I love getting email. Especially when its not spam. Not my electricity bill. Not an overdue library books notice. But nice email from really nice people who have read TELESA and actually liked it enough to write and tell me so. Emails that light up my day. Emails like that are more exciting than a six pack of Boston cream donuts.
I got an extra nice one last week. From a librarian in Levin who was buying a copy of the ‘I am Daniel Tahi’ novella. She asked if I could please sign it to three students. She explained, they had never enjoyed reading until they discovered my TELESA book. They devoured the first two books and went to show her with great excitement – that another book was available from my website. This librarian was happy to fuel their reading fire by buying a copy for them AND emailing me to ask if I could please sign it to the girls by name.
I want to take a moment here to tell you ( in case you didnt already know) that librarians ROCK. And school librarians who really care about their students and their reading buzz REALLY rock. I wrote back immediately to thank her and let her know I would be including some book swag extras in the mail as a special gift to the students and posters for the library.
This is not the first time that I have been awed by dedicated readers, librarians and teachers working together. I have been grateful for the opportunity to visit with schools in New Zealand, Samoa and Australia – many times, those visits were instigated by a student. Last year, two students at Kelston Girls High school in Auckland discovered the Telesa book and shared it with their librarian. She took the initiative to not only purchase copies of the books for the library, but also contacted me and found out that I live in the area. She engineered an invite to their Book week where I got to speak to the school and hang out with the students who had recommended TELESA in the first place. In an ideal YA book-reading world, this is how things would work. Young Pasifika readers would work together with educators and librarians and authors – and we’d all get together and make books even more fun.
The greatest compliment an author can receive (in my opinion) – is to find out that her book has ‘clicked’ with a “non-reader”, someone who’s NOT a book addict. Someone who doesn’t usually live in imaginary book worlds. I have often said in my school author visits, that I did NOT write TELESA for people who already love to read. In particular, I wrote this book for Pacific women everywhere, young and old who want to read stories from our part of the world, stories about us, for us and by us. I’m super thrilled to know that in a faraway school at the other end of the North Island – there are three young women named, Taofi, Debrah, and Silivia – who enjoyed my books enough to read them. Enough to share them with their librarian. Enough to rave about them. Connecting with the young people who were the initial audience I had in mind when I wrote TELESA is an epic feeling. Your enthusiasm helps to fuel the writing fire for MORE books. Thank you!