9780307464972A letter of appreciation from Sara Brown, Library Media Specialist at Portage High School in Portage, Michigan.

It is my honor to write in behalf of Mr. Max Brooks, the guest speaker at our first ever Portage CommuniTEEN Read event on November 12, 2015.

We asked Mr. Brooks to be part of this inaugural event in our community to help lay a solid foundation for years to come. He is a fantastic speaker who engages his audience by lacing important topics with humor. We had almost 1,000 students attend his presentations; many were 9″‘ graders. Max kept them engaged and interested which was evident by the 20-30 hands that were raised anytime he asked if there were more questions. Based on participation, adults were no less engrossed.

Every student who attended the presentation had read The Harlem Hellfighters in class and participated in discussion and related activities with their teacher. Through a question and answer format, Max provided a much deeper understanding of war, the Hellfighters, prejudice, the writing and research processes, challenges of dyslexia, and a variety of indelible life lessons.

Max is quick on his feet, witty, easy-going, flexible, and genuinely cares about sharing the experience of The Harlem Hellfighters. He was patient with questions during the presentations as well as book signing and was willing to give extra time to students who requested it. He even took time to watch a 2-minute student-created video.

In the words of our students, “Max Brooks was beyond interesting, and we all enjoyed learning what it takes to be a successful writer, how adversity doesn’t define who we are, and how important it is to learn about the history of our world from all points of view”.

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