Saturday, January 12, 2013

Middle School Essays

Wow! Wow! Wow! I just got done reading 225 letter/essays about the Paper Bag Christmas, and I must say, I'm impressed! These kids all did such a great job. Every year the students at A.E. Wright Middle school end up teaching me little things that I didn't know from my own book!  Ah, the wisdom of young minds.

As I read the essays this year I was looking for things that I would remember beyond today, such as personal accounts, well crafted ideas, clever insights, application of lessons-learned, or sometimes just a well-placed word that helped me gain new understanding. After poring through them, I decided to choose one essay that I particularly enjoyed from each class. I'm not saying there weren't many essays that were worthy of selection (nor am I assigning grades...that's the teacher's call!), but for different reasons these are the ones that touched me in some way:

  • Kimball period 1: Syndey
  • Kimball period 2: Jenoah
  • Kimball period 4: Lillie
  • Kimball period 6: Shane
  • Chadroff period 3: Justin
  • Chadroff period 5: April 
  • Cox period 5: Sophie
  • Cox period 6: Dawson

Each one of these students will be receiving a signed copy of Sweet Misfortune just as soon as I can get around to mailing them.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. It took a long time to read them all, but it was so worth it! You did a great job. Keep up the good work! And most importantly, keep trying to be a friend to all.


Leia Mais…

Monday, November 26, 2012

A.E. Wright Middle School Essays

Dear A.E. Wright Middle School students:

Thanks for taking the time to read The Paper Bag Christmas, and for sharing your essays with me. I love hearing from students each year!

To help make sure all of your essays are original, I have taken the liberty of deleting last year's comments from my Blog (sorry guys). But as with last year, I will be selecting at least 3 entries that really catch my attention or touch me in some way, and those students will all receive signed copies of one of my other books.

Looking forward to the A.E. Wright essays! Please post them as comments to this blog. Oh, and be sure to include at least your first name, teacher's name, and what class period you are in!

Leia Mais…

Friday, January 13, 2012

Essay Winners!

210 essays about The Paper Bag Christmas, and I read every one of them! And eyes need a rest.

But before I step away from the computer, I'd like to thank all of the Student at A.E. Wright middle school for their wonderful insights. You're all amazing, and I'm thrilled that you are finding ways to look beyond yourselves and seek out people to serve and befriend. That's what it's all about!

To say thanks to everyone for their hard work, I've picked out a few students who said something in their essays that touched me in one way or another - either taught me something new, inspired me, or made me chuckle. Those students are (in no particular order).....[drum roll, please].....

- Ellie; Kimball's 4th period class
- Kaylee G., Miller's 5th period class
- Noah W., Miller's 4th period class
- Alissa, Kimball's 3rd period class
- Samantha (Sam), Miller's 4th period class
- Gabriella, Kimball's 2nd period class

I'll be sending signed copies of Sweet Misfortune to each of the above students.


Leia Mais…

Monday, January 24, 2011


First, let me say that ALL of the seventh graders who posted letters about The Paper Bag Christmas are "winners" in my mind. Truly, the things you wrote were inspiring, articulate, and insightful. Unfortunately, I can't send everyone a free book (I know...bummer). My plan was to send three signed copies to whoever wrote the 'best' letters, but with 149 fantastic postings, it was just too hard to choose! So instead, I selected the passages of text that really touched me in some way. The authors of those passages will each receive a book. So here it is....drum roll please. The winners (and their words that impressed me) are as follows:

1. Kate – “In a way we all are wearing a paper bag just like Katrina. We all try to hide things, and feel insecure sometimes and we try to get away from everyone else one way or another. We all need friends and friends to be there for you when times are tough and to stand by your side to tell you that it is okay. People are not what you think at first look, but when you look just a little deeper you might just be surprised.”

2. Theo – “I am Jewish. I've never celebrated Christmas before. I've never had a Christmas tree before. You showed me what Christmas really means. You don't have to celebrate Christmas to take in what it really means. What you wrote in The Paper Back Christmas taught people that you don't need an iphone, a macbook, or an Air Jammer Road Rammer to be happy. All you need to do to be happy, is give others that gift of joy and you will receive happiness from others.”

3. Kenna – “Ever since I read your book, I have watched the way people treat other people, even strangers. I learned that just giving a friendly smile or compliment can make someone's day. I have made it my mission to try to be more gracious to people by doing these things. I think the importance of your book is to try to teach children that beauty is on the inside, and to always believe in yourself.”

Thanks to everyone for your letters!    

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mystery Book...

I love getting emails from readers, and sometimes they are just too good to keep to myself. I received this one today from someone who mysteriously stumbled upon The Paper Bag Christmas...

Hi Mr. Milne!

My name is [name withheld], and I live in a small town in the hill country in Texas. Last night God gave me your book, The Paper Bag Christmas. Okay, well, maybe not God... but someone did. I live with two other people and it belonged to none of us, we'd never seen it before, but there it was, just sitting on our bookshelf. I am a firm believer in the magic and love of Christmas-time, so I decided to read it. I finished it all in one sitting, and don't know that I've ever cried so hard in a book.

My nephew passed away from cancer in a children's hospital 5 years ago, and it was by far the hardest thing to endure to date. I was incredibly moved by the story and how much love was shown on every single page. I'm a big time crier, so there was no chance of a dry eye of course, but in a good way!

I currently work with at-risk kids as a counselor, having only gotten my Bachelor's in Psychology a year and a half ago. I am not sure why this book appeared on my bookshelf for me to read, but I thank you for writing it, and inspiring me to try my hardest to love everyone and reach out to everyone I can, including the children I work with. I can't wait to go to church this week and thank God for putting it on my shelf, too. I try not to think about my nephew too much, but this book made me, and made me feel some sort of peace. I didn't know what to do so I decided to write you this e-mail in hopes of a response and your take on this strange Christmas story!

Leia Mais…

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sweet Foreign Cover

Just got this from the publisher in Korea...the cover of Sweet Misfortune. It definitely has an Asian flair, but I love it!

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Am Northwest Interview

Just wanted to post a link to the interview I did on AM Northwest (Channel 2, OR). It was a blast! Thanks to Helen and her book club for a great time!!

Leia Mais…

Friday, July 2, 2010

Eclipsing Eclipse

This picture is for my own teenage daughters. Hopefully, seeing their dad's name anywhere near the newest Twilight movie will bolster my 'coolness' in their eyes. :-)

Leia Mais…

Happiness Letter

I received this today from Paola C., who just finished reading Sweet Misfortune....

Happiness is holding a sleeping baby and watching his/her angelic face in their repose. 
Happiness is reading a book, hearing a song/music, or watching a movie that touches your soul. 
Happiness is hearing children's laughter. 
Happiness is hugging the one you love. 
Happiness is feeling grateful for everyone in your life. 
Happiness is knowing you are never alone - God and God's helpers are always there. 
Happiness is spending time with children and listening to them - they are so wise - if only, we spent more time speaking to them.  They are worth these moments and you get so much in return. 
Happiness is being of service to someone.  There is no greater joy than doing something for someone else that is not connected to ego. 
Happiness is being grateful for the senses and experiences that you have - good and bad help you grow. 
Happiness is telling and showing people that you love them.  Tell people you love that you love them but don't forget to show them too! 
Happiness is spending time with my precious niece and nephew.  As they grow older, happiness is receiving unexpected hugs and "I love yous" for no reason at all. 
Happiness is love. 
Happiness is laughing at something silly. 
Happiness is nature - she is there everyday to share her bounty - sometimes we are too busy to notice her. 
Happiness is the ability to choose and appreciate your freedoms.

Leia Mais…

Angie's Story

Dear Kevin,
Managing a bookstore has its perks.  One of my favorites is receiving advance reading copies of books from publishers.  Being an avid, aka, addicted reader with an unsatiable love of fortune cookies led me to believe I had a winner when I saw the cover of your book.  I curled up in my bed one night with three advance copy books from three different authors.

First book, two chapters in, tossed it aside.  Second book, had potential, but didn't have me coming back for more after four chapters.  As I stared at the cover of book three......your book, and read the fortune--"Some people are lucky in love. You aren't one of them,"  I groaned, "Well this one is obviously written for me. " 
I just finished the final page (and yes, I even read your Haiku) and am now compelled to give you my version of "happiness that doesn't fleet."

My father was killed in Vietnam when I was 10 yrs. old.  My mother died from ALS when I was thirty-five.  My two children were born with an incurable disease called epidermolysis bullosa.  After 20 years of marriage and one month from my 50th birthday, my husband unceremoniously dumped me for a prostitute in Thailand.  Some happiness can be very "fleeting."   As I lay on my dining room floor in the fetal position sobbing, I realized that  the only true happiness is that which comes in the form of comfort and peace from our divine God who is the only one who knows how  all the pieces will fit back together again. It is the happiness which I hold strong to today even though  the puzzle of my life has not yet fallen back into place enough to see a clear picture.  But I wake up every morning and go to bed every night with a happiness which cannot be quenched because I am held in the palm of the One who knows it all and tells me ---"Angie, you win in the end."

Blessings to you on your new  publication.  You have a winner on your hands!  I can't wait to tell everyone who comes into our store!

Angie C.

Leia Mais…