Letter from Katy Farber

Dear Students,

You fill me with hope. That tiny glimmer in my chest blooms when I hear you speak out. It is a flame that has wavered recently, has gotten smaller, and is in danger of going out altogether at times. And then, there you were. You were born of violence and grief and heartbreak but also inaction and platitudes of the adults around you. Truth is, you have always been there. At the forefront of every social movement, kids have helped lead the way. Kids helped reveal the horrible cruelty and denied dreams of child labor. Teens fought for desegregation in their town parks and pools. Kids helped hold corporations accountable for their actions around the globe. You join in this line of kids fighting for a better world, when most of the world tells you, wait your turn, we know better.

We don’t know better. We have failed you, and it is obvious to me, we need you. You don’t leave your first amendment rights at the school door, you carry them all the time. Use your voice in all the ways you can to tell your story, your truth, and what you need for a safe and happy life. We will amplify you, we will be a bridge for you, we will walk with you.

with gratitude and hope,

Katy Farber, Educator and Author

Letter from Maxine Kaplan

Dear Student Activists

I’m writing this letter to thank you.

Thank you for your passion, your courage, your intelligence, and, above all, for your rigor. So many adults in the room of American public discourse have decided that thinking deeply, specifically, practically, and morally about issues all at the same time is either too hard or or not worth it. But the American experiment relies on organized thought, well and persuasively expressed. I’m so sorry that you have to do this for us, but I thank you for doing it.

I’m also writing this letter to warn you.

Staying rigorous is not easy. Effecting change is not easy. Dealing with trolls, especially those in the White House, is not easy. This will get hard. This will feel not worth it. But we need you to keep going. What’s more, I believe in your ability to do so. You have shown more skill and sophistication in communication than so many who are so much older than you and working for a far less righteous cause. I believe you can and will win. And I promise to have your back in any way that I can.

Yours in great admiration,
Maxine Kaplan, Author

Letter from Cynthia Levinson

Dear Students All,

Your fierce courage and convictions awe me. I am deeply sorry that, since adults are failing you, you have to exhibit these amidst your grief. Please know that we authors support you, will march and demonstrate with you, and will share your vision for a better world.

Cynthia Levinson, Author

Letter from Kathleen Burkinshaw

Dear Parkland Students,
I have written and rewritten this letter many times. I realize that whatever I may write in mere words here cannot begin to touch what you are experiencing nor can take away your pain. Even though I wish that they could. I can only empathize with you, in your loss. Your loss of friends, teachers, coaches, a safe space, that were all taken away in a matter of minutes.

I am in awe of your courage and that you will force the issue of gun control so that such a tragedy won’t happen again at another school. To speak for the ones who no longer can speak. Please continue to do so even though some groups will try to tell you that your words don’t matter. Your words and action do matter!

I know that you have heard “thoughts and prayers” so much, but you all truly are in mine. Please know, you are not alone in this campaign for tougher gun laws.
Most fondly,
Kathleen Burkinshaw
MG Author and Mom

Letter from JoAnn Adinolfi

Dear students and fellow citizens,

I am the mother of teenagers. It is said that we should, as parents, teach our children well, yet the process is reciprocal. They have learned from me and I have learned from them. To be honest, my children have taught me more and have made me a better person, as you students now inspire me and ask me to be a better person, a better adult. I have joined Moms Demand Action and am getting involved in a more direct way to prevent gun violence than before. I feel inspired by your courage to speak truth to power.

I am a writer but I am not in the league of the great Maya Angelou and so I have attached her poem STILL I RISE. This is is what I really want to say!

Godspeed and I am so sorry for what has happened and I apologize for my past inaction.

JoAnn Adinolfi
Mom and Children’s Book Illustrator and Author

Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Letter from Brian Lies

To All Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Students—

Some of you have experienced grief before, but for many of you, this is the entry into an unwanted membership of a terrible club. Sometimes the easiest part is actually at the beginning, after the terrible first shock—the rituals and mutual support can give us strength through the early days. Then at some point, the outside world thinks we’ve “moved on,” that we’ve “found closure.” People worry about upsetting you by asking how you’re doing, and fall silent. And that time after all of the rituals can feel very lonely.

However, you are taking your grief and doing something powerful with it. Your forthright way of speaking out, of demanding change, is breaking the mold of all of the other mass shootings. And I want you to know that, even if you don’t see us, don’t hear us, we hear you. We’re listening. We’re watching. And you have more support here than you can imagine. So, ignore the hatred as much as you can. Remember that fear is often the motivation for hate. Carry on through the days when it feels as though nobody is listening. You’re doing something new, something unprecedented.

We ARE listening.

With Admiration,

Brian Lies, Picture Book Author/Illustrator

Letter from Christina Uss

The Senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, “My country, right or wrong.” In one sense I say so too…My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. – Senator Carl Schurz, 1872

Your courage to stand up and try to change something you know in your hearts to be wrong is truly inspiring to me. I want to offer you my support, my admiration, and a promise that I and my family will stand with you in this fight.

When faced with a fight like this, it’s good to have many places to turn for replenishment of your courage. You’ll be shouted down by those whose beliefs are against yours, those who believe that gun ownership is more important than human life. I don’t understand those people. I imagine it’s hard for you to understand them as well. How do we stand against such reckless and entrenched beliefs?

We STUDY. You and I need to learn more about three things:
1. How successful gun legislation works in other parts of the world (indeed, in every industrialized democracy other than the United States),
2. The path of successful peaceful protests like the America’s civil rights movement and India’s independence movement. Peaceful change has happened before and it’s going to happen again now, and we need a playbook. There are a zillion teachers ready to help us with this. We need to start asking for that help.
3. How human psychology works so we can understand a little bit about the beliefs of others that seem alien and even a bit mad to us. And perhaps find a way to influence them.

We TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES. When discouragement falls hard on your shoulders, you meet with friends, you ask for help, you breathe and dance and sing and write and read and cook and do whatever it is that renews your faith in life, peace, and the power of your voice.


Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. – Winston Churchill, 1941

Christina Uss, Author

Letter from Jean Reidy

Dear Courageous Students,

I remember a world when schools were sanctuaries. When doors were unlocked. When there were no metal detectors or security cameras. When there certainly were no active shooter drills. When the world was welcomed into schools because no one could imagine harm on its heels. After all, schools were for nurturing, embracing, teaching and learning. Schools were free of guns.

But then came the heartbreak and horror of Columbine and its aftermath, when they locked the doors at my kids’ grade school and high school and the rugby coach became the security guard. I hated that it was happening while wondering if it was enough.

Then came Aurora and its aftermath, when we avoided movie theaters for months. And when we finally returned and the doors were closed and the lights were lowered, and my daughter broke down in fear, I wondered how it would end. If it would end.

