Dear Ruth Minksy Sender,
To most people, books are Fiction or Non-fiction, Fantasy or Realistic, Humorous or
Serious. The “Kayla Hay System” has two categories: Magical, and Un-magical. Some
books stand out. Some are impossible to not read. Some books are magnets, and I’m the
lucky piece of metal drawn to them. The Cage is definitely Magical!
One morning, my English teacher was showing my class some books. “The Cage,” he
explained, “is about the life of a Jewish girl named Riva during WWII. It’s about the
troubles she faced, and sacrifices she made to survive.” Having two book reports to
write, I didn’t know if I had time to read it. A voice in my head said, “Are you kidding?
You have to read this!” I raised my hand, and soon was staring straight at Riva.
I flipped to the first page, and couldn’t stop reading. I read during the two minutes of
free time I had before class got out. I had my nose in the book while walking down the
hallway between classes. I read for as long as I was allowed to at night. After school, I
plopped down on the couch and dove into the book! From the start, this book had me
under a spell!
I often “enter” books while reading. I feel like I’m in the characters world. This book is
one that I “entered.” You made me endure Riva’s pain and sadness. You made me not
only enter the book, but Riva as well.
Piece by piece, bit by bit, things Riva loved were taken away. When the war was over,
she was left with nothing. Riva’s mother was taken away by Nazis; her brother, Liabele,
died of tuberculosis; people destroyed their home. But Riva didn’t lose hope: to keep her
going Riva had her beloved mother’s saying, “As long as there is life, there is hope.”
The Nazis did horrible things to Jewish people, all because Hitler thought they were
inferior. Throughout my years in school, I can somewhat relate. Kids believe they too
are inferior. Students are criticized because they wear glasses; or teased because of their
height or weight. Criticizing peers is ridiculous and not needed. This book gives me
hope that someday, teasing and bullying will disappear…boom, wiped off the face of the
planet. After all, “As long as there is life, there is hope.”
Thank you for writing this story. It’s books like this that make people realize how wrong
racism is. It’s books like this that people remember. Your book teaches the importance
of equality. It’s books like this that change lives. The Cage makes us remember the past
and gives us hope for a better tomorrow. Without books like The Cage, readers like me
would be utterly lost in a world without magic.
Kayla Hay
Stikine Middle School