Women of the Silk

Dear Gail Tsukiyama,

I read your book Women of the Silk with my tutor when I was working on my English grammar. I came from China when I was fourteen. Sometimes when I read your book I felt so familiar with Pei’s culture, this made me feel close to Pei. I really love her because she is a happy person no matter what happens to her. She always has a positive attitude that teenagers today don’t always keep.

The way you wrote about the deep side of peoples hearts touched me. For example, when Pei thinks about why her family never visits her she always finds a positive excuse for them, like they’re to poor to travel. That makes her sad, but still she understood. It doesn’t stop her being happy with her life in the Girls House. This is like my situation. I really miss my family in China, but they can’t come to visit me right here. Even though I have visited them a couple of times, I still miss them so much. But like Pei, I really understand they cannot come to the U.S. and enjoy my life and share with them. And I’m growing as a person without them. Like Pei found a new family with Auntie Yee and the girls, I find a lot of new friends too. We support each other when we have hard moments in our life. I miss my aunt who is one of my closest family members in China and she is very ill now. Like Pei, who worried so much about her family, it makes me feel like Pei, worrying about my aunt.

Even through all the worry, Pei still managed her life to be an independent person who’s responsible for her own life. I think Pei’s story motivates me to be a strong person. I realize I can’t be stopped by sadness for my aunt even though I can’t be with her right now.

Pei’s story shows me people are the same no matter where they live or when they live. They should find courage to take care of themselves. No matter what happens in their life they need to survive well like Pei made the decision at the end of her story to survive even though she was afraid. For me Pei’s story teaches me how important it is. I have to choose a career which I enjoy and will always support me through the up and down times in the future of my life.

I want to say thank you to you for writing such a good book. It affected me a lot about how to deal with life. I really enjoyed the story. You did a really amazing job, especially how you understand Chinese culture.

Sincerely with respect,

Michelle W

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World

Dear Mr. Montgomery,

I was so impressed about Temple’s story.  She was one of those kids who did not fit in with the rest of the crowd.  But she used her unique abilities and passions in the right way to become successful in life.  Temple is a different person because she was born with autism.  Her thinking was in pictures, not in words.  Autism helped her understand the feelings of animals, so she could make their lives better. Her love of making things and creating saved her life. She had tough times but she fought back.  As she grew up, she discovered that when one door closed, another door opened; that made her happy. Temple learned to use her autism to help her reach her goals.  Temple’s success gave autistic kids hope that success is possible for them.

I am from Vietnam. When I moved to the US, I couldn’t speak English at all. I felt so isolated.  It was tough to deal with feeling like I didn’t fit in a new country. Then I found an ESL school and went there until I learned to speak and write in English. It was very difficult for me to learn a new language but I didn’t give up. My English is now in progress. I went back to school with confidence that one day I will get the degree that I want.  I realized that education is very important in my life.

Like Temple, I am not a perfect woman; but I always try hard.  I have raised my two beautiful daughters to become well-educated and to follow their passions in life.  My older daughter graduated from UCI with a major in computer science and engineering. My younger daughter will finish high school in May and go on to college.  Raising my daughters to be good people is one of my passions and the other passion is to educate myself.

Whenever I have tough times, Temple’s story will remind me that another door will open.


Sincerely,

Hoang L.

Writer to Writer is coming soon!

Dear Juana Medina,

I have to thank you because I enjoyed reading your book, Juana and Lucas very much.  When I started to read the book, I loved the way you spell the name Juana who-ah-nah.  The way that you describe Bogota makes me feel like I have been there before.  Like Juana, I enjoy reading in the night.  She had Lucas with her and I enjoyed reading along.

Friendship for Juana is very important.  Juli and her talk a lot and always get a lot of fun together which reminds me about my friend Evelyn and me.  We are very close.  Juana’s life was like my life because like Juana, I moved from Puerta Vallarta to Rosarito where I met very good friends.  Juana has trouble learning English and I have the same problem, too.  In the book, her mother is the most important person in her life.  Her mother is always there for her.  Like my mother is there for me.  She has also her tia Cris. She is her favorite aunt of all aunts.  I hope like Juana, I want to have a favorite aunt.  I feel sad because I don’t have an aunt like that.

