Who doesn’t like to get a real letter in the mail? Hand written notes and letters are becoming as rare as telephone land lines these days, and that makes them all the more precious. Imagine my surprise today when I came home to 18 letters, all from the students at a local elementary school. They had read The Ghost of the Charlotte Lighthouse in class and then visited the lighthouse. This is a dream come true for me. My vision in writing all of my Rochester books is for kids to read them, for them to visit the landmarks where they’re set, and then to share their experiences with friends and family. It’s no coincidence that the places I write about have all been in Rochester for more than 100 years, generating beloved memories for three or four generations in a family.
Each letter came with a picture of the lighthouse or a person. Most of the comments in the letters centered around a character named Derrick who has a talent for getting into trouble. Let me share with you some of the profound statements from these young readers.
Dominic: “I think Derek makes trouble because he’s made man of the house and he doesn’t want to be. I also think he likes Janie and tries to hide it by being mean to her.”
Donovan: “Derrick should go to Summer Camp or Summer School.”
Zachary: “My favorite part was when Derrick fell from the tree and broke his leg from scaring the girls. I call that Karma.”
Matthew: “Can I be in your next book? My name is Matthew, and I am really funny.”
Phoenix: “I loved how the story unfolded and it really got my attention. But next time, don’t end a chapter on a cliffhanger!”
Lauren: “My favorite character is Derrick. He is funny to read about and puts a smile on my classis face.”
The best part about letters is that you can save them to read again and again, just like your favorite book.