Friday, March 04, 2011

In Which Skype Takes Me To School Without Walls

I've been enjoying an increasing number of Skype visits into classrooms and libraries this year, during which I sit in my study and chat with students hailing from all corners of the country ... and sometimes the world.

For example, here are some thank-you notes from exchange students studying at the School Without Walls in D.C. (published with permission, sic). When do adult writers of fiction get to (a) converse virtually with such a savvy, global group of readers, and (b) receive fabulous notes like these? If you wonder why I prefer writing for young people, read on.

Dear Mitali,

I wanted to thank you for the Skype conversation. It was amazing to talk with the author of the book that we had to read. Thank for gave us a little bit of your time, it was such a great experience.

I really liked the book and the story. I have learned a lot about Burma, a country that I absolutely did not know before, and what is going on over there. The story was well imagined and I really enjoyed reading Bamboo People.

So, I hope you will have another book soon, and hopefully we could have another skype conversation. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Loots L. (Belgium)

Dear Mitali,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to Skype with me and answer the questions I had about your book. It was really a unique chance to talk to the author of a book.

I really enjoyed reading the book, especially because you wrote the book from two points of view. It gave a good look on how the two boys crossed each other’s path, how they hated each other but changed their mind in the end. I look forward to read more of your books and hope I can talk to you again.

Yours truly,

Jef (Belgium)

Dear Mitali,

First of all, I will like to Thank you for the Skype chat, for give me part of your time to interview you and to get to know you more. You are a very outgoing person and also really nice.

Thank you too for create this amazing book—Bamboo People—because like you say, this book have some parts of your life and that's what it makes it interesting for us too. You are a great writer because me, like an exchange student, I understand every word in your book, what also make it really good for international distribution. Congratulations for that and I'm so happy and excited waiting for your next book, in that way I won't stop the contact with you in any moment.

For closing, because I think I'm writing to much; I say thank you again for give me your precious time and for respond my questions about your amazing book. I hope don't lose the contact with you and also keep reading your creations.

Regards,

Paulina (Chile)

Dear Mitali Perkins:

I really want to tell you the book you make was a really good book, but the same time was hard for me to understand. I was really interested thanks for making this book.

i really am the person who doesn't like to read at all. My mom pays me to read books but when i start to read your book everything changed, so be proud of this book you made. I think am going to by one and bring the book to my country. Well, thanks for talk to us I really appreciate that, don't lose your contact. Love you.

From: your best Dominican friend, Tracy lol

Dear Ms. Mitali Perkins:

I hope you remember me, I am Adrian from Paraguay, I met you in the Skype chat days ago, I just felt inside me that I have to write an thanks e-mail to thank you for the time that you spent with us answering our questions and doubts last day. It was a real pleasure, that I never had, the experience of meeting an author of a book that I really like.I will be waiting for a new release of a book, I can say that you won a fan.

Best regards,

Adrian (Paraguay)

Dear Mitali,

Hello. This is Na from South Korea. I was glad to meet you on Skype chat discussing about your amazing book Bamboo People. You were so kind and friendly that I felt like we had met before. Thank you for sharing your precious lunch time with us. It would be one of the unforgettable moments I spent in United States of America as an exchange student.

Now I am regretting of not being brave enough to ask every single question I wanted to ask. My favorite part of the book was the connection between two boys from opposite sides of the country politically and geographically. Showing both points of view makes me understand what is going on in Burma(Myanmar) much easier. Also, the touching stories of two boys love for their family and friends made me unable to stop reading the book. Enjoying my first American Thanksgiving day eating cookies with reading the book was fun! If I had chance, I would love to ask you about who is your favorite character and what is your favorite part of your book. Tureh? Chiko? Both characters were too charming to choose one for me. How about you as the creator of these amazing boys? In addition, you mentioned the Lord of the Rings as one of the motivations of Chiko. Lord of the ring was one of my favorite fantasy stories. Is there any personal reason of using that book as a source for Chiko? When I read the part about it, I was so excited to read that part.

Reading the book thinking about what I would want to ask the actual author was very unique and valuable experience. Thank you again for giving me this kind of incredible moment. I have never imagined about actually talking with the author in my life. When will you start your next book? As a lover of your previous book Bamboo People, I am already looking forward to reading your new book!! It was extremely nice to see you. Bye.

Sincerely,

Na (South Korea)

Dear Ms. Perkins,

I want to thank you for the skype chat, I really appreciate it, it was really cool to talk to an author of a book that I read. I really enjoyed the book.

It was really nice of you, that you could talk to us about your book and that you could answer our questions. That just shows that you are a nice person and that you are willing to talk to you readers!

Best wishes,

Thor (Iceland)

Dear Mitali,

It was good talk with you in Skype and in the same time enjoy that together, i hope that you are enjoyed the time with us and also thanks for explain us a little bit about your amazing book.

The Book is very good, it's fun, nice and in the same time interesting . For example i learn about Burma in the book ,because i never listen before talk about that, but now i fell like i know everything, and Chiko, he is a fantastic guy he has a lot of adventures and how he live the life. And how he can compare the life with other guy, how is older than him and he nows more than him, i mean is fantastic.

Well thank you for give us your time to answer our questions and i hope talk with you soon, and enjoy your other book's together.

Sincerely,

Andrea (Bolivia)

Dear Mitali,

I am very happy that I had the opportunity to talk to you via Skype about your incredible book Bamboo People. I want to share with you that it was the first English language book that I read in the United States. I enjoyed your enthusiasm and the attention that you gave to our group. I appreciated the fact that you were patient and answered all of my questions.

I felt that your book was well written and tells a fascinating story between the two boys in Burma, you show how people can unify and come together to have a happy ending. For sure I will suggest it to my friends and I will be waiting anxiously for your next book.

Thank you for sharing a little bit of your life with me and telling me about your trips and the fun things that you did and want to do. I hope in the future we will be able to talk again and you write more great books like Bamboo People.

Sincerely,

Brisa (Brazil)

2 comments:

Michelle Cusolito said...

This is so amazing. The power of the internet! When I taught a graduate course last fall, we had a Skype call with Vicki Cobb.I was amazed that it really did feel like she was in the room with us- not at all impersonal as some might imagine.

This former exchange student loved the letters!

http://michellecusolito.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Thanks again, so much!

I'm so glad the students shared their thoughts and appreciation with you.

Everybody involved had a great time and we hope to do more Skype chats in the future!

--Erin (from DCPL)