Once in a while something lands in your inbox that just makes your day. Such was the case for me recently, when a literacy consultant in Simcoe County wrote to tell me about the impact of my book King of the Castle on her and some people she knows.
“I am writing a biography about a man named Arnie Stewart,” Janet-Lee Stinson wrote. “Arnie is 62 years old and he has struggled for his entire life without being able to read and write. Arnie bravely tells his secret to audiences full of students who have lost all hope.” She went on to say, “Today, I was working on compiling student letters for a new book to accompany Arnie’s biography. Inside one of the envelopes, was a copy of your King of the Castle. On the inside cover a grade 6 student wrote, “Dear Arnie, This book will remind you of you and me. From Mitchell.” I positioned myself in my favourite chair flooded with a glorious sunbeam to read it. Reading your book brought tears to my eyes because it was very close to the story Arnie has lived. I had to send you an email to tell you how touched I was by this “coincidence.”
Janet invited me to visit Arnie’s website www.arniestewart.org where I found out more about the man, the work that he and Janet are doing, and about an award he has created for a student and family who have overcome literacy struggles. Mitchell was one of its first recipients. Congratulations, Mitchell!
Since my first email from Janet, a film about Arnie called “A Canadian Hero”, made by two grade eight students, has been selected as a finalist for the Toronto Film Festival, Sprockets. Congratulations Jake and Mac!
Congratulations Janet and congratulations Arnie!