Saturday, December 10, 2011

A famous author personally responds

Kudos to authors who really care about their readers, not just their sales. High fives to any writer who responds with a personal letter to his or her number #1 fan.
Accolades and hugs to Randi Barrow, author of Saving Zasha.

Nicholas is nine and a half years old. He is kind, caring, has a winning personality and smile, a thick shock of dark hair and large feet that he is finally growing into. His lofty goal is to be a professional hockey player. He and his dad, my son, watch St. Louis Blue's Hockey. It is not uncommon to hear him cheer when the players get into fist and stick fights. I used to be appalled at the violence and feared he would incorporate these actions into his daily life. Well, he IS a rough and tumble kid on the football field. His team was undefeated until the playoffs. He participates in and loves all sports and he prefers outdoor play with the neighbor kids, which usually ends in a dispute between someone. Nick either defends his position or the underdog. He likes wrestling with his dad, but he also enjoys snuggling with his mom. And he teases, as much as helps his little sister. He is fond of his large reddish brown dog, Nash and his cat, Tweeny.

This kid will defend to the end a bullied student on the playground. He is not afraid to preach his convictions of right and wrong, and he is proud to be a Christian. He is a member of Student Council, and he attends meetings an hour before school when he'd rather stay tucked under the covers. He is passionate about everything, so I was not surprised when I came to visit and he began to expound on a book he'd been reading.

"Nana," His green expressive eyes widened. "I'm reading the best book I have ever read in my entire life, and I have read every one of the Captain Underpants books. I'm telling you, this is the best book EVER and did you know that in World War I, we fought the Germans? Well this book is about a dog that was in the war, well he wasn't a soldier-soldier, but he came to this kid..."

Nicholas has given me DETAILED snippets of this book for two weeks. The book is set in Russia and involves a German shepherd dog. The main characters are boys and, I could tell you the whole synopsis, but I think you should purchase a copy of this book for the preteen or tween in your life.

Nick is usually dropped off first at school and his mom brings his little sister to our house at 8:00 a.m. Nicole is in my preschool class. I am used to her 'surprising' me with a big hug in the morning. I was completely surprised when Nicholas came through the door and directly to the computer room where I was busy writing. I knew I would have to listen to more of his wonderful tale.

"Nana, since you're a writer, do you think you could get me an autograph?"
I'm thinking Blue's Hockey Player. "Sure, I can try. Which one?"

"Could you look up Randy Borrow? This guy is the best writer I've ever read. His words got into my emotions and I feel like I am in every scene in Saving Zasha."

I did a Google search on Randy Borrow. Then I searched the title and came up with Randi Barrow. I found contact information. I told Nick he could write to his favorite author. He wrote from his little heart. Then, I showed him the author's photo.

Those darned stereotypes. His eyebrows shot up. "Huh? Wow, this is different than what I expected. Oh wow, I don't care; she is the best author, EVER."

Amazingly, Randi Barrow, author of "the best book in the whole wide world" responded. Her friendly email included confidential information, "Shhh, Nicholas, it's our secret, but you haven't heard the last about Zasha."

I took the email to him after school and I have never seen a happier, more stunned, surprised little boy. That night ...

"Can I take the email to school?"
"YES, be proud of it."

"I don't think I should, because then I would be telling 'our secret' and she told me shhhh! So that means don't share the information, and I'm worried I might ruin it for her."
"It's OK, Nicholas. Share it only with your teacher then, not the class."

"Nana, would you write her back again and tell her I would prefer her autograph, because she said I could have EITHER a book OR her autograph, and I want this author's AUTOGRAPH not an inscription."
"Nick, inscription means she'll address the book to you AND sign her name."

"Nana, I feel bad that she has to pay to mail the book, so tell her to just sign a paper with her name on it."
"NICK, it is past your bedtime, and mine. I'll offer to pay postage."

"Nana, when you write her, be sure to tell her this is the best book I have ever read, and I cannot stop thinking about Zasha."
"I will, Buddy. Love you."

"Mom, you can't believe how happy Nicholas is about contacting this author."
"Son, I am so happy for him. Do you know how many times he's called me tonight? Isn't it past YOUR bedtime? Love you."

Next day, I pulled up after school and handed Nicholas her note stating his book is in the mail. His grin was slow; it grew clear across his freckled face, and I thought he was going to cry. Me too.

Randi Barrow is a former adoption attorney who has also written, Somebody's Child:Stories from the Files of an Adoption Attorney.Her books can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and

I am certain her books have deeply touched adults, students and little boys like Nicholas, the world over.

THANK YOU, Randi Barrow, especially for making an impact on me and my grandson!

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