Level I Winner - Erica Bjelland, Decorah Middle School
Pictures of Hollis Woods; by Patricia Reilly
Dear Patricia Reilly Giff,
Your book Pictures of Hollis Woods helped me understand
several unique qualities about myself and my family. At
different times throughout the book I found myself picturing
things that have happened in my life or in the life of my
family. Reading the book helped me to understand myself
and my family better.
Josie was my favorite
character because she reminded me of two of my favorite
people. My Grandma Goldie is quite a character similar
to Josie. My grandma loves my cat and always talks to
my cat as if she was a member of our family like Henry, Josie's
cat. She talks to my cat as if she was human and my cat
seems like she can talk to her, too. Some people think
she is a little off her rocker. My
grandma is getting very forgetful and needs my grandpa to help
her remember things. I find that I don't really care
that she forgets things because when she comes to visit me all
she wants to do is be with me and talk to me. I like
when she talks to my cat because I talk to my cat. She
doesn't make me feel like I do anything wrong or that I am a mountain of trouble. She loves me
for who I am and I love her.
Josie also reminded me
of my other grandma's best friend, Helen. Ever since I
was a little girl, I sat on Helen's lap. I don't know
why but her lap always seemed inviting. Helen would
stroke my hair and say I wish you were my little girl.
That always made me feel good. She loved me for who I
am. Helen has Alzheimer's and is forgetting many things
but she never seems to forget me. She always sits down
when she sees me and tells me to come sit on her lap.
Her lap is still the same lap to me even though others think
Helen has changed.
Hollis reminded me of
how I feel sometimes. She often felt like she didn't
belong and when she felt that way she would run away. I
feel that way too sometimes. I feel like I want to run
away from everything and just be by myself. When I want
to do that it is often when I feel like I don't belong.
It happens to me with my family and my friends. Hollis
would run away but eventually she found that she did truly
belong. I know now that I do belong now too to my
family and nothing can change that.
If you really think
about it, the world is like a big family. We ALL belong
somewhere. It may take some of us a while to find a
Grandma Goldie or a Helen or a Josie, but if we don't run away
from things we find that we can connect with someone and
belong.I know I belong to my family!