Better than a Newbery…

I got an email this week from Mr. Smythe, my high school English teacher who read about SPITFIRE in a newspaper clipping someone mailed him.  He’s proud of me.

You have to understand — Mr. Smythe wasn’t just any teacher.  He was that teacher.  If you’ve survived high school and lived to tell about it, you know what I mean.  The teacher who makes you believe you can do better.  The teacher who makes you work harder than you’ve ever worked and makes you love every minute of it.  

Long before I met Harry and Hermione, Mr. Smythe introduced me to Hermia and Helena, Lysander and Demetrius, and their magic was no less charming.  Mr. Smythe had a way of bringing those old stories to life, making them feel as urgent and real as the upcoming prom.  And when we wrote for his class, we wrote with passion. Language mattered.  It mattered with an intensity that burned long past the end of 9th period…and burns to this day.  Thanks, Mr. Smythe.

6 Replies on “Better than a Newbery…

  1. yay for Mr. Smythe, yay for you

    Thank you for that beautiful story. It’s so wonderful that love of language could make this circle. I can imagine Mr. S is very very proud (and as a teacher yourself, you know how we can only guess where our great students may end up, and how incredibily satisfying when they “land.”)

  2. I know exactly what you mean about *that* teacher. I was fortunate enough to go to a lecture by one of my fave HS English teachers, who is now a college professor. I gave her a copy of my book and she made a big point of telling everyone at the lecture about me and how rewarding it was as a teacher to receive a book by a former student.

  3. That’s such a cool story!
    This summer, one of my favorite teachers called me – she had seen my book out and heard about it. She was my fifth grade teacher who taught a variety of subjects (although sex ed sticks out in my mind … of course…!)
    But it was a real trip to hear from her, and made me feel great.
    Kudos to you!
    Kaza Kingsley
    Author of the Erec Rex series