Maye Stichter–Letter Essay #3

Image result for book cover for Serafina's Promise

Dear students,

Recently I finished reading “Serafina’s Promise” a 395-page Realistic Fiction book by Ann E. Berg, an award winning middle-school English Teacher. Ann has won the Jefferson Cup award, the ALA Best book for young adults, the IRA Notable Book for a Global Society, and the Booklist Editors’ Choice About the Awards This book is a very common read for middle schoolers, as well as a top seller in all book stores. I read this book because it has such a touching story, and lately I’ve been looking for a story that shows what the world is like, other then in our small town of Easton.

Serafina, the main character, wants to go to school, but her parents don’t have the money. So, she works and does as many chores as she can to get money and save up. Serafina’s dad, Papa, really wants more money to take care of the house and Manman, her mother, and for Serafina to go to school. But he has no money for uniforms, and now Serafina has a lot to do at home. So, he works his hardest and makes sure that Serafina goes to school. But does she?

I was surprised when Serafina’s parents were able to make Serafina go to school. Her family is really poor, especially when they had to suffer a flood. Serafina’s parents, all their lives, have been struggling with making sure that they have food on their plate to stay strong and healthy. Throughout this book, there were a lot of “words of the wiser” sign posts. I think this because Serafina’s parents want to make sure that Serafina can remain strong when she gets older. A quote from the book shows exactly that, ” Make sure to be strong, and try your hardest, because some day that effort will pay off (pg.206).”

I liked the way the author placed the story. The author wrote this story from Serafina’s perspective, and from the narrator. It was really interesting to find the techniques that she placed in this story. Such as, a lot of dialogue, description, flashback, and flashforward. It really helps me to both understand the book, and to ask myself a lot of questions to help comprehend.

I really wish that this book had more of a climax.  I had gotten to the middle of the book and I was looking for something to gasp on, but there was really nothing. And I know that not all climax points are in the middle of the book, but I was looking throughout the entire book to try to find something that would make me wonder. This is a really good book if you want to hear someone’s personal story. Throughout the book, there were moments where you start to think to yourself, wow, that was weird. Which means that there is a lot of “Contrasts and Contraditctions” for when the character does something that you don’t expect coming at all. But in the end, I really wished that there was more a climax to get me interested.

Finally, I was interested in this passage, when Papa and Manman ask Serafina about school, and when she is able to go if she wants to: “I see how hard you’ve been working . The vegetables and herbs are thriving- even the peppermint! You’re becoming a strong, dependable young woman. And when the jar is full, you may go to school!’ says Manman. I jump and kiss Papa and Manman. I twirl my pretty green dress. ‘Mesi! Mesi!’ I shout. ‘ I’M GOING TO SCHOOL (p.146-147)!”

What I love about this passage, is that it really shows how excited Serafina is to go to school and the fact that Serafina’s parents are actually allowing her to go to school, even though they are extremely poor. It also shows how much it really means to her. How she has been wanting to go to school for the longest time, and now her parents are finally allowing her to go. The author really makes it feel as if you are there watching her hear the good news, and how shes screaming. I rate “Serafina’s Promise” as an 8/10. I would defanitly read it again as a relaxed read.


Maye Stichter


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4 thoughts on “Maye Stichter–Letter Essay #3

  1. This was a great post. I liked when you talked about the absence of a climax in the book, and how it left you “looking throughout the entire book to try and find something that would make me wonder”. This was a great paragraph because it showed how you can think critically about parts of a book. It kept me distracted from my math homework. Good job.

  2. Hi Maye!
    This was an awesome post! I really liked how you add signposts in there after recently learning about what they were. I think if you were to make it a little better than it already is, then I would say to add more quotes and text from the passage. This would allow it to be even better and more detailed.
    From Mia Larkin

  3. Dear Maye,

    I loved how you included the signpost ‘Words of the Wiser’- it formed an outline on how Serafina valued her father and mother’s encouragement and advice. The specific passage you included brought up a great point, that most of the time we take things for granted. When you read something like this, even if it is fictional, you realize that poverty exists. I know, and admit, that when I go to school, I don’t even think twice about it. Yet, many or thousands of children and adults, never have the opportunity for education or school. The detailed way you reacted to the passage leads a perfect segue into this major problem and point.
    Nice job Maye,
    Your friend, Izzy 🙂

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