June 15, 2017


A Letter to My Teacher, written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, is a sweet, touching book about great teachers. It's written as a thank-you note from a student to her teacher, and it's a delight to see this special relationship through the child's eyes.

The little girl in this book is full of spirit and imagination. She stomps through puddles on the way to school, loses the class mouse, and slips away during field trips, but not once does her teacher lose her cool. Instead, the teacher is understanding, patient, and kind as she listens to the girl and comes to realize her unruliness is due to her struggles with reading. The teacher makes it her mission to ensure the little girl is comfortable with her journey into reading, and at the end we learn that the student is so influenced by her teacher that she becomes a teacher herself.

The illustrations are lovely, with overlapping layers of pen and ink mixed with digital media. The colors are bright, and Carpenter has a special way of highlighting the girl in every spread, making her brighter than the students around her and using her trademark yellow raincoat to identify her quickly. No matter what happens in the illustrations, our eyes go to the girl first on every spread, which is a fantastic way to shine a visual spotlight on the embarrassment the girl feels at not being able to read: she feels like she stands apart from her classmates, and she visually does.

A Letter to My Teacher published earlier this year from Schwartz & Wade!

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