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Letters About Literature National Winners 2017

National Honor Winner, Level 1: Isabella Reichard

Dear Esther Earl,

I know that you aren’t physically on Earth anymore, but you can always be found in other people’s words and actions. Your book, This Star Won’t Go Out taught me an incredible lesson. I will never forget that life is short. We’ll all leave one way or another, but most importantly, we’ll be remembered by our actions. It’s how I learned to remember someone I lost. If not for your book, I could have even lost them again, forever.

My grandfather and I were inseparable. We both loved to build woodwork and play with plastic horses. We did so much together. He showed me all of his tools that I might be able to use one day. He taught me things that I wouldn’t learn in school. Like doubling numbers starting with one to two, to four, until four thousand ninety-six. We were like two peas in a pod. Cut from the same cloth. We were very, very, very close, until we weren’t, because he died. And I tried to forget about it.

I didn’t realize it was okay to let my feelings go. I just locked the world out, and tried to leave the room whenever I saw something that reminded me of him. I didn’t think of the good times we had together. I didn’t want to remember. All of my feelings started to build up inside of me. I was going to explode.

When I started to read this book, a whole new world was opened up to me. I learned it was okay to let my feelings out, and open up. After finishing this book I cried with my mom for a good hour or so. We hugged, and remembered the good times. We looked at old pictures and watched videos. It felt so much better to think about my grandfather rather than just forgetting about him. I got to visit old memories, ones that I could have lost forever. But I also learned that it’s not okay to forget. I can’t hide from the things that remind me of him, I should embrace them instead. I can let them comfort me. I’ll always miss my grandfather, but now that I know I can remember the good times instead of his death; it’s easier. Whenever I miss my grandfather, I look for things that he would have done, and it makes me feel like he’s still here. I know that he’s thinking about me when his favorite song comes on the radio. I heard his favorite song on the way home from a basketball tryout, and then I made the team! And once, when I was studying for a test, the song came on the radio, and I aced the test the next day. As long as I remember him, and he remembers me, we will never forget each other. Your book showed me that if I pay attention to details like these it can help me keep moving forward knowing that my grandfather wants me to.

Your book, This Star Won’t Go Out helped me remember my grandfather. If I hadn’t read your book, I might not remember much about him. Esther, you saved me from losing my grandfather again, I can’t thank you enough for that. You made sure that my grandfather wouldn’t go out.

Isabella Reichard
(Bella R.)