Dear Sharon G. Flake,

Thank you thank you for all of your books, but mostly for the book Bang!

So many 8th graders I knew read and loved that book because it was real. Because it acknowledged what life is really like at home sometimes. Because it allowed them to engage with a character who resembled themselves.

During the one summer that I taught summer school, I had a boy in my class who had never finished a book. He was headed to 8th grade and told me, with an air of boastfulness, that he’d never made it all the way through a book. I gave him Bang! and, after a few days, watched as he started settling in for silent reading immediately when the time came. The day he finished reading your book, he sneakily glanced at me to get my attention, then gave me a silent head nod to let me know he’d finished.

It was one of the proudest moments I’ve ever experienced.

So thank you again for writing the way you do, for giving kids good stories to read, and for making them so real that even a kid who doesn’t finish books will read them all the way through.