I remember hearing that first news report of Sandy Hook and my shock at the sheer number and ages of those tiny victims. And I remember President Obama desperately trying to enact gun control legislation, with the faces of those Sandy Hook angels fresh on our minds. And his plea fell on deaf ears.

I remember Las Vegas and the horrifying videos of the helplessly, trapped concert goers. I remember Chuckie Cheese and Virginia Tech and Charleston and Sutherland Springs and the many, many more – too many more – mass shootings before and after and in between. I hate that I have to list them, as if each event doesn’t deserve its own deep reflection. Because it does. They all do.

And now, tragically, you are on that list.

Gun violence has been woven into the fabric of our lives. It’s part of our stories. And it’s robbed you of innocence. Innocence you long for. Innocence you need. Innocence you deserve. Just the thought of an active shooter drill sounds like a scene from a dystopian novel. I didn’t grow up in a dystopian society. You shouldn’t have to. And yet you are.

I’m ashamed. We’ve failed you. We enjoyed our safe school past and have left you a terrifying legacy. You should not have to protect yourselves. That was our job. Because no matter how powerful the NRA might be, we had the ability to muster more power. To fight harder.

So now, inspired by your courage, I not only stand with you and support you, I’m joining you in action. And I’m sorry I’m so late to this fight. I’m pledging today to write letters. To make phone calls. To vote. To march. Always in favor of gun control. Because I hear you here in Colorado. And I’ll spread the word to make your voices heard from shore to shore of our great nation. Because we need more than background checks and age restrictions. We need a ban on assault rifles. Second Amendment be damned!

And while you’ve probably received enough “thoughts and prayers” to fill a thousand morgues, I will also pray. Because that’s just something I do.

Finally, if you’re wondering why it matters that a group of children’s and young adult authors are standing in solidarity with you, please believe this. We have made it our job to do all that we can to honor your perspective. To honor your stories. To honor your lives. Because you fill the world with hope. And because we love you.

Thank you for your courage!

With love and admiration,


Letter from Stephanie Olivieri

Dear Parkland Students,
I hardly know what to say to you because you are stronger than I will ever be. You are braver than I ever have been. I am so deeply sad about what happened at your school, but I am in awe of your resilience, strength, and courage.
I believe in you. You are our future so for that I say thank you for standing up for what is right.

In the 4th Harry Potter book, Dumbledore says to Harry, ~~~~~ “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” ~~~~ I always loved this quote. J.K. Rowling nailed it.

Thank you so much for everything you are doing. Please also remember that it’s okay if you have moments of anger and sadness and take care of yourselves. We need you.

With much admiration,

Author & Illustrator

Letter from Tamara Ellis Smith

Dearest Students,

You are the hope of the world. Your questions, your curiosity, your empathy, and your convictions are hope on fire—burning bright and spreading light.

What I want you to know most, what I want you to hold onto tightly, is that your voices are the authentic ones now. Adults are supposed to be the authorities, right? We are supposed to be the moral compasses, the wisdom that comes with age—but we’re not right now. YOU ARE. You’ve been in it. Most of us haven’t. You’ve been in it and through it to the other side, and because of that your ideas and your feelings matter deeply. I’m going to say it again. You are authenticity.

And so I defer to you all. I will stand by your sides as you speak and act your truths. I will help as much as I can from that place. And here’s one other thing I will do. If you begin to lose faith in yourselves, if other people wear you down with their judgment of you or their power games, know that I will hold your faith for you. I will stand at your side, holding your faith, holding your hands, until you want it back again. You’ve got this.

With respect and gratitude,

Letter from Charlotte Agell

Dear Young People,

I write for young people. I work with young people. You ask the best questions. You demand answers. You know how to NOT be complacent.
As a public school teacher, I have only recently started wondering how many kids I could actually fit under my desk if we had an active shooter in the building and this shocks me. It horrifies me that some of you have had to endure the unthinkable.
The United States is suffering from a mad illness. Thank you for speaking out. We can counter the fear with love and with our voices and with VOTING. The NRA will never arm this teacher. More guns are not the answer.
Now is the time for us to (finally!) figure this out. Many countries have enacted effective laws: Australia, Scotland. American exceptionalism should not mean a well armed “militia.” I consider YOU our best defense: your passion, your voices, your LIVES.
Stay bold. Do not back down. It’s time to stand up together. Thank you for insisting on being heard.

Onward, with LOVE.

Charlotte Agell, Author/Illustrator/Teacher/Mom


Letter from Liz Garton Scanlon

Dear friends,

What I remember about being a kid — being a teen — is that grown ups looked down on us. Our voices, our ideas, our passions — they didn’t appear to be worthy in the world. What I want you to know now is that we are looking UP at you. Your voices, ideas and passions are what we need to make room for, to receive, and to act upon.

Kate DiCamillo, in the Magician’s Elephant, asks, “How will the world change if we do not question it?” Thank you for questioning. May our grown up answers be righteous. May they be what you deserve.

With love, respect and admiration,

Liz Garton Scanlon, Author

P.S. She also says, “Hope is like love…a ridiculous, wonderful, powerful thing.” I can feel it. I hope you can, too.

Letter from Megan Down Lambert

February 22, 2018

Dear Parkland Students,

I am a mother of seven children ages four-months-old to twenty-years-old, and over the years our family has had many difficult conversations about mass shootings and schools’ lockdown procedures. Our latest talks have included stories we’ve heard about you and your teachers and families. We are so sorry for the losses you’ve suffered, the trauma you now bear, and for the gross unfairness of the fact that adults have failed to make schools safe for you. We are holding you in our broken hearts.

The work you’re doing to push our government to enact and enforce gun control laws to prevent future mass shootings is necessary, powerful, and very difficult. My family and I are inspired by the strength you’ve displayed, the courage you’ve mustered, and the determination you’ve shown in the face of violence, disdain, and outright lies. We hope each of you has many people looking out for you and your day-to-day wellbeing, and we encourage you to draw strength from the young people who came before you in struggles to defend what Mr. Biegel’s mother reminded everyone at the CNN town meeting are “the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

I told my school-aged kids that we will support their participation in acts of solidarity with you, and I asked them to think about other young people in whose footsteps you are walking as you “call bs” and use your righteous anger like rocket fuel. We talked about the Children’s March in Birmingham in 1963, the bravery of Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, and other young people who challenged legal segregation, and the tenacity of the young people leading the Black Lives Matter movement today, among others. May you find comfort and inspiration from their examples, knowing that you are not alone today in your struggle to create change, and that a long history of youth activism is with you, too.

We wish you peace, we wish you wholeness, we wish you empowerment and triumph. We are with you.