Her abue (grandfather) is an excellent abue.  He is funny and very smart.  That reminds me of good times with my grandparents.  My Abuelo was a carpenter.  He always made me wood toys.

For Juana, Spaceland was her motivation to get better grades.  For me, I want to be able to speak and read better English.  Learning another language is hard, but every day I try my best to get better English.  Your book helped me to try my best to learn English.

Thank you Juana Medina for your wonderful book.

Sincerely,

Silvia

Writer to Writer

Writer to Writer is a unique writing challenge through the Southern California Library Literacy Network (SCLLN). Writer to Writer invites adult literacy learners to write a letter to an author whose writing has changed the way they think about life. A group of learners from Literacy Volunteers-HBPL participated in the challenge this year. We hope you enjoy some of their letters!

Dear Mr. Gary Chapman,

I read your book The Five Love Languages of Teenagers and I want to say that this is a wonderful book.  This book is having a good impact on me.  It’s taught me many things, like how parents focus more on the errors of their teenagers and the parents forget to give affirmation words.  Parents are hurting who they most love.  Parents and teenagers both battle with each other and both end up hurt.  Another thing that as parents we forget to do is the right thing when the teenager makes mistakes.  Love your teenager when they fail.  This book helped me understand my teenager.  My relationship with my daughter now is better.  I’m trying to be a better mother following the advice from this book. 

The next book that I’m reading is The five Love Languages of Children.  Then I hope I can read The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.  I think both books are great.  Overall, thank you for writing this kind of book Mr. Gary Chapman.  I learned a lot.  This book was very helpful.  My daughter and I became friends but sometimes I have to remind her I’m her mother.

Sincerely,

J. A.

My Recent Trip to the Beach

“Last weekend, I spent an hour and a half to walk with my husband on the beach at Huntington Beach City. The weather was cool down a little bit after many hot days. A lot of people went to the beach, too. They came there to surf, bike, camp, walk, or just to get some fresh air. I was very impressed by a group of little boys and girls who were practicing martial art with their teacher near the ocean.”

By the way, I want to thank you and Literacy Program a lot by giving me and someone like me a wonderful opportunity to study English with a native American speaker tutor. This chance will help me a lot for understanding American culture as well as improving all my English skills.

Thank you very much and have a beautiful day.

Vinhlieu

The Weather

This year we have had a lot of cold weather. There has been a lot of frost, and there is snow on the mountains. The roads to Big Bear are closed and so is the Grapevine. Chan hasn’t felt so much freezing since she came to the United States until this year. Patricia can’t go to the beach because it is so cold and windy. We are tired of the rain, but California needs it. Maybe this summer will be very hot. The changing weather is causing a lot of problems.

Submitted by Won, Chan, Wendy, Patricia, Kim, and Lynne, small group conversation class, March 5, 2019.

Everything changed

On November 1, 2018, learners and tutors volunteered to speak about their experience with the literacy program in support of one of our grant applications.  This is Maribet’s speech from that night.  Enjoy!

“Hello Everyone, 

Welcome to our Oak View Branch Library. I hope you enjoy this wonderful day and continue to enjoy.

It’s an honor to stand here in front of you and at the same time, a challenge for me to say these words in English.  My name is Maribet.  I am married and God blessed me with a son.  He is seven years old and my son is the reason I decided to come to the library and learn English.

Why my son is the reason?  I said to myself my son is growing up.  He is going to speak English and I want to understand what he says.  When my son started kindergarten, the homework they gave him should have been simple for an adult to be able to help him but I could not help him.  Not because I didn’t want to help him, but I didn’t understand what he needed to do.  And my son realized that I didn’t know English.  He asked me “Mami, why do you not understand English, didn’t you go to school?”

I felt very sad but it was my reality at that time.  For me, it was difficult for everything.  At work, for my son appointments with his doctor, when I go out to eat… how to order the food?

I was afraid when people heard me speak English, maybe they laugh at me.

I still do not speak English well but now everything changed thanks to the programs that we have in our library.  I am happy to learn English.  I feel comfortable when I go to see doctor with my son, when I go to the grocery store.  I can read with my son.

I want to say thank you to all the people who donate their time.  People like you make a difference all over the world.

Thank you for sharing with us what you have.”

Maribet T.