This is the second book I’m sending you (and I do hope you opened my first gift already), so I’ll get right to the point.
First of all, happy Valentine’s day.
Secondly, please find enclosed a copy of The Complete Persepolis, written and drawn by Marjane Satrapi. Perhaps you’ve heard of this book. It’s a graphic novel that is often cited on best-of lists and often used in classrooms to teach students about the importance of diversity in literature.
Persepolis is an autobiographical account of Marjane’s childhood in Tehran in the 1970s, as her family–and her country–struggled to stay afloat among the shifts thrown at them practically overnight after the Islamic Revolution. The second part of Marjane’s story begins when she leaves Iran to continue her education in Europe.
You might notice that I made a point to send you A) two graphic novels; and B) two works by women. I wanted to make sure you are aware that comic books and graphic novels are just as deserving of your time as prose books, as these can pack just as much punch as a “real” book can. And I wanted to make sure you were given ample opportunity to consider the words and stories of women.
Persepolis is a story of a girl, who grows into an adolescent, and then becomes a woman. Such is life. It is both particular and universal. But Persepolis is also the story of a refugee, a young woman who left her family and her entire way of life behind to avoid persecution and seek something more than what she might have been able to have. This book is a testament to the power of words, that it allowed this one woman to share her story with the entire world, and to teach those willing to learn about one family’s story in revolutionary Iran.
I hope you (or someone on your staff) will take the time to open each of the packages you receive this week, to read the letters enclosed in each and perhaps even flip through the books, to better understand what we the people believe is important. Should you find yourself uninterested in reading any of the books or comics that reach you in coming days, please donate them to your favorite charity or a local D.C. library. There are plenty of Americans who will love to have what you so blithely scorn.
Do you want to know how to “make America great”? You do that by considering the viewpoint of anyone else but yourself. And the magic of books is that they allow you to do just that.
Did you send your book yet??