Megan Dowd Lambert, author, teacher, mother

Letter from Kristen Pettit

Dear Parkland Students,
I’m sorry. For five years I have been trying to get the job done for you. I became a gun sense activist after the massacre in Sandy Hook and for five years I participated in phone banks, met with legislators, spoke in front of government buildings . . . it wasn’t enough to keep you safe. I want you to know I tried. I want you to know.

Dear Parkland Students, thank you–for giving a voice to this tragedy. For brandishing the truth like a sword and riding into battle against opponents no less formidable than the most powerful politicians and special interests on the planet. Your fire reignites my own. It inspires–because you’re right: there is nothing more precious than YOU. Nothing more important to our collective futures.

Dear Parkland students, I am beside you. I am behind you. Let’s fight together till the job is finally done.

Kristen Pettit, Executive Editor

Letter from Lori Snyder

Dear Parkland kids, and all others of your fabulous generation,

Man, you are amazing.


Thank you for your courage, your clear vision, your conviction, and your willingness to not only say that this isn’t okay but to then act on that knowing. Thank you for taking your righteous anger and using it as positive fuel. You remind me to hope, as your generation has over and over. You and all the kids and young adults like you are the reason that I can’t despair, because you are the spectacular future.

Never doubt your gut feeling that something is wrong.

Never doubt your ability to fix it.

There are some people who will try to tell you that you are crazy, you are entitled, you are too young, you don’t know enough, you can’t possibly understand. They will talk to you as though you are stupid. They will say things that might cut to the core. They will tell you it’s a waste of time and nothing will change, anyway. They will tell you that there’s really nothing you can do.

They are wrong, wrong, wrong.

They will try to convince you that one person can never make a difference, and that certainly YOU can’t.

Um…hello, Gandhi.

Hello, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hello, Rosa Parks.

Hello, César Chavez.

Hello, countless others who have changed their neighborhood, their city, their country, their world.

Know that we have your back.

We stand with you.

(And by the way, so do most of the people in this country. And in the world. Even though it sometimes doesn’t seem like it, there are more of us who care about peace, love, kindness, intelligent debate, and empathy than there are who care about money and power. Never forget that. We are all rising up, and we are with you.)

With huge love & respect,
Lori Snyder, Author and Teacher

Letter from Phyllis Root

Dear Students,

My heart hurts for your great sorrows and losses.
You are the light in this darkest of times..
You are changing the world.
Thank you for your courage.
Thank you for your words.
Thank you for standing up.
Thank you for your strong brave hearts, making us stronger together.
I hear you and stand with you.

Phyllis Root, Writer, Teacher, Mother

Letter from Angie Smibert

Dear Brave Hearts,

Nearly eleven years ago, 32 people, most not older than you, were gunned down in my hometown, Blacksburg, Virginia, on the campus of my alma mater, Virginia Tech. Your school sent mine a lovely wooden book filled with letters and artwork from across Florida. Your compassion helped Blacksburg and the Hokie Nation heal.

It breaks my heart that the same violence has come to your school—and that nothing has changed in those years. Those 32 deaths weren’t enough to change lawmakers’ minds. Nor were the deaths in Sandy Hook, the Pulse, Las Vegas, or of the other shootings since 2007.

However, now, I see hope in you. Your anger. Your passion. Your bravery. I hope these will fuel the change needed to bring this country to its senses.

As a Hokie, a YA/MG author, and a human being, I fully support your right to roar enough and #Neveragain! I will lend my voice and action wherever I can.

So keep speaking truth to power. Keep shaming the politicians who would hide behind platitudes and lies. Keep reminding us that you are the future and we’d better value it. This is the time to talk about guns. This is the time to turn your anger into positive action.


Angie Smibert, Author

Letter from Debbi Michiko Florence

Dear Students,

Thank you for your courage and for raising your voices. I’m sorry so much unnecessary tragedy had to happen, but thank you for standing up to try and prevent these tragedies from occurring again, and again, and again. It should have never even happened once. Your voices together for gun control matters. Your lives matter. YOU matter!

I hear you, I see you, I stand with you. Stay loud, stay proud! And thank you for helping to make a difference.

With Gratitude and Respect and Admiration,
Debbi Michiko Florence, Author

Letter from Jeanne Dutton

Dear Parkland Students,

I appreciate your remarkable courage. I am grateful to you for telling your story in the face of great adversity and relieved that your voices are strong enough that they are making a difference. I feel sure that your thoughtful, considered, desire to check gun culture will prevail in the long run. You have friends all over the world now, and though I know they can’t fully replace the ones you have lost, know that your heroism and fierceness will mend us.

Jeanne Dutton, YA author, College Professor

Letter from Melissa Ostrom

Dear Students,

A big slice of the American Dream is education. This country promises that if you do your homework, study hard, listen closely, get up for school, attend school faithfully, and finish school, you’ll find happiness and success. But until this country addresses gun violence and our lawmakers pass legislation that protects children’s lives, the USA is dishing up a poisoned dream, if not an outright lie. YOU are calling out that lie. YOU are demanding action. YOU are showing us how there can’t be a dream for a hopeful future when this violent nightmare keeps happening.

I marvel at your strength—at your ability to demonstrate so much articulate courage in your time of tragedy and mourning.

And I stand with you and support you—through my writing, by donating to your cause, and by voting wisely.

As a teacher, as a mother of a seven-year-old and a nine-year-old, as a citizen of this country, and as a writer for young adults, I thank you. From now on, when people ask me why I decided to write for teens, YOU will be my answer, first and foremost. Because you represent change, action, hope, and possibility. Because you are awesome.

In admiration and solidarity,
Melissa Ostrom, Mom, Author, Teacher

Letter from Shae Carys

Dear Students of Parkland and Beyond,

Nineteen years ago, a moment changed the landscape of this country forever. I wasn’t in the halls of Columbine, but several states away, watching on my screen as the horror of that April 20th, 1999 unfolded. Though I didn’t know it, the culture was changing – the culture that would be present through my entire adult life to this day.

I wish that I had been an activist. I did speak up against how the blame was placed on outcasts, on kids who dressed in black (I was one of them, asked many times if I planned on hurting anyone after Columbine occurred), and not our outrageous gun culture, almost akin to worship. I couldn’t call myself an activist, though. After all, I had college to think about. My future. It was all so easy to forget because it hadn’t happened to me or anyone I loved. The threat wasn’t as prevalent as it is now.

By the time that Michael Moore released “Bowling for Columbine,” the shooting seemed to be a footnote in history. A tragedy, but past.

But then, another took place. Another. Another. We mourned each and every one as a nation, but…we failed you. You’re right to call us out – I was, like many of you, becoming an adult when this culture of complicity began. I should have done more. I could have done more.

