me how it felt to be can actor (she must have heard about my son's budding acting career which started at this school); another boy asked for Diary of a Wimpy Kid while someone else requested a Guinness Book of extreme sports (I think he'll have to write it).

Yet another child hoped that I'd enjoy reading all of the thank you letters. (I still do!) Others hoped for a "playground full of books" or to meet me some day — just as I'd love to meet them — and celebrate our mutual love for books and reading.

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox