Friday, January 21

Best-selling author sends package of personalized letters to English class

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After reading Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling book The Kite Runner, a freshman English class was inspired to write individual letters to the Afghan-American author, according to their teacher Kristine Bautista. Last week, each student who wrote to Hosseini received a personalized response and an autographed headshot.

In a letter addressed to Bautista, Hosseini said he was “humbled” by the letters he received from her students and thanked her for sharing The Kite Runner with her class.

“So many students have written to me from different corners of our country and all over the world about how they see themselves, their families, and their friends in my characters,” Hosseini wrote in the letter. “What an extraordinary gift to be able to share with students, to be able to see past our ‘otherness’ and find common threads in our human experience.”

Hosseini wrote a letter to Bautista in addition to each student. Photo courtesy of Kristine Bautista.

Hosseini wrote a letter to Bautista in addition to each student. Photo courtesy of Kristine Bautista.

Through this process, students learned about the Khaled Hosseini foundation, the author’s nonprofit that supports Afghan women and children. Students said they also deepened their knowledge of Afghanistan as a result of writing to the best-selling author.

When Bautista was in high school, one of her English teachers encouraged her to write to the authors of her most cherished books. Bautista said she received a reply from every author that she sent a letter to. As an English teacher, she continually encourages her students to reach out to authors.

“I believe that most authors want to connect with their readers and are flattered to offer advice,” Bautista said.

Bautista’s classes have written to several different authors in the past. Last year, Bautista’s English class read “The Circuit” by Dr. Francisco Jimenez, a local professor at Santa Clara University. The class decided to send him a Youtube video, and Jimenez emailed the class in response, which Bautista said was “pretty exciting.”

Freshman Ben Rogers, who wasn’t expecting Hosseini to write back to him, was excited to receive a letter and learn more about Afghanistan, the author’s country of origin.

“I recommend students to write letters to authors, because I think students should have the chance [to connect with their favorite authors],” Rogers said.

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