Now, there’s you. You’re brave enough, a WEEK after the horrible event at your school happened, to pick up what we have dropped, to say that enough is truly enough when we should have said so nearly twenty years ago with *one* tragedy. Your screams of anger and betrayal and heartache are heard loud and clear when you call BS on policy and you demand change, because you should. You deserve it. You deserved it before last week, and I’m sorry that we, as a nation, have failed you and so many others. I am ashamed of my country for what we have /not/ done.

In my state, they just passed a bill loosening gun restrictions. I know what just happened in your state. It’s maddening, but if enough people fight, maybe we can win this. After all, isn’t that what we tell you in our stories?

It’s about time we all joined you, through the heartache and the BS, to say #NeverAgain.

You are wonderful. You are brave. You are amazing. You are strong. We should all aspire to be like you.

Shae Carys, Author and Former Teacher

Letter from Kim Turrisi

Dear Students:

I stand with you and next to you.
Your bravery and light outshine the darkness. I am in awe of all that you are doing after such a horrific act at your school. You inspire all of us to do better, to fight harder…for all of you. You are our future and that gives me hope. Your unwillingness to accept all the rhetoric from our leaders that are just empty words make me so proud. The way you have embraced the fact that prayers and apologies are no longer enough to stop the murdering of your peers is inspiring.
You have done what no one else has, take on the bureaucratic nonsense in Florida and the United States.
Never give up.
Never lose your spirit.
No child should ever feel unsafe at school let alone hear the sounds of gunfire from the floor of a classroom. I cannot imagine all that you have been through but the way you have taken this awful situation to use your voices to save others is commendable.
You are staring into the eye of the storm and attacking it with a vengeance, no let up.
Stick to your ideals. Use your wonderful voices to go out and change the world.
I am with you.
I believe in you.
You are the future.

Kim Turrisi, Young Adult Author

Letter from Anne Broyles

Dear Leaders and Inspirers,

Thank you for your courage, articulate message, and willingness to jump into the fray and take action. Many of us who are adults have worked on the issue for gun violence for many years and sometimes, it has felt like beating our heads against a wall of indifference.

When Columbine happened, it felt like an aberration. Surely such a school shooting could not happen again. Not like that. But, as you know from growing up in the United States, gun violence has increased to a level where it seems some people are inured to its commonplace occurrence. When elementary children were murdered at Newtown, I thought, “This is it. Laws will change now, for surely our nation cannot bear the loss of more innocent lives.” And yet, in many places (and surely in the national discussion on gun control) little has changed.

Emma, David, Kelsey, Lorenzo, Daniel, Florence, Spencer, and all of you who are making your voices heard, you are inspiring youth and adults around the nation. You are taking a horrific experience and transforming it into the national discussion. You are heroes who are honoring your deceased classmates in the best possible way. I sense energy around this issue that I have not seen or felt before from people who until now have remained complacent with the status quo.

I hear you.
I honor your work.
I am with you and recommit myself to action to change laws.


Anne Broyles, Author of Books for Children and Young Adults

Letter from Dashka Slater

Dear Courageous Students,

Hey there. It’s me, your stalker. Seriously. I follow you on Twitter. I read articles about you when I should be writing. I’ve watched clips of you speaking more times than is strictly necessary I’m completely, ridiculously, besotted with each and every one of you and here’s why. You are doing what so many of us have wanted to do – take the wretched, dispiriting, awful things that are happening in our country and use them as white-hot fuel for making things better. That you are working so hard through tears, grief, trauma and fear is inspiring. That you believe change is possible reminds me to believe it as well.

I was an activist in high school as well, but I was alone – a mouthy and rebellious book-nerd with a few like-minded friends. One thing that impresses me is that you are working so well together, that you share both the limelight and the work, that you are inspiring legions of young people to join you, that you’ve created a big enough tent that people can respond to the call from wherever they are, physically, politically, emotionally. This is how you build a movement — with other people. You’re doing that.

I wrote a book about a real life crime involving teenagers recently, and gun violence plays a big part in it. Not the mass shooting violence you’ve experienced but the slow-motion massacres that happen in places like Oakland, California, where I live, and in other cities across the nation. Chicago. Baltimore. Detroit. Wilmington, Delaware. Fort Myers, Florida. Savannah, Georgia. In 2013, the year my book takes place, seven people under 18 were killed by guns in my hometown of Oakland. The youngest was sixteen months old. There’s a memorial to kids felled by violence in the middle of town, with a marble slab on which names can be added as each year passes. One thing I learned from writing this book is something you know already firsthand – each name on that list represents dozens of lives irrevocably impacted, long sorrowful chains of grief and trauma. We have to stop it.

I’m here to help. I’ll be marching on March 24. Registering voters from here to November. And watching you on Twitter when I should be writing.




Letter from Kip Wilson

Dear students,

You are
an inspiration,
you are
our hope,
you are
the future.

I’m so sorry
your lives
have been forever changed
by that gun, those bullets,
so sorry
you must try
to survive in this
culture of terror and fear,
so sorry
no one insisted

Until now.

Thank you
for your
bravery, your
eloquence, your
in refusing
to stand by and watch
this happen.

No more.
Never again.

Kip Wilson, Author

Letter from Carrie Jones

You teach us.

You teach us
That that singing blind praise to politicians
Even on ordinary days
Leads to days of chaos, death
And mourning.

You teach us that angels exist in hallways and classrooms
And podiums and behind microphones
And holding doors and speaking truths.

You make us remember to gasp out the wrongs of this world.
You make us remember to say there should be no such thing as ‘being silent’

With our voices
With our votes
With our hearts

When lives are at stake.

Lives were at stake.
Lives are still

You teach us
You teach us so much.
And you shouldn’t have to.

We shouldn’t have to be told what the right thing to do is.
We shouldn’t have to be told
By you
By anyone
That lives count
That kids count
That truths count.

You are stories unfurling into this world.
You are stories that slap us into sense.
You are stories of souls that defy trolls to shout truths
And you count.

You matter more than five-star hotel rooms,
And lobbyists, and greed. You matter
More than mistakes and bad voting records.

You count.

Thank you for making us
remember, for telling
us, for teaching us.
I am so sorry that you have to.


Carrie Jones, Author

Letter from Ann Manheimer

Dear MSD Students,

It feels like a long time since this country has had such reason to hope. You are giving that to us. I grieve for your friends and colleagues and for what you’ve suffered, and yet I’m heartened by your strong, brave, and intelligent response. At the same time, I am so, so very sorry you’ve had this burden forced on you by years of national inaction.

Just a few weeks ago, I was teaching my third-grade English Language Learner students about Marjory Stoneman Douglas, an extraordinary, brave woman and who made a huge difference in your state. She would be very proud of you.

