Essays & Articles

Some Lovely Letters from Teachers

Below are some of the letters I’ve received from teachers that inspire me to keep writing:

Okay, this teacher hates me, but I think she hates me in the best possible way:


Dear Mr. Gidwitz,


I would like to offer my professional review of your novel, A Tale Dark and Grimm. For the past four years I have read the novel aloud to my sixth grade reading class. I discovered your novel while attending a mandated workshop about phonics. Luckily it was in the library and I was able to distract myself with books from nearby shelves. I found A Tale Dark and Grimm while quietly avoiding detection from the presenter. It was perfect and fit wonderfully in with my other novel I was teaching at the time, Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. I read yours aloud that year and all the kids loved it. I read it the next year again, with the addition of purchasing a class set. Kids usually remark it was the favorite book of the year…which irritates me because although your book is awesome, I read Call of the Wild by Jack London and what can get better than that!?! Anyway fast forward to this year. This group has been a wonderful challenge to me in that they hate to read. Seriously they are the group that are at grade level or above academically. Most years this ‘group’ devour books at a rapid pace. This group not so much. On their own they have read the likes of Adventures of Diaper Baby, Captain Underpants, and Ricky Riccotta and the Mighty Mobot are among the frequently read books. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Seriously who am I to judge their reading habits? But novel nerds they are not. I am trying to wrap up the year and offered up an independent reading project. They have a cool little sheet of projects to choose from and three novels to choose from. Eighteen out of twenty kids chose A Tale Dark and Grimm to read. Remember the class that hated to read? Silent reading never happened in this class, I tried it multiple times with me breaking up a spitball war and girls playing MASH. On the first day of the first start of independent project was complete silence and every kid enthralled with A Tale Dark and Grimm. I mean dead silence for 60 minutes. I stared at them for 55 minutes of it, waiting for something to happen, maybe the Earth to break apart and swallow me. Day two of the project one kid announced he was finished with the book. I informed the class there are two more novels in the series. Squeals of glee followed with all shouting ‘where can we get them?!!’ I informed them that I have them on my shelf (I have three bookshelves full of novels that they have avoided using). More squeals and more excited chatter followed by silence. They were reading again. So in my professional opinion, I hate you. I have read them the classics, the new classics, the weird, the trendy, my favorites and this book at the end of the school year gets them all jazzed up about reading. Really?! What the heck? I mean I did use my own money to purchase the class set, and gladly paid money for the hard covers of the next two in the series and without a discount coupon! So in conclusion, my professional opinion being that, you are a rotten man. You have accomplished what London, Kinney and Seuss have not done and that is inspired a group of uncultured preteens to enjoy a book. Thank you. Good luck with the Star Wars gig. May the force be with you and make sure to include Hans because he is the coolest character in the series.




Jane, Missouri

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