Welcome Letter from Esmeralda Santiago
The dream of every writer is to make a personal and intimate connection with a reader. To this end, I have gone on tours and talked to students and to the professionals who teach them. I have also met with librarians and teachers' groups. Through this interaction, I have learned that my books are taught at many levels, but primarily in high schools and colleges. But I get mail from readers of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities, in English or Spanish, because my books are published in both languages.
A student writes: "In our class we only had to read the prologue and the first two chapters of your book. But I read the whole thing!" Several others have said: "This is the first book I ever read cover to cover." The reactions I love the most, however, are the ones that tell me I have reached the reader on a personal level. "Your books have inspired me to continue my education," one writes. "Your books have taught me that even though there is prejudice and racism, and people treat me badly because I'm poor, or short, or blind, or whatever, I know I can succeed," writes another. They thank me for sharing a story that inspires them to challenge themselves to be and do their best.
I hope that the books, the film, and this teacher's guide will help you inspire your students. And please, encourage them to write to me. Knowing that my work has made a difference in someone else's life keeps me motivated to keep on writing.
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