Stargirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 12, 2008
Dear Jerry Spinelli,

I’m not your typical teenage girl. I am homeschooled by my wonderful mom. I have eight siblings who can be irritating at times, though I still love them. I love creating art from reusable items like cans, plastic, and newspapers. I blog. I use photography to ­express myself, and I can’t go a day without reading one of my favorite adventure books.

Not long ago, I was what some people would call a wallflower. I was very self-conscious and would never raise my hand when the teacher asked a question. My list of friends was as blank as a sheet of white paper. And I would have rather eaten raw fish than socialize with others my age. But reading your book Stargirl inspired me to embrace my individuality.

When I first picked up your book, Mr. Spinelli, the title struck me as a bit odd, but as I began reading, I started to comprehend why you chose it. Stargirl gave me a better perspective on how both children and adults resolve situations when coming in contact with new people. I think the reason some people don’t treat others with ­respect is because they don’t respect and love themselves.

I learned this firsthand at a school I attended. My first year there was third grade. The student body was 99.9 percent Christian, and I stood out because I wore a headscarf like many Muslim females do in public. In a school where all the other girls wore their hair uncovered, I was somewhat uncomfortable. My headscarf made me stick out as though someone had written a big red X on my forehead. Everyone would snicker and stare; even the teachers treated me differently. In my opinion, people like that shouldn’t be allowed to work with children.

Almost every day I faced verbal abuse from peers. Some would say “You’re ugly” or “You smell” or “Boys will never like you.” The list of insults went on and on.

It was very degrading to my self-esteem, which reminds me of what Stargirl had to deal with. Nevertheless, she rebelled against the negativity of others by remaining herself, ­serenading her peers on their ­birthdays, and giving out candy and notes on special occasions. That is something I would have liked to do, but I wasn’t bold enough at the time.

Stargirl and I are alike in other ways too. We both have beautiful spirits, we’re creative, smart, and have the same perspective on the world. Cool, huh? Sometimes I imagine if Stargirl were to pop out of your book, I’m sure we would be great friends. But thinking about it now, there probably is a girl somewhere out there just like me, looking for a friend like me. And one day I hope we will meet.

In conclusion, before I read your book, Mr. Spinelli, I hadn’t found my path in the world. But reading it helped me understand that every girl, including me, no matter what race or religion, is a Stargirl at heart.

Thank you for writing this inspirational book.

Your biggest fan, R.M.S.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 15 comments. Post your own now!

cookiegirl said...
Aug. 20, 2011 at 2:23 am
Stargirl is so confident in herself even though she's so different. Well written article.
wondering76 said...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm
I am currently reading this book for my English class's litterary circles. It's kind of my book club, really. Anyway, when I read this book, I think about how much I want to be like her and not care, but that just won't happen! I don't know how to break free of my past self and create someone new who is the real me! I love how Stargirl doesn't care that people talk about her. Stargirl doesn't care that she doesn't fit in. She has her own style and she is my heroine for that.
SilverSnowflakes said...
Jul. 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm
I know that girl! she's my best friend... and soon she will have 8 siblings too!
alex_ita said...
May 1, 2010 at 11:53 am
i have read this book a million of times and yet, i still cant get enough of it. He is an awesome author, one of my favorites.
Rayu94 said...
Jan. 14, 2010 at 8:33 pm
That was an amazing book; I picked up her habit of dropping loose change around just so other people can have the unexpected pleasure of picking it up after I read that. I'm glad to hear that Mr. Spinelli has touched others' lives as well.
Cocoaskin This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm
Thanks everyone for your comments! I really appreciate your makes me feel GREAT!
Heide R. said...
Aug. 22, 2009 at 7:35 pm
I've never read that book, but you make it sound really good! I'll try and find it somewhere. Beacause I, too, am home-schooled, have a very large family, and not really any friends at all. So I'll give it a try!! Great writing, by the way.
Inkspired said...
Aug. 22, 2009 at 3:25 pm
I LOVE STARGIRL! This is an inspiring article, and I was definitely inspired to be more outgoing by Stargirl (though I haven't yet). Good for you!!
KDtheGhostwriter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm
Wow! This was impressive! I agree, people don't know how negative teasing can be on someone. Good job conveying this. I am sure you are a very beautiful person - inside and out. If you please, I would love to have your input on my work. Thank you and keep up the good work! (Congrats on getting published, by the way!)
DreamingWriter said...
Apr. 26, 2009 at 5:31 am
I am an autistic girl and I always stick out. I found the Stargirl book amazing and bought another copy for my little sister. She loved it so much that she gave it to her friends. What I like about her is she is so real and true to herself despite how her classmates shun her. I'm in college now and have moved 10 times so I often know how cruel people can be when you stick out- my autism causes a lot of issues socially. I have mostly boy friends, I hardly wear feminine clothes, I didn't dis... (more »)
Entity.Smokes said...
Apr. 18, 2009 at 1:53 am
Rasheeda, I feel like I could have written this myself. I too am home schooled, though not by my mom. I love Stargirl (have you read the sequel, 'Love, Stargirl'?) And I have no friends, really. My mom is my best friend, but I've always longed for a friend who understood me. A friend that could also be like a sister to me. One that would accept me and be there for me through good times and bad. One who wouldn't judge me for my differences. I hope to find that friend. Your article rea... (more »)
shayshaymay said...
Apr. 15, 2009 at 12:12 am
I really understand how you feel Cocoaskin and Uniquely Different!!! I stand out at my school to. Also because i dont swear and the kissing part.
Uniquely Different said...
Apr. 13, 2009 at 7:32 pm
This is fantastic. I also stick out at my school but not because of only religion. I dess differently, i don't wear brand names. I dont swear and believe in not going farther than kissing before marriage. I'm happy to know that there are girls out there who, like me, stay true to themselves. You rock!
Mary K. said...
Apr. 4, 2009 at 2:15 am
This is aamazing and wonderful!!!! I agree 100%, Stargirl is one of my favorites, and is an inspiration. I have a muslim friend at my Catholic school and I admire her for the way she stands up for her beliefs everyday. I wish I had a friend like Stargirl.
Mollie S. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 26, 2009 at 12:52 pm
I really liked this.
Site Feedback