As part of the 10th Anniversary of SPEAK, I wrote a poem that shares some of the reader reaction I’ve received in the last decade. Below is the video of me reading the poem at NCTE/ALAN last November.

You can find a higher quality version of the video on the “Speak Up About Speak” page that Penguin has created.

If you want to be a part of this effort, Uncle Penguin would love you to contribute your comments about how the book has affected you on that blog.

On a completely unrelated note, this story of compassion and sportsmanship shown by two basketball teams in the Midwest is guaranteed to make you happy.

I’m off to get ready for my trip to New York and, one hopes, write many more pages.


24 Replies to “Listen”

  1. Wow, that was powerful. It is not shocking that Speak would have an effect on thousands of people.

    I remember years ago when I stumbled across Speak. I’ve never felt haunted by a book before. Though I did not experience what Melinda went through I identified with her.

    Thank you.

  2. I am still tearful and speechless.
    SPEAK is taught at the high school I frequent, and YOUR book has encouraged so many non-readers to read.
    Truly, you are a hero to one and a hero to all. Thank you.

  3. Wow! That made me cry. I write about Post-Traumatic Stress (Disorder), how the symptoms start out as survivor skills but can become a survivors biggest problems, and how to find what works for you to get better, but this book sounds just great and I am going to read it.
    Thanks for writing it.

  4. Laurie,
    That rose something in my throat.
    But it also made me smile, at the end.
    Thinking about Speak and reading it in 8th grade
    because I was so depressed like her.
    I wish I had written you a letter then, but I can still now I suppose
    since I reread it every year to remind myself that I have bad days
    but at least shower now, wear jeans not sweatpants.
    Thats a very powerful poem and I love the idea of you
    speaking for everyone, again, and listening

  5. i thought that was an amazing poem and you read it wonderfully. wow. i read and bought all of your books last summer and they are all very close to my heart. i just wanted to comment because that poem really touched me. amazing, i can’t wait to get my hands on wintergirls.

  6. I haven’t read Speak since I was in eleventh grade.
    I don’t remember much about that year.
    But this poem reminded me of exactly how I felt.
    It was just beautiful.

  7. Georgetown vs. Marquette

    Hi Laurie,

    I met you at your stop in Naperville at Anderson’s bookshop last fall. I am the person who said we must be long lost sisters since we share a birthday. You signed your books for me and also autographed Octavian Nothing.

    I wanted to let you know I passed Chains to one of my students earlier this week, and she brought it in the next day with the bookmark about 1/3 of the way through it. She said she couldn’t put it down! I had read parts of it to my class as I’ve instructed on different comprehension strategies. The readings piqued the interest of a few of them, and some have also checked it out of our school library. Anyway, we are all awaiting the next book and hope you’ll be swinging through Naperville again. We’d love to see you.

    On the entertainment side of things, I’m looking forward to watching my Marquette basketball team beat up those Hoyas for the second time this season! I almost went to Milwaukee to see the first game, but the weather here prevented the trip that weekend. Sorry the year hasn’t been so great for John Thompson III and the team this year. My sister, also a Georgetown grad (’76), is suffering through the season too.

    We’ll look forward to your Chicago visit — I hope.

    Marcia Carino
    Traughber Junior High
    Oswego, IL

  8. Re: Georgetown vs. Marquette

    Re: my beloved Hoyas. It’s been a rough season, but they can’t be on top all the time. BTW, I love watching Marquette play,so long as they are not playing Georgetown!

    I won’t be in Naperville this spring (the WINTERGIRLS tour), but I hope they’ll send me when the next historical comes out next year.

  9. Speak, Listen.

    Laurie, that poem was magnificent. I have read SPEAK about 10 times and it never gets old. I’ve listened to LISTEN five times and it makes me teary-eyed just to hear how many people go through what Melinda did.

    I’m sometimes an introvert. I don’t like to talk much around people I don’t know, but I have tons of great friends. Reading Speak made me want to try and speak more than I do. And I feel pleased to say that it has. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book and an even more touching poem.

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