For as long as I can remember, I have always loved writing things down. I write lists, I use journals, and I always have to write something down in order to remember it. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve started a journal with the best of intentions but never finished them. I’ve been better in my adult years about keeping up with at least writing stuff down once a week. I’m currently moving houses and I’ve found a lot of journals that I’ve kept over the years. It has been so delightful to look back on different times in my life at what I was thinking, doing, and experiencing. I recently read Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverley Cleary and Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech which are both books about middle school kids keeping private journals. I’ve been inspired by the main characters of these two books to keep up with my daily journal. I saw how helpful it is to have a creative outlet and to get all of my feelings out. I learned how to channel my emotions and calm myself down through writing. I laughed out loud at Mary Lou Finney from Absolutely Normal Chaos and how her simple everyday life was made extraordinary by writing it down. I felt so connected to Mary Lou Finney and how she navigated her summer writing project and dealing with big family issues. In Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverley Cleary, Leigh Botts writes to his favorite author and they form a year’s long pen-pal relationship. By seeing their family relationships from this perspective I was able to see how family dynamics are important and how the characters really felt. I feel closer to these characters because of how the stories were written and how personal they felt. I love that so many great books are available to check out at the library. I love writing letters to my friends and being able to share the joy of mail with others. Writing is a way to share our deep thoughts and feelings with others that we may never say out loud. I highly encourage your children to take a chance on keeping a journal or send some snail mail to see what good can come from it.
Veronica Leal, Youth Librarian: firstname.lastname@example.org