This funny, touching picture book–the perfect gift for a child to give to their own teacher–celebrates the difference a good teacher can make. Written as a thank-you note to a special teacher from the student who never forgot her, this moving story makes a great read-aloud and a perfect gift for Teacher Appreciation Day or Graduation!
Dear 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. So begins this heartfelt picture book about a girl who prefers running and jumping to listening and learning—and the teacher who gently inspires her. From stomping through creeks on a field trip to pretending to choke when called upon to read aloud, this book’s young heroine would be a challenge to any teacher. But this teacher isn’t just any teacher. By listening carefully and knowing just the right thing to say, she quickly learns that the girl’s unruly behavior is due to her struggles with reading. And at the very end, we learn what this former student is now: a teacher herself.
Hopkinson's moving epistolary text and Carpenter's emotionally incisive flashbacks chronicle the evolving relationship between an impulsive second grader and her life-changing teacher. Never doubting the girl's potential, the unnamed teacher holds the rambunctious student's attention with a steady, reassuring gaze and deep reserves of empathy and patience. Those same qualities are at work in the storytelling: rather than building to a single dramatic epiphany or declaration, Hopkinson and Carpenter (who previously teamed up for Fannie in the Kitchen and Apples to Oregon) allow the girl's trust and confidence to grow little by little. There are setbacks the girl's misbehavior during a field trip prompts the normally even-tempered teacher to describe her as "exasperating" ("That night my mom helped me look it up in the dictionary"). But by the end of the school year, the child has become an avid student and class leader. And by the end of the story, which returns to the present day, readers will discover just how powerful a great role model can be. Ages 4 8. Author's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House.