« Back to National Winners

Letters About Literature National Winners 2009

National Winner, Level 1: Caroline Hoskins

Dear Cynthia Lord,

It often seems to me that nobody understands my problems, that I am the only one in the world who has difficulties, and I am trapped in a cement box with no way out. Reading your book Rules helped me look at these situations in a different light.

Just like Catherine in Rules, I have a sibling with Autism. Just like Catherine, for pretty much all of my life, I have had to face therapy sessions, sacrifices, and being embarrassed to have my friends meet my sister, Julia. I was worried that Julia would make my friends think I was weird. All the time, people of all ages would come up to me and ask me the same question: "Are you Julia's older sister?" This really bothered me. I felt like a nobody in a world circulating around Julia. It seemed to me that I didn't have my own identity. I told myself that I didn't care, but I lied. Reading Rules helped me realize that I am not the only person in the world that has these kinds of problems.

No, the therapy won't stop. No, I won't ever stop sacrificing, but after reading your book, I realized that having Julia as a sister is amazing, and I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world. I realized that if my friends can't accept my sister as she is, then they aren't really my friends. But most importantly, I realized that I am my own person. My identity is not "Julia's older sister." I am Caroline Hoskins. I am me.

Thank you, Cynthia Lord, for writing such a beautiful story that includes problems that kids these days actually face. You are an amazing author, and Rules is a simply wonderful story. It helped me through my problems, and I am positive it helps kids all over the world every day.

Yours Truly,

Caroline Hoskins