Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Here are two readers' emails sent to me recently that I thought were wonderful. Thanks to Khushi and Christopher! (These will be posted with the books referred to as well.)

"I'm 12 years old and i just finished reading your book called Winter Shadows and I have to say, i loved it! It's probably something you hear all the time...but anyway, I loved the way you sculpted the book, I loved the way you showed Beatrice's cluelessness to her love towards Duncan, it was so sweet but, i didn't like Robert he's to uptight, no fun, my idea of fun is kinda weird but, it's fun for me to curl under the covers with a good book and the fireplace crackling, hearing the soft rain touching my window......well anyhow I nearly cried when Cass was always fighting with Jean and never forgiving herself for not being there when her Mother died, it's, like this weird feeling inside me, very few books can do that to me. I'm sort of a writer myself but my books aren't really all the spectacular.....i do hope you read this email, even if you skimmed, thanks for listening!

A very big fan,
Khushi  -- "

 Hello Ms. Buffie,

Once again, I've read and explored your novel, Who is Frances Rain? and
once again I've uncovered yet another layer I did not know existed...

I've taught your novel to my grade sevens for over ten years now and I
never tire of it. Sometimes I read it aloud - while they follow along
with their copy - and sometimes I get the students to read it. I've
always felt that the plot was perfect for this age group and more
importantly the many themes of change, acceptance, and growing up, to
mention just a few... For that reason alone, it deserves a hallowed place
in my classroom.

Each time I've read the book I've been intrigued by its many teaching
possibilities. Early in our use of the book, it was always a great
springboard for important discussions about divorce, sibling rivalry and
the beauty and importance of grandparents. I also use it for exploring
journal writing and point of view. Sometimes students will journal write
about things going on in their world and sometimes write from Lizzie's
point of view at critical points in the novel.

As I read the novel aloud, I often pause to celebrate how real all of your
characters are, including your minor ones. I take the time to let the
kids enjoy your description of Harvey, which is so so colorful. And then
when Lizzie and Alex go to pick him up at his shack, the description of it
is so appropriate and really a description of him, which is really the
case in the real world. We actually take the time to create a visual
representation of it.

One day, as I was reading, all of the figurative language suddenly
appeared to me. I don't know why it took so long, but it did. It made me
rethink my way of teaching. This may seem like a trivial point at first,
but I used to teach my literary terms / devices by genre and figurative
language was included in my poetry terms. And then I thought... How
limiting, to call similes, metaphors, and personification poetry terms.
It was indirectly telling my students that these terms only have a place
in poems.

Thanks to you, I now explore these terms with my students as literary
terms and encourage my students to use figurative language in all forms of

Your first novel? Wow! Who is Frances Rain? is the work of a true master

From a grade 7 teacher, Christopher ---  from Newfoundland


Anonymous said...

How wonderful for you to get such glowing reviews from both young and old! It is a true testament to the power of your writing! :)

Margaret Buffie said...

Thank you! It's readers like this that keep me writing, that's for sure!

Rebecca Upjohn said...

Such great letters. I wonder if readers know how much it means for an author to hear from them? Letters like these can carry one a long, long way. Inspiring and well deserved.

Margaret Buffie said...

It's true. They do make one carry on, don't they? Sometimes it's hard with all the "stuff" that goes along with the writing world. That's why letters and emails like this are so wonderful to receive - like a transfusion of energy!