Back in November 2010, I was contacted by a delightful 9th-grade English teacher in Wisconsin named Ms. Meyer who had constructed a dynamic English curriculum based on my novel The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico. She graciously shared with me her class activities and student responses. What an honor it has been to have my novel as the catalyst for so many innovative experiences and lively discussions!
While reading the book, her students explored related music (Daddy Yankee and reggaeton by Los Bandoleros), cuisine (Caribbean-inspired treats), classical texts (Oedipus Rex, Electra, and The Canterbury Tales), psychological theory (Freud), movies (“Feel The Noise”), original cartoons (via ToonBooks), and creative writing exercises aimed toward sensory develop and details. With each passing week, Ms. Meyer’s classes became more and more engrossed in the cultural, historical, and imaginative landscape of my characters, and the past and present Puerto Rican community. I continue to receive regular updates on her students’ journey through The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico, and I’m astounded by their perceptive, deeply felt responses.
Coming home one afternoon not too long ago, I discovered a package on my front doorstep. Inside were beautiful cards Ms. Meyer’s students had cover designed and thoughtfully signed. I was immensely touched and read each one as if I were meeting the reader face-to-face. These The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico cards are a gift I will treasure always. I couldn’t pick a favorite if I tried. Every student illustrated his/her love of the novel so adeptly and with such attention to detail. As the author, it was like being presented with a thousand variations of my personal rainbow. Each unique and all beautiful. Just like the readers who created them.
Thank you, Ms. Meyer, for taking the time and consideration to make your English students reading experience an immersion in literature. Your commitment to education and the literary world is worthy of praise beyond my humble appreciation. It has been my absolute pleasure to know you. Thank you, as well, to the students, for meeting Verdita, her family and culture, and fully embracing her story. Your kind words of gratitude to me are reflected back tenfold!
I look forward to hearing more from Ms. Meyer and her students and promise to post updates here as I do.
Yours truly, Sarah