I recently got one of those letters that makes this journey one of the most rewarding of my life. It was from a high school English teacher in a small, rural town. She told me how she recently assigned an independent reading project shortly after the school librarian had ordered in a new selection of books, among which was Crazy.
She said one of her students has a pretty challenging home life and is somewhat socially isolated from his peers. He doesn’t talk much in class, struggles to turn in work, has a good heart, and is just trying to make it through. He excels in art, but for his class journals, he almost exclusively writes poems.
When the teacher interviewed the student to see how he was progressing, he said he had finished the book in four days, way ahead of schedule. The teacher said, “It was clear from the many details and from the passion in his voice, that the situation, the narrative, and voice of this book really connected with him. It made me so happy to see him feel as if maybe someone else understood his world. I cannot thank you enough for sharing this story; your authenticity reverberates with those who feel a bit out of place.”
And I cannot thank this kind and dedicated teacher enough, for the obvious care and concern she has for this student, and for graciously sharing this with me. As a follow-up she exclaimed a few days later about “the further proof of the power of a good book” when the student actually initiated a five-minute conversation with her.
Recently in making presentations I have shared a link to a School Library Journal article about the value of bibliotherapy. It is simply an expressive way to use an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression.
I don’t know the details about this young man’s situation, but I am blessed to know that for whatever reason, something about my book touched his heart. I’m sure every author would concur that no amount of fame or fortune can bring as much joy as touching lives through the words we are inspired to write.