My Dear Ms. Yolen,
I have loved you since 6th grade when my interest in dragons began. The Pit Dragon Trilogy made these majestic creatures more than hoarding, princess-stealing cousins of dinosaurs. Your take on fantasy is more than magic spells and elves. You encourage me to have a broader imagination because there’s no such thing as impossibility in fiction (or before breakfast).
One of my life goals is to read every book you’ve published. My progress with this challenge was paused over the last 7+ years, and now I see that you’ve published more novels since then. You’re not helping.
I recently reread, for the first time, Children of the Wolf. This book is so familiar, but I can’t recall having read it before. This is why I have a slight beef with you; all of your titles seem to be part of my life before I read them. Perhaps I pine for them too much when I see them on library shelves and that pining is another way of reading. Perhaps I’m so accustomed to your voice by now that you could be writing in Cherokee and I’d know what you were saying.
I’d never want you to stop writing, but—dagnabbit—let me get a running start. If I don’t know where I left off, there must be some way I can remember which book I read last. Do I go in chronological order? Do I tackle them by age group? Do I fill my bedroom with your books and see which one I choose while sleepwalking? I’m at a loss, but at the same time I can’t forget novels like Armageddon Summer and The Devil’s Arithmetic. Later this summer, I’ll be rereading (for the first time) The Devil’s Arithmetic. I remember the story so clearly, but it feels as though I’ve never read the book at all.
It seems the only way to remember is to make a list, which I will keep in a place I’ll always be able to recall. Because I am me, I will instantly forget where I’ve stored this list and have to start all over again. In that time, you’ll have published more novels that I will, somehow, already have read.
I look forward to the day I never finish your expanding collection.
…Over the years I learned that what is true and what is real are sometimes difficult to distinguish and that memory blurs the line even more. –Children of the Wolf