I began reading the letter out loud, and about half way through I stopped. My voice had caught and I needed to catch my breath before I continued. When I looked up, JoanMarie had tears welling up in her eyes.
Some days begin so beautifully.
(I received permission from the teacher to share her words with you, though I changed any identifiable details.)
I teach high school American Lit. (and History), so when I saw your book at the bookstore, I had to read it. Bullying was a hot button issue in our district, but getting the students to understand why it’s so important to stop was difficult. One of my favorite students ever, Amanda, was my aide and after I read the book, I gave it to her--hoping she would get what I got out of it.
Amanda is a tough girl with a difficult home life. She isn’t a “bully,” but she isn’t always friendly either. After reading your book, Amanda told me that she was never going to be mean to another person again because she never knew who else was being mean to that same person. She also apologized to a former classmate that she had teased the year before. She said that because he always laughed along, she assumed he didn’t mind, but after reading Thirteen Reasons Why, she realized maybe he did mind, or heard it too much from everyone. After that, Amanda wouldn’t let me “be mean” to any of my students, either. She’d whisper, “Remember the book! Be nicer!”
You presented a unique, not overly dramatized book about teen issues and gave me a way to help make my student a more caring person.