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Letters About Literature National Winners 2018

National Honor Winner, Level 1: Ainsley Carr

Dear Gill Lewis,

There are things in life that you won’t notice until something brings it out, making it incredibly obvious. Most people would read your book, but they would only value it as a story that was fun to read, just page after page of words typed on paper. When I finished reading your book White Dolphin, though, something changed within me that will never go away. I know there were many lessons that could maybe touch other people more than me throughout your book, but one part really broke into me as a young girl. It opened a part of my heart wider, and it was the beginning of a whole new perspective of the world, as if it was turned upside down for me. While your book was a great story and very well written, that is not what I value from it. Now I just can’t stop trying to make a difference.

I read your book a while ago, even years ago, but it still sticks with me wherever I go. As a young girl, I entered your written world and it came to life before my eyes. I loved dolphins like any young girl would, but this story was not like one I had ever seen at that age. After reading your pages, I began to think for a long time. I thought about the poor dolphin who was hurt by humans, and I thought about the way people were destroying the reef. Then in an instant, everything changed. I realized that this occurrence was not only in reefs and the ocean, but just about everywhere. I realized that in nearby grasslands full of wildlife, people were beginning to build ridiculously large houses. Trash was littered all over my neighborhood from people who just did not care, or know what it could do. People hunted animals for no reason but fun.

Anger and sadness began to grow within me that day. I saw what I never saw before, like how much life was being thrown away by humans. We litter, we build too much, we take too much, and as my thinking went on, I realized that this is everywhere. I looked at my house and saw what would have been there, like deer grazing in my hallway, and trees sprouting through my floor. I saw the white dolphin in a hurt deer in my yard, and I saw the reef in the habitat being destroyed for new roads near my home.

Also throughout your book, I learned about Kara, who was bullied at first and she seemed very misunderstood. I didn’t notice this at first, but now I realize how similar I was to her. I felt very misunderstood in school, and my voice and ideas were never quite heard. Then I read your book and an amazing inspiration came to me. Kara cared for something, so even though she was not listened to at first, she was resilient and she kept going until her voice was heard to all people around her. I figured that as long as I care about our world and its nature enough, then I can make my voice heard.

Your book started a never ending train of thought that grew every day. Soon after reading your book, I could not stop my heart from caring about the environment around me. So I always try to go outside to pick up trash, recycle, and teach others what I think is an important lesson that you taught me, which is that we must make the right choices now, for we only have one world to live in. I now see the world as a large and expensive gift; we must take care of it because we cannot get another. Nature is also a gift. We can easily throw it away because we do not need it, but it is a great gift to have.

People may not listen, or they may not care, but as I learned from your book, I will never stop trying until I make a difference that will last forever. We must make the right decisions now, because one big mistake and we lose our home forever. Thank you for opening my heart to so much, changing my thoughts, opening my eyes to a whole new world, and most of all, teaching me lessons that I could never have learned otherwise.


Ainsley Carr