I was thinking about blogging about good books I’ve read lately when two things happened. I got a letter from a girl in New Brunswick who first wrote me almost seven years ago, and I was asked if I would go back to Liberia to do some more work with writers there.
The NB girl first wrote to tell me how much she liked the first two Marie-Claire books. She wrote again a few years later to say the fourth Marie-Claire book was “awesome”. When she wrote me again last year, her letter was about her own writerly doubts and frustrations. (When I refer to her “letter”, I mean it literally – as in the kind you write out by hand, put in an envelope, and put a stamp on before going to the mailbox. Her communications are not simply “click and send” affairs.)
The girl’s most recent letter – she’s a teenager by now – talks some more about her writing and about what’s she’s reading. She’s analyzing why “some books can get you so hooked” and why she wants to be a writer. It’s an inspiring letter. It warmed my heart to get it. She may not know it yet, but she is a writer already, and I hope I meet her some day.
Writers in Liberia don’t get letters like that, but maybe some day they will. The first children’s books written by Liberian authors and illustrated by Liberian illustrators will be published this year, and I’m thrilled to be going back – next week! – to continue helping them to find the stories they want to tell and to develop their craft.
And what have I been reading lately that I thought I might blog about? Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. If you’re looking for your next great read, I recommend any one or all of them.