When I was in college, I gave up on heroes. Looking around me, I saw that they were all flawed and that change was not happening fast enough. I’ve come full circle since then. My transformation began when I had the honor to write about Martin Luther King, Jr. who, flawed as he was, lived a life of courage and devotion. Since then, I’ve come to learn about and appreciate many other heroes with the integrity to stand for goodness and decency. Now you are among them. Thank you, from deep in my heart.

Here is my pledge – I will support you in any way I can. With my votes, with my words, with my actions. I will march alongside you, I will write in support of you. I have and will donate to your cause. I will do all I can to change our country’s conversation and politics towards honest discourse and social justice for all.

For years, it’s seemed the promises of my generation completely failed. But in you and in your families, I see them blooming again. Please stay strong and know you are not alone.

Ann Manheimer, Author and Teacher

Letter from Josie Kirchner

I want to take a moment to let you know that I support you in raising your voice to influence a change in government response. I cannot begin to imagine what it was like to have to endure the horrific reality of having an active shooter on your school campus and bear witness to the loss of classmates, friends, and teachers. In times of great turmoil opportunities emerge; and your drive to speak up and speak out is exactly how change is brought about.

Your voice is important. Your voice is needed. Your story is your own and your truth must be heard. I applauded you for striking while the iron is hot and not allowing this tragedy to be quickly acknowledge and moved on from. If you believe change is needed, please keep the momentum you feel now in your heart and let it propel you to continue in sharing until change occurs. It isn’t easy to get in front of law makers and bear your heart and advocate for what you feel is right. You will encounter those who are not convinced of your cause—let that drive you to stand firm in your conviction and be relentless in your mission. I have witnessed firsthand how the youth voice has influenced our legislators and impacted change across our state. Know that it can be done and that you have an entire network of support behind you, rooting for you.

You are the voice of tomorrow, you are the voice of now.

Keep calling out BS,

Josie Kirchner, Mother, Mentor, Human

Letter from Kimberly Sabatini

Dear Brave Ones-

The moment you stood up, after being gunned down, will always be what I remember the most about what transpired at your school. I will never forget those who died, but thankfully, it isn’t just the tragedy that will stick with me. I will also be permanently marked by the courage of the survivors-by YOU–because you stood back up. The day you decided NEVER AGAIN, a spark of real hope flickered within me. I believe you. And the hope you ignited in me is precious. I promise, I will tend that spark.

I will work to be as brave as you are. I will try to risk more and fear less. And if it feels like I’m failing–I’ll keep trying to do what needs to be done anyway. That is what courage is. I see that in you.

I will stand with you. I will speak truth to power on your behalf–for all of us. I will not let anyone slander you for their personal gain. I will have your back, so you can remain upright as the winds of change blow. If we stand together, it will be harder for others to knock us down.

I will use my voice as a writer to foster love and inclusivity. I will not preach to you. I will not lecture you. I will learn from you. I will share my thoughts and questions and hope the person I am, resonates with the person you are. And if I do have things to offer, wisdom to share, I hope you find them when you need them the most.

I will use my knowledge and experience as a former special education teacher to keep other kids from falling through the cracks. I will be attending training to be a parent advocate in my school district to help support children in need and their families. I will attempt to be a part of the bigger solution, not just the fight for necessary gun control.

I will raise my children to understand their power and how to use it to make the world a better place. And how not to abuse it. I will not be perfect and neither will they–no one is. But I will try. I will try.

I am heart wrenchingly sorry for your loss, your fear, your pain. We failed you and I apologize for that. But you are putting your foot down. You are speaking up. You are demanding more. And you are taking a horrific moment and making it a movement. Because of your courage, the rest of us, the best of us, will follow you.

Never Again-

Kimberly Sabatini, Author

Letter from Kari Anne Holt

Dear students everywhere,

Your anger gives me hope.

Your readiness to burn it all down; your fiery rage that these tragedies are allowed to happen over and over over again; your quivering, livid faces as you call out the gutless lawmakers that pride money over lives… your fury is my breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Maybe I shouldn’t fan the flames, and maybe I shouldn’t embrace the red hot emotions we’re all feeling right now. Maybe I should encourage you to be diplomatic as you drink hot coffee around large tables, grateful to be invited to the discussion. But also? If you want to fling that cup of coffee into the face of anyone who has chosen cash over your friends’ lives, I wouldn’t scold you. If you want to scream until your voices create the tornado that tears down the status quo sky we’ve all been living under, I won’t cower.

Your anger feeds us.
Your anger fuels us.
Your anger unifies us.

When you take your seat at the shiny tables, when you sip the coffee in front of you, when your visitor’s badge reflects the fluorescent lighting of the room, when the old men and the well-coiffed men and less-well-coiffed men and the seemingly compassionate women sip their coffee alongside you and smile their wolfish smiles as they attempt to placate you with their sorrow and their excuses…

Maintain your rage. Share your sorrow. Keep demanding action. And if they offer only simpering words and patronizing burbles? I know your anger will propel you forward.

You know what happens after fire and fury burns it all down?
A phoenix rises from the ashes.
A new day is born.

This is what you will accomplish.
This is what gives me hope.

You’re already making a difference.
The flames can be seen for miles.

Yours in solidarity,

Kari Anne Holt
author, poet, mother, voter

Letter from Lisa Jahn-Clough

Dear Young People,

I have been a writer most of my life, since I was seven or eight and wrote stories and sent them off to newspapers and magazines. I am fifty years old now and I still write and publish books for young people, as well as teach at a small university.
I do this because I believe in the power of your voices.
Because YOU are the present and the future.
Because YOU are wise and strong and I want you to be able to grow and speak and be heard.
Because YOU matter, far more than I do right now.
Because I believe in YOU!
And there is power in your words and in your actions.
I do not have children of my own–you, my readers are all my children. You are all of us. I want you to know I VOTE and I will never vote for a candidate who refuses to act against gun violence or who does not support education and health care and the preservation of our world through our youth.
You matter! So MUCH!

Lisa Jahn-Clough
(author and illustrator)

Letter from Linda Oatman High

Dear Students:

None of us could have dreamed that Valentine’s Day 2018 would change all of you in ways that most of cannot even begin to imagine. On that afternoon of February 14th, every one of you were drafted into a war for which you did not sign up. You became warriors, fighting for your lives and for those of your friends. Some of you died. Some of you lived. The ones who are still living lives are the ones who are now fighting, using your breath to speak out. Lots of us are standing behind you with pride, support, and love. I am in awe of your bravery. I am in awe of your courageous spirits. I am in awe of your energy and resiliency and determination. I am in awe of your hearts. You are the kind of heroes we writers like to create. But you, students, are the REAL heroes. Every single one of you: those who are raising their voices and those who lie still in hospital beds. Those too stunned to speak; those grieving. We are watching. We see you; we hear you. We are with you, dear Student Warriors, and we are proud. Much love and many prayers for a better world ahead . . .

