Obama writes thank-you note to Norway fifth-grader

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NORWAY — When sixth-grader Marrae Kimball opened up a large manila envelope from the White House last weekend she couldn’t stop jumping.

“I jumped out of my car with no shoes on in the snow and kept jumping up and down on my porch,” said the 11-year-old author of “Guaranteed Success for Grade School: 50 Easy Things You Can Do Today!”

The envelop contained a letter from President Barack Obama thanking the Rowe Elementary School student for the copy of the book she wrote last year to help younger students. She and her mother, Melissa Eshleman, who live in Norway, brainstormed ideas and with the help of family, friends and teachers, the book was written, edited, designed and published by Melissa and her husband, Ed Eshleman, who started their own publishing business.

In August, the young author presented a copy of her book to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and asked her to deliver a copy to the president of the United States and his family.

In the envelope from the White House was a letter from the president thanking Marrae for her gift. Obama also said he appreciated her kindness and generosity. He ended the letter by wishing her all the best.

“She ran to the house in just her socks, screaming and jumping up and down. We looked for her sneakers all weekend, and just remembered this morning where they were,” Melissa Eshleman said.

Kimball said the experience of opening the letter and reading it brought her so much joy that she penned a new quote, “The hearing of wonderfulness is the hearing of happiness.”

While Kimball waited for a response from the White House, she got another surprise in November when an editor at Weekly Reader, the educational magazine that is published weekly and reaches more than 250,000 teachers and eight million students from grades prekindergarten through grade 12, contacted her for an interview.

The interview was published Friday, Jan. 21, in the third grade issue and the four-through-six grades issue. In it, Kimball tells other young people they should just “go for it,” if they have an idea for a story. “Start it and keep working on it,” she advised in the Weekly Reader interview.

Kimball’s mom couldn’t be prouder.

“We are excited that Marrae’s book might make a positive difference in the lives of many,” Eshleman said.

Copies of Marrae’s book are available through Books N Things on Main Street in Norway, where she will have an upcoming book signing, and at www.barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com.

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