Dear Patricia Reilly Giff,
I was surprised at how long it took me to read your book Pictures of Hollis Woods. Usually I quickly read a page and keep on reading. With this book, I found myself reading and then stopping to think about what I had just read.
I got to know your main character, Hollis, as a friend--a very good friend. Your book made me think about how lucky I am to have a family. It also gave me a little bit of perspective on what the real world is like for some people.
Some families from my church have had foster kids. One of them was found just wandering around on the streets in a city. She doesn't talk about it much. For me to leave my house and family would be very hard, because my family loves me and I love them. Because I know the love of a family, I am thinking Hollis left her foster homes because she was looking for the love she did not have. Hollis must not have had a family that would play card games with her at the kitchen table after supper, like my mom, dad, and brother do with me. I realize this takes time from all of us, but it builds the love between us. I also like it when my mom and I are in the kitchen, baking together. We might be making different recipes, but I like the time we can spend together, working and talking. I also like it when my brother asks me to play with him. I sometimes feel bad when I have to tell him I can't because I have a lot of homework. When that happens, I do try to make time for him soon because I know this is a sign that he loves me.
Before I read Pictures of Hollis Woods, I took so much about family for granted. Your book taught me to appreciate the little things about my family, because I now understand that not everyone has what I have. I will not forget the important message I learned from your book.