As a writer, honoring the story and getting it down and into the hands of readers is my job. It’s a solitary endeavor that takes a host of people to bring to fruition. We are never in it alone. And for each person who helps me along the way, I am grateful for the help I have received. In the case of 7th Grade Revolution, the story would not have been possible without the help I received from a teacher. It amazes me to this day that Karen Rectanus was so open and sharing to some writer who contacted her out of the blue. And she helped without asking anything for it.
I’ve kept in touch over the journey for this book, giving Karen updates for where the book is at in the process and I was delighted to have the opportunity to send her an Advance Reader Copy to help thank her for the help she freely gave me. Her response to the book completely overwhelmed me.
So, I arrived home earlier today to find your book on my front porch and I have just come up for air, realizing that I haven’t even eaten since I picked it up. (It’s 11:00) I don’t even know where to begin. Should I start with the dedication that brought me to tears? The first time I saw my name as the teacher and I gasped? (I really had forgotten that you had said you would use my name!) The fact that the beginning of the book is so very reminiscent of the real thing? The illustration toward the end when I saw myself? All of those things were beyond my expectations, but what I really want to say is that the book held me captive from beginning to end. You captured the middle school mind perfectly, showing their insecurities as well as the amazing strength that is just below the surface. Bravo! It is a wonderful book and I can see it being used during a study of government as a class read. The illustrator is also superb. I could go on and on. (I also am really amazed at how you captured me as a teacher … how did you do that?) So thank you, thank you, thank you! I loved every part of this book and I am so very proud, as I said earlier, to have had any part in it.
As I write this, I’m the one with tears in my eyes. To think that two total strangers on opposite sides of the United States can connect through happenstance and a story is born, is still an incredible concept to me. And there is no greater praise than for a writer to hear their work has been consumed by a reader, that the reader was captured from start to finish. Because the story was inspired by the classroom experience, it meant so much to me to hear that the story was reminiscent of the real experience. To hear I have captured the middle school mind makes me grin … because this is coming from someone who deals with those minds as her profession.