"Between 2006-2015, I was honored to sponsor annual essay contests at Mater Dei Catholic school (