Here at James Preller Dot Com, we’ve never felt constrained by outmoded, tedious concepts such as, ahem, days of the week. Oh brother, please. It’s always Fan Mail Wednesday in our generous hearts!
Here’s a really kind note sent from Prince Edward Island in Canada, a land where even the bacon is Canadian!
Dear Mr. James Preller,
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for the creation of your young adult novel Bystander. Not only do I appreciate the sensitivity and humanity displayed within the text, but you also manage to infuse humor. It might make you smile to know that my grade seven students honestly plead with me to share another chapter during our read aloud time.
I was a bit apprehensive at first as I read about Eric’s life back in Ohio prior to the separation of his parents. I was nervous that students would become emotional charged or upset as Eric spoke of how is family had “fractured.” I was worried that this would trigger a sense of loss or sadness as this is such a common experience for many young people. If anything, students connected to his disappointment and confusion during a tumultuous time. I was pleasantly surprised to witness how students empathized with Eric and Rudy. We spoke about empathy and how we all handle stress and grief in different ways.
In closing, I just wish to say thank you once again. You can never know how far your words may travel, but may you celebrate the fact that they have touched the hearts of students in my grade seven English class. Thank you for your time and if you ever find the time to reply, I know that my students would be positively thrilled.
Stacy, Prince Edward Island, Canada
My goodness, wow. The Irish have an expression, “Flowers for the living.” That you don’t have to wait for someone to die before saying something nice to him, or about him.
I really appreciate receiving that good news. It was an exceptionally kind note of you to write. (Though I’m not entirely sure those two previous sentences were shining examples of “good” English, but, hey, let’s keep things loose for now.)
Yesterday I handed in the 2nd and final revision of my next hardcover (July, 2015), titled THE FALL. It’s not a sequel to BYSTANDER, and it might be one step tougher, but it does address many of the same ideas and themes as that previous book. After some group bullying behavior, there’s a tragic result. The story is told entirely from the point of view of one of the boys who engaged in those misguided acts of cruelty. Now he has to own it, what he did & didn’t do.
My best, and again, thank you!