Linda Oatman High, Author

Letter from Janet Fox

Oh, Brave Ones,

When I see your faces, I am so proud. When I hear your voices, I am so moved. I see you, I hear you, and we – all – believe in you.

By terrible chance, this path has chosen you and it will not be smooth. Some will disparage you and some will mock you. Some will seek to bring you down. Please know that you have all of us behind you and though we can’t stop the arrows we will gladly take them in your place.

You are the Mockingjay. You are Starr. You are Martin, and you are bringing Martin’s dream. We will follow you.

You are the future and the past will fade in the brilliance of your light.

Janet Fox, Author and Former Teacher

Letter from Josephine Cameron

Dear Students,

I’ve been staring at this page trying to figure out what to say to you (at a moment like this, even writers are at a loss for words). There are really only two words. Thank you.

Thank you for standing up in your moment of grief.

Thank you for stepping up where adults have let you down.

Thank you for pushing through sadness and anger and fear to tell us how you feel.

Thank you for demanding change. And for not losing hope. Even when the lack of progress is devastating, please know that we hear you. Your words are making a difference. Your actions are making a difference. Please know that we support you. We will march with you and fight with you. There will be setbacks, but we won’t give up. This is how change happens. You are making it happen.

Thank you for being strong. Thank you for leading us to a new future.

I am so grateful,
Josephine Cameron, Author

Letter from Jody Feldman

My thoughts drift to a time
—not fictional, not quixotic, but a real time—
I pray,
when your unimaginable tragedies
and your resulting courageous actions
lead us into a world where
decisions are based on need, not greed;
where right makes might,
and not the other way around.
You will have lead us there.
You, with your strength and your wisdom
that belie your years.
We are listening.
We are behind you.
We stand with you.
Thank you,
a million times,
thank you.

Jody Feldman, author

Letter from Victoria Jafari

Dear students,

I cannot possibly describe, much less honor the strength and courage you’ve displayed in the face of such cruel injustice. I am heartbroken when I think of what you’ve endured, of what you’re enduring still. I am humbled when I see the way you’ve chosen to respond to it. But through it all, I am not surprised.

I’ve always known, deep in my heart, that young people are the trailblazers of each generation. History has proven it time and again—and today, you are the living embodiment of this truth.

That does not mean, however, that the rest of us—adults—get to sit back idly as you do so. If you are the arrowhead, then we must be the shaft and the fletching. As you fly into battle, we must be with you—behind you—every step of the way. Lending you strength, carrying your voices, protecting you from those who would stop you from achieving your goals.

Because I know—and in your wisdom, you know this, too—that the path ahead will not be easy. If it were, it would not take courage such as yours to walk it.

Please know that I will do everything in my power to support you as you rise to meet this formidable challenge.

You have my sword.

Victoria Jafari,

Mother, Teacher, and Writer of Children’s books

Letter from Sayantani DasGupta

Dear Students,

When I hear you speak,
your voices so strong and yes so clear
I think,
These are the heroes we do not deserve
but need.
These are our ambassadors from another place,
these are our truth tellers with
no time for platitudes
no tolerance for payoffs
I mean, DUH.
No excuses and most of all
no BS

When I see you standing so straight
beside one another
mourning, researching, crying,
speaking truth to power,
I think
These are time travelers from the future
here to guide us to safety
even as
our society stands on the edge
of a precipice
jumping eagerly like lemmings
into the darkness.

We the people in order to form
We the people
A perfect union
We the adults
We your country
We have not been careful
with you
Our most precious natural resource
When we should be holding you
even now
especially now
gently, high
above our heads.
Fistfuls of light
beacons to guide our way.

Dear students

If I could give you all my words, I would say
take them.
I do not know what to do with them like you do.
Take them and shoot them at the false sky
like arrows.
Make it rain down justice
like a mighty stream.
In Eastern traditions, the master knows
the greatest teaching
comes from sitting at the feet of students
and I would tell you
we are sitting at your feet
we do not have time
for pretty metaphors now.

So I will tell you
we are standing
rising up
with you
behind you
beside you.
Our hearts full of your faces,
our hearts full of your words
our hearts full of your truth.
And we say
We are with you
We are proud of you
We are listening.

— Sayantani DasGupta, author and mother

Letter from Jodi Gorman

Dear Parkland Students,

Thank you for loving our country and caring about our future. In the midst of horrific tragedy you stand strong for what is good and right. You inspire the world to never give up. I’m so proud and frankly relieved that you are the future of America. The climate of our country has been spiraling downward fast in this current time and you are turning us around!! Rise above the evils that try to stop you and continue your important work. I wish I could hug every single one of you! (Everyone I know here in Charlotte, NC feels the same)


Jodi Gorman

Letter from Jo Knowles

Dear Brave and Determined Students,

Thank you for standing up for what you believe in and not backing down, even as the dark shadow of the gun industry machine and its followers rise up to intimidate you. It takes a lot of guts to stand up against a powerful force. Maybe that’s why so many of us have failed so far. But you’ve seen that when you all come together, you are a powerful force, too. You are the light, the hope, and the energy this country needs to face down the lawmakers and the gun industry that controls them. Yesterday’s vote was disappointing, but there will be more. You have challenged those who have taken money from the NRA with the promise to keep this debate from reaching the floor–without a care, it seems, for the deaths sure to follow, even of young children. Yesterday’s vote exposed each one of those lawmakers. You did that! Best of all, you are inspiring all of us to try again, no matter the odds. You are giving us hope. It’s not enough to tweet our disapproval, or to post angry Facebook memes. We need to stand up, speak out, and MARCH. Dumbledore said, “Perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.” (Rowling). It isn’t fair to put this great responsibility on your shoulders. But I can see that you wear it willingly–proudly and fiercely. Dear students, I hear you. I support you. And I will follow your charge.



Letter from Andrew Durkin

Dear Students:

The backlash is forming, but I hope you know it is nothing. It will fight you with all its weapons–its vast audience, its impossible piles of money, its single-minded instinct for self-preservation–but it is nothing. NRA, GOP, FOX–a triumvirate alphabet soup of hate and ignorance and Moloch-worship. But it is nothing, and you will win.

You will win, because you have already figured out the solution, despite adults who either haven’t correctly understood the problem, or don’t care. The rest of us have your backs–but that means you’re out in front now. As a parent, I wish it didn’t have to be that way. As an American, I feel more pride tonight than I have in a long, long time.

Never forget: your youth is your wisdom and your wisdom is your power.

