The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach Novel Study and Anti-Bullying Guide in Action: Enthusiastic Letters from Students with Author Responses

23 Jan
Short-Listed for the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award

Short-Listed for the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award

In the next series of blog entries, my readers can peruse these lively grade six student letters I received from students in the classroom of teacher Nick Popiel after my return from teaching my anti-bullying unit in The Pas, MB, Canada.I will share these letters over the next couple of weeks to give teachers the idea of just how deep is the consciousness-raising impact of my anti-bullying novel study on students.

Also, the student responses are adorable, uncensored, serious-minded, and dedicated to understanding bullying. I smile and am moved when I read these letters, and I hope you’ll enjoy them too! (Of course, names have been changed to simple letters.)

November 19, 2012

Dear Margaret Shaw-Mackinnon

Hello and my name is D. and I read your book The Beech Nut at The Big Water Beach. I thought your book was awesome! By the way, I go to Scott Bateman Middle School and [am] in Mr. Popiel’s class and I love your book.

So my favorite character in the book is Alison only because I don’t think that she’s ugly. Maybe she actually is fattish in the story. My favorite part of the book is [near] the end [and] it was the part when Munro kissed Alison. I loved when you came for a visit to our classroom and [gave] my class a lesson on art and stuff.

I hope that you see this or my letter to you! So again, this is D. S. from Scott Batman Middle School saying I love your book!
D. S.

Dear D. S.,

Thank you so much for your email regarding The Beech Nut of Big Water Beach! You are very kind to let me know that you thought the book was awesome and that you loved the book.

I agree with you that Alison isn’t ugly, even if she is a little overweight. I also agree that it’s a special part in the book when Munro and Alison kiss. They like each other for all the right reasons, because they really care about so many of the same things, and about each other.

I am pleased that you enjoyed the lessons on art and other things. Authors find it just wonderful to know that readers love their books, so thank you, D. S., for making my day! Happy Holidays!

Margaret Shaw-MacKinnon


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