A Letter to My Teacher

"Dear Teacher," a former second grader--now an adult--writes to her old teacher, "Whenever I had something to tell you, I tugged on your shirt and whispered in your ear. This time I'm writing a letter." The letter writer reminisces about her "exasperating" behavior--dripping rainwater in the classroom, distracting her classmates when she didn't want to be called on and disappearing on a field trip. All along, her remarkable teacher handles her conduct with aplomb. When our heroine shouts in excitement at the news that the class will plant a garden together in the spring ("Yay! We get to dig in the mud!"), her teacher responds: "True, but first we read about plants... We'll use math to measure our plot, and we'll write our garden plan." The sweet twist in A Letter to My Teacher comes at the conclusion: the former student reveals that she is about to start a new job--as a classroom teacher.

Having previously collaborated on Apples to Oregon, Deborah Hopkinson (Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building) and Nancy Carpenter (Dear Mr. Washington; Lucky Ducklings) join forces again in what amounts to a sweet love letter to an adored teacher. Although this book will make a touching gift to a teacher, it is also a gratifying read-aloud for early elementary children, reminding them that they are not alone in not always knowing how to express worry, fear and even love. Carpenter's pen-and-ink and digital media artwork, in black and white with washes and splashes of color, warmly captures the remembered busy classroom and the spirited little girl. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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