I received two pieces of mail last week that remind me of why I do what I do. The first was an email from an ESL instructor in Illinois:

Dear Mr. Kowalski,

As an ESL teacher it can be difficult to find books academically appropriate for my students’ levels that is also cognitively and emotionally captivating. With that said, we just finished “The Way It Works” this morning and we are beyond pleased.

Thank you for writing an exceptional novel that relates to my students and helps them process the ideas of hope and determination in the United States. I look forward to introducing them to more of your work in the future.

This is one of the reasons the Rapid Reads books are so successful–because there’s a great lack of age-appropriate beginning English readers out there. Emails like this are a great boost, and I love getting them, so thanks very much for sending it! You know who you are.

The other piece I received was from the co-ordinators of the Ontario Library Association’s Festival of Reading Award. For the third time, I was nominated this year for the Golden Oak Award. I couldn’t attend, but I received an email from the organizers letting me know that one of their adult learners stood up and read a prepared speech introducing me and my book. I don’t know the person who presented me, but I do know that it was probably a very big deal for them to write and deliver a speech. Below is an image of the text from Olive Warner. I’m told there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when she read it. I wish I’d been there. Thanks, Olive!

Olive-speech

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