An Open Letter to Victoria Jamieson by Elaine Vickers
My eight-year-old daughter received Roller Girl last Christmas and read it about five times over winter break. After that, her attention turned to other books for a while, but she still wanted roller skates for her birthday and wore her hair in two braids a LOT.
This spring, I saw a message she’d written herself on the little whiteboard in her bedroom that any reader of Roller Girl would recognize: Tougher. Stronger. Fearless. I snapped a picture, thinking it was cute, and went along with my week.
That Friday, I got a call from her principal saying that my daughter had been the victim of several bullying incidents that had been escalating, and that the other student was now suspended. I cried as he told me the details of what had been happening to her. (I’m crying again as I write this.)
When I got home from work and went to her room to hold her close and talk to her about it all, I saw the whiteboard again–but in a whole new way.
Tougher. Stronger. Fearless.
My daughter told me everything that had happened and about how she’d been reading Roller Girl again and looking at the message on the whiteboard right before school every day.
When my daughter needed a source of strength and courage, Astrid was there. Your beautiful story was there, even before I was. The right book at the right moment can change a life, and your book did exactly that.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
A Grateful Mother
Note: I actually got the chance to tell my daughter’s story to Victoria, and she sent my daughter this letter. My admiration and gratitude know no bounds. And my tough, strong, fearless girl is happily settled in for a new school year and thriving. There is a copy of Roller Girl in her desk to this day.
Elaine Vickers is a mom of three, a teacher, and an author whose first middle grade novel, Like Magic, comes out this fall from HarperCollins. You can find her online at elainevickers.com or @ElaineBVickers.