Letters About Literature National Winners 2004
National Winner, Level 1: Jackson Fisher
November 26, 2003
Dear Mr. Hiaasen,
Until I read Hoot, the only Florida I knew was Disney World. Through your book, however, I saw a whole new world. This was a very realistic book. The events seemed as though they really could have happened. The characters had so much depth, it seemed like I could feel what they were feeling. As they evolved in the book, so did I. All of the details made me feel like I was really inside the story.
Some people, such as Beatrice, don't seem to be very nice because of how they look or sometimes act. But this book made me see that you have to look beyond that to determine how good a person really is. One thing I could relate to in the book is that sometimes in my school it takes a while for kids to really make friends and accept new kids. Roy had that problem in the book, and he ended up being a really good person. So, Hoot has made me want to get to know people for myself before judging or assuming anything about them.
This book taught me a lot. For one thing, it showed me that if you have a goal or something you want, you should be determined and not give up. There are many amazing things in nature that our society is destroying, like the owls in your book. We often do very bad things, but few people try to stop them from happening. however, even as a kid, if you work together with others, you really can make a difference. I wish I could say that I had done something great as a result of this book like curing a disease or saving a species. But I can't say that I've done that. Not yet at least. But this book has given me the inspiration to try to do something like that and know that it is possible.
Hoot inspired many feelings in me. There were times in the book I laughed out loud. Other parts were full of suspense. The amount of emotion in the book made it interesting and meaningful. The feeling that I was part of the group helped me to use my imagination, thinking about what I would do in their situation and seeing if my predictions came true. I would like to be a writer when I grow up, and these characters are the types of characters I would like to create someday. They are unique, strong, funny, and make the kids who read about them feel powerful.
Your book has given me so many ideas. Ideas for today how to respect and act towards people I don't yet know regardless of how different they appear. Ideas for tomorrow how to work together with other people and put my efforts towards a good cause. Ideas for my future how to use my imagination and spur new ideas so that I can someday create books for kids that are smart, funny, and suspenseful. Who knows, maybe one day you'll read one of my books?