My deepest gratitude and respect,
Andrew Durkin, Author/Composer

Letter from Vicky Lorencen

Dear Powerful Students,

This letter was pretty long originally, but the more I wrote, the more I recognized I am in no position to give you any advice or words of wisdom. You have been through a horror I can only imagine.

So, all I want to say is, you can count on me and a lot of people like me (and I mean A LOT) to stand with you and to push to give you the safer country you deserve.

Please be kind to yourselves. Better days are ahead. Honest.

We will get there together.

Vicky Lorencen
Children’s Writer

Letter from Diane Magras

Dear Students of America,

We children’s authors regularly write about kids like you saving our fictional worlds. We write about that for a reason: We know that kids are powerful. And you’re proving this in real life.

You, students of America who are standing up to protest gun violence, are powerful. You’re the heroes of the story going on right now, today, in this country, in your community. You know what it’s like to be afraid, and to be angry. You shouldn’t have to feel those emotions. But you know how to respond to them.

Like our fictional heroes, you’ll have conflicts. There will be ignorant bullies who mock you for your youth, who will tell you that you are no more than your parents’ children, that you need to be quiet and listen.

Those are the characters we cast as villains. And in our books, you always defeat them because they’re never as wise or clever or noble as you.

It’s very similar to what’s going on right now in this, your story.

Know that we believe in you, and are proud of you, and are grateful to you for speaking up, standing up, being angry—and being powerful.

By the way, you’re making history.

With love and respect,

Diane Magras
Children’s Author

Letter from Erin Callahan

Dear Students of Parkland and Beyond,

You are amazing. I’m not just saying that to placate you or because it’s the thing I should be saying. I’m saying it because I feel it my blood and guts. Want to know why? Let me tell you a story.

I was seventeen when the shooting at Columbine High School happened in 1999. I honestly don’t remember much about that day, but I do remember sitting in the gym the following Monday with every other student at my small school, fidgeting while some adults talked at us. One or two teachers grumbled about MTV and violent video games. I think maybe a few students got up to say something heartfelt and the vast majority of the student body rolled their eyes at them. “They’re trying too hard,” we said with a collective eye roll. “Why bother?” As far as I know, there were no rallies or walkouts in the weeks that followed, at least not in my town. My fellow students and I looked to the adults to do something, even though we were pretty sure they’d do squat.

It was the late-nineties, and this is how almost every teenager I knew responded to any sort of tragedy. I’m sure there were exceptions, but most of us just shook our heads and shrugged. “The world’s a messed up place,” we said. “What can you do?”

The level of snide apathy and resignation displayed by my generation infuriates me even more now than it did when I was seventeen. We failed you, and I’m sorry. But our failure serves as a counterpoint to your brazen courage, organized activism, and all-around badassery. You are not waiting around for the adults to do something. You know what a waste of time that is. So you’re taking matters into your own hands. You are leading the way.

If anyone tries to tell you that you’re trying to hard, or that your efforts are misguided, stare them down and know they are wrong.


Erin Callahan, Author

Letter from Barbara Flynn

Dear Students,

I’d like to express my sincere sympathies to you and your families. No young adult should have to witness the atrocity that happened to all of you. When I went to school, it was a safe place to go each day. When I became a teacher, I like many of your teachers, went to work happy and eager to teach our students. We knew we were teaching the future leaders of our nation. This last week, you have proven yourselves to be our future leaders. Your poise and ability to articulate your feelings was incredible. It gave me great faith in what the future of our nation will hold. Please know we will not forget about what you have been thru. We continue to be proud of you and know that you can make a difference. March on and continue on the paths set before you.

Barbara Flynn, Retired Educator

Letter from Cat Winters

Dear Students in Parkland and across the U.S.,

Thank you for your bravery, your bluntness, your articulateness, and your willingness to stand up for the lives of all kids in this country. I’m an author of young adult historical fiction whose main goal has been to show readers that young people have been enduring and overcoming the horrors of the world since the beginning of time. I write about teens rising from the ashes and fighting to make the world a better place. I strive to convey a sense of hope for future generations. On February 14, 2018, the tables were turned, and I found myself comforted and inspired by YOU, courageous teens, when I saw the immediate reactions of the survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I witnessed modern-day young people rising from the ashes just moments after tragedy and proclaiming, “Enough is enough!” And I realized, with much shame, that I hadn’t been doing as much as I could to fight for vital gun regulations.

This burden of fighting for your own lives should never have fallen on your shoulders. U.S. schools should never have turned into a place where, for nearly two decades, kids have been forced to fear the threat of getting shot in their own classrooms. I have two teenagers myself, and I’ve always struggled to find the right words to ensure them they can feel safe in their schools. Your response to this latest shooting provided the words for me. Schools will become safe when students and parents stand up together and say, “We can’t take this anymore!” We adults must do EVERYTHING in our power to fight for our children’s lives. Teens, please continue speaking up and demanding your right to attend school without the fear of death, even when voices of opposition threaten to drown you out. The very week you turn 18, please register to vote, and head to the polls as soon as you’re able. Please take care of yourselves in this fight and know I’m behind you 100%, contacting my representatives, casting my votes at the ballots, and joining organizations like Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety.

Cat Winters, Author

Letter from Ann Angel

Dear Amazing Teens,
I saw today that the Florida legislature refused to even discuss an assault weapon ban. I am so sorry. But please continue to stand up, speak out, and shout out and insist that you be heard. It might take time but don’t give up; demonstrate resilience and determination and perseverance in this very important fight for the safety of all who enter a school building or who live in this world. I want you to know that the mega-majority of authors, teachers, coaches, librarians, health care providers, social workers, mental health professionals and parents are with you, either fighting this fight alongside you, or hanging with you in spirit. We want to win this fight to make the lives of children in schools safer. Meanwhile, please also know that you’re in my thoughts and the thoughts of so many of us who write and teach for teens; we are not simply offering reassurance or thoughts and prayers though. We are fighting for your safety right along with you.
Ann Angel, Author/Teacher

Letter from Melanie Sumrow

Dearest Students,

I am consistently amazed by your courage in the wake of tragedy. Instead of cowering, you are doing the bravest thing of all: speaking up for change.

I want you to know that what you say matters. Keep talking, shouting even. But don’t stop. You WILL be heard.

You have my admiration and my pledge to keep up the fight with you. You deserve better.

Melanie Sumrow, Author

Letter from Christina Soontornvat

Dear students, your bravery and commitment to change inspired me to write letters to my congressmen. I am delivering one of these letters in person. I wanted you to see it here, and to know that you are spurring adults to take real and concrete actions. Thank you for what you do. Keep up the good fight.

