Letters About Literature 2019 Level 1 Winner: Asha Blewett

Dear Miss Deborah Ellis, If you took one
good look at me you would see a petite overlooked
twelve-year-old girl struggling to find her own path. Three months ago I found
myself stumbling upon a small dark blue book with a girl looking from behind a
fence and the bright words Moon at Nine illuminated on the front. While most
people would probably have second thoughts about choosing a book that
shows a girl with fear dancing in her eyes I decided to look into her world
and read this book. Something sparked in my eyes and I was intrigued to begin
reading. Perhaps it is because I saw a little bit of myself in the main
character Farrin. Or perhaps she had a quality I wish I had: courage. Little did
I know this book would change the view I have of myself and my place in this
world. As soon as I began reading about Farrin, a girl from Iran, I felt a
connection to her actions of trying to fit in. Most people have told me to just
be myself and then I shouldn’t care about what other people think. I
struggled to grasp this concept until I read your book. In Moon at Nine the lesson was truly wired into my mind when I saw another character trying to come to
grips with the same problem I struggled with at a young age. When Fararin
attempted to avoid answering too many questions and tried to conceal her
intelligence to prevent drawing attention to herself, I found myself
relating to the idea of weaving myself in with the crowd. I too have tried to
avoid grabbing the attention of others. Throughout elementary school and parts
of middle school I attempted to fit in and find where I belong within my grade.
When I was in fourth grade I had a brief friendship with a girl in my class. I
would always find myself left in the dust when playing with this “friend” each
time she was with others. When I felt like I wasn’t fully included I started
trying to fit into her mold behaving the way she did. I would often laugh at
things she would point out not caring if it was kind or rude. Throughout
my reading of this book I discovered that I should not have tried to imitate
her negative behavior behind people’s backs. I will never forget when I found
out that Farrin and Sadira, another Iranian girl, were trying to hide their
love for each other by acting like everyone else in fear of being executed,
I found myself connected to their reactions based on fear of being
laughed at and humiliated. In early middle school I found myself mocked for
my asthma just because I had a weird cough. Most people would give me a strange look and some would laugh at me because I looked bizarre. I would often find it
difficult to stand up for myself because I felt afraid most of the time. I would
try to hide it by breathing normally struggling to hold back my cough. In the
past, I thought that it was acceptable to try to hide my cough, but after I read to
your book I found out that you don’t always have to be like everyone else.
when Farrin and Sadira admitted their love for each other, I felt as if a
thousand pounds had hit me. I realized no matter how much you try to change
someone human personalities and desires can’t be altered and that it is important
to be yourself. After reading that, I became more self-aware, and did not want to hide who I truly was in order to fit in. Now when people make fun of my asthma I think of your book and simply just ignore them because having asthma is
simply a part of who I am as a person. Later in the book, when Farrin refused to
sign a confession admitting that she is lesbian, I felt that she was brave for
standing up for herself under very extreme circumstances in which she could have been killed. Now I also try to stand up for myself
when people make fun of my asthma or my appearance. This book has changed me from a small ignored person to a strong courageous person. Thank you for clearing the blindness out of my eyes, and providing me with the story I will
always carry in my heart. Thank you for giving me the courage to stand up for what I think is right. Sincerely, Asha Blewett

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