Janelle writes: I am a student currently taking Children’s Literature course at a Community College in Maryland. I was wondering if you had a moment to answer a question regarding your book “Speak.” The question that was on most of our minds as we were discussing the book in class yesterday was this:
Do you think that Melinda’s life will get easier as she enters 10th grade and so on? I personally think that it would, and that eventually all of the nasty things such as rumors may eventually fade out. But our teacher suggested that we write you to and ask you what your thoughts on the matter would be.
The rumors will always be there, and the ignorant people who whisper and say hurtful things will always be there. But by the end of the book, Melinda has changed. When she found the strength to speak up for herself, she grew.
Because she is a more confident young woman, the whispers and rumors won’t bother her nearly as much. And when you don’t let the whispers get to you, they tend to fade away on their own.
I suspect that by the time she graduates, Melinda will have gone from “The Weird Girl” to “The Artistic Girl Who Doesn’t Put Up With Stupid Stuff.” If you really want to know how her peers see her the year following SPEAK, pick up a copy of CATALYST and turn to page 76.