Dear Representative McCaul,

I am writing to you in the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting, with a plea to take action that will protect the young people of this country from mass shootings.

I am a lifelong, 6th generation Texan who grew up in the small community of Weatherford in Parker County. I grew up around guns. My family members own guns. My very best friends own guns. None of them would balk at deeper background checks or longer waiting periods because they know that a lax system that lets dangerous people get guns quickly does not serve responsible gun owners. This is why strengthening background checks has wide bipartisan support across the country. If people on both sides of the aisle can behind this legislation, why hasn’t it been enacted?

As the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, I know you are committed to keeping Americans safe. The threat of gun violence is as great a danger to our children as foreign terrorism, and yet so little has been done to stop it. In the wake of the 9/11 bombings, all Americans lost some liberties and conveniences as airport security measures increased. Yes, we grumble about having to take our shoes off at the airport and yet we all do that because we know that it’s necessary. If Americans are willing to be scanned, x-rayed, and patted down at airports, surely they would grow accustomed to increased security measures around deadly weapons.

I have been both inspired and put to shame by the survivors of the Parkland shooting. I am inspired by their courage in the face of such grief and trauma. They are still mourning the dead, and yet they are crying out for change with the honesty and raw emotion of children who have witnessed their friends and siblings being gunned down in front of their eyes. I am ashamed that I, as an adult with children of my own, have done comparatively little to make the world a safer place. Sir, you and I have a deep responsibility to our youth. Their right to live to adulthood should be placed above every other concern.

My daughter was two years old when the Sandy Hook attack happened. In the five years since, what have you and I done to make sure a similar horror doesn’t happen in Texas? I hope that like me, you are now jolted into action. I will not be complacent on this issue. I pledge to vote with this issue in mind, and to encourage my fellow Texans to do the same.

Christina Soontornvat, Author

Letter from Nancy Castaldo

Dear Students of Parkland and Beyond,

It is with great hope and pride that I write this to you today.

You are the reason I write books for kids. It is because I know that change will come from your actions. I hope that my books demonstrate that anyone of any age, race, background, or gender can make a difference. Your actions today are proving that!

I am so very sorry that you have had to deal with so much grief and fear. It is unacceptable. I hope and pray that you will all continue to find strength and know that you are supported and heard.

We will continue to support you by sharing your hopes, your dreams, and your voice.

Be strong! Be true to yourselves!

Nancy Castaldo, Author

Letter from Samantha Clark

Dear Amazing Teens,

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for raising your voices when so many others have stayed silent.

You are a testament to all those who have been killed or injured by guns, in schools, in homes, on streets. You are a shining light to the memories of all the students who won’t graduate, or grow up, and who no longer have a voice. You are that voice for all the people, from your own school and all the schools before yours that have been affected by gun violence.

It’s not easy to step out and be leaders or to change your nation, but know that you have support behind you. And when you need to step back, we will stay at the forefront for you.

Stand strong. Be the change. Make your own courage.

You have our love and admiration. We will be with you every step of the way. And we will fight for a better nation for you and for all.


Samantha Clark, Author

Letter from Andrea Torrey Balsara

You KNOW you are right, so don’t doubt that. You KNOW that the gun violence that’s been a threat to every school child is a lapse of moral judgement. This isn’t about the right to carry a gun; it’s about the right to go to school without fear. It’s about the right to grow up, without being gunned down by an instrument designed for war. Don’t let any of the “adults” who want to maintain the status quo make you doubt yourselves. You are in a righteous fight, and at this moment in history, YOU are powerful: you are the young, the innocent, and the wronged. And you barely escaped with your lives, while many of your classmates did not. You have the ear of the world. Finally, people are waking up to the propaganda. They are waking up to the evil of uncontrolled violence. They waking up to the fact that their government has been a puppet of a powerful lobby group, the NRA. Now is the time to speak up. Shout, if you need to. Don’t be afraid. And even if you are afraid, do it anyway. Because your country needs you. The children of your country need you. And we are with you. Please let me know if there is anything more I can do. I am praying for you; I am praying that your youthful idealism is the spur that will cause the United States to finally unite.

Andrea Torrey Balsara, Author/Illustrator

Letter from Patti

Dear students.

It’s an absolute shame that you are putting the weight of this fight on your shoulders. Adults, as you say, SHOULD have taken care of, protected you, years ago. Know that you have an army of believers behind you, an army of people who respect you, and will do our damndest to help in any way we can in this fight! I admire you all more than I can describe. Don’t give up! Be the change! You ARE the change!!!!


Letter from Supriya Kelkar

To the incredible students changing our world,
I cannot thank you enough for your bravery and leadership. You are strong, you are powerful, and you are making a huge difference. Please don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. You have left this author, who uses words for a living, utterly speechless, in awe of your determination, courage, and brilliance. You have moved me, inspired me, and relit a fire in me that had dwindled down to mere sparks when things felt hopeless. Thank you for showing me and the rest of the world there is hope. I now have no doubt there will be change. And it is all thanks to you.

Supriya Kelkar, Author

Letter from Amelia Brunskill

Dear Parkland students,

You are brave and you are right.

Because it wasn’t always like this. It doesn’t need to be like this.

I was in college when Columbine happened. I remember hearing about it on the radio, on a music station. The DJ got choked up talking about it. I was in shock. We were all in shock. But that was almost 19 years ago, before most of you were even born. We had plenty of time to help make things better.

I’m so sorry that you have to be brave like this. All of you. The ones speaking out, the ones who are at home, trying to figure out how to simply *be* in the wake of this. All of you have been forced to be brave, forced to deal with something you shouldn’t have to.

We should have been brave for you, should have fought longer and harder, and then maybe you wouldn’t have to be so brave now.

So don’t believe anyone who tells you that you are wrong to be angry, wrong to want change, to demand it.

You are right.


Amelia Brunskill, author

Letter from Cate Berry

Dear students,

I’ve felt hopeless for any kind of gun regulation in this country for such a long time. I’ve watched too many school shootings in despair, feeling useless and afraid.

But today feels different. You really are making a difference. There is a palpable change in the air and it’s being lead by you. Your voices are being heard.

I’ve always believed in our teens. You are why I write books for children. You are making this country so proud. I’m behind you all the way.
When you call us to the streets I’ll be there.

Don’t stop and thank you for your energized dedication.


Cate Berry, Author

Letter from JP

Dear youth of our time,

Always remember, you have people of all sorts that have your back. Bring the knowledge that you have learned from the past and present to the table, bring the emotion of pain love to the ones who are hurting, and bring your voice to be heard. You are the voice of many. You are our youth of this time and it your time to make history turn down a path for better tomorrow. Be brave. And stand tall against the ones who think you are wrong. You CAN do this! My thoughts are with you all!

JP, Writer