When I was in third grade my teacher gave me this 525-page book as a gift. It’s tattered and broken now because I’ve read it many times and because it’s followed me through my life. I thought it was too hard to read and too long at first. I was only eight. But now I see that I loved it so much because it gave me hope and because it showed me how to have a voice.

I was afraid of Mrs. Rarick at the time, but now I wonder if she knew I needed this book, and was being especially kind. Maybe. Thank you, Mrs. Rarick.