Bronxville Union Free School District

Renowned Author: Students’ Achievements Limited Only by Imagination

Sophomores Gabby Paccito and Szilvia Szabdo, who reached out to renowned author Khaled Hosseini after reading his book “The Kite Runner” last spring, recently received personalized and heartfelt letters from him.

“You are about to embark on one of life's extraordinary adventures – finding your way in the world,” Hosseini wrote in his letter. “In doing so, I urge you to remember the themes of the novel to help you guide your way. Through courageous acts, large and small, public and private, you are only limited in what you may achieve by your imagination. With a generous heart and kind spirit, you can carve out your future and perhaps change that of the world as well.”

“The Kite Runner” – the story of Amir, a young boy from Afghanistan – shadows the protagonist from childhood to adulthood and exposes his journey of self-forgiveness. English teacher Beth Agarabi said it’s one of her favorite books because of its beautiful prose, striking imagery and way of stirring the writing mind into action.

“It is a beautifully written book about identity and how a friendship set in Afghanistan is impacted by a protagonist's guilt,” Agarabi said. “I love teaching it to the ninth grade because they are at such formative ages where we can have meaningful, adult conversations. And a book like this forces us to examine the world and ourselves.”

As a culminating activity to their unit and to encourage creativity, Agarabi assigned her students to write original songs or poems, create alternate chapters, draw or paint as a way of paying Khaled Hosseini homage. Some students created original compositions as a response to the text, while others taught themselves Farsi and incorporated it into their drawings. Paccito and Szabdo chose to write letters to Hosseini.

“It is incredible that he took time away from such a busy career to honor where they are,” Agarabi said. “It’s inspiring.”