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Pauline Holdsworth, winner of the Letters About Literature Level I prize covering grades four through six

Dear Mrs. Pierce,

I know what it feels like to come to a lesson thinking you're really good at something because you did it a little at home, and then find out you're not as good as you thought. Then you have to start over again as the worst in the class. This happens to Alanna when she starts weapon training.

This book makes the past come alive with a boom. You get a glimpse of a totally different world. It takes the cover off the Middle Ages, showing you how hard knights really worked, and what they were really like. You get to know the characters well, and there is never a time when you say "Huh? Who's that?" You get transported back to Tortall in the Middle Ages, and you can't put the book down.

I've always loved fantasy. Tales of magic, knights, dragons, battles, and distant lands always capture my mind. I stay awake at night dreaming about what will happen and what should have happened. I also like books about friendship and people standing up for themselves (like Alanna stands up to Ralon).

Alanna's temper, the way she looks at things, and her attitude makes the book funny, original, and interesting (when Alanna asks Ralon if he has been kissing pigs). It can also be a serious book at times (for example, when Francis dies from the sweating sickness). This book makes you laugh, think, and even cry. You get drawn into the plot, and you want to re-read it many times.

I'd like to tell you that this book, and others that you have written, have changed my life. They have brightened some of my gloomiest days. They make you want to find out more about Alanna. Every time I come home, I pick up one of your books and start to read. They have taught me to work without complaining, and most importantly, that if I try hard enough, I can do anything.


Pauline Holdsworth
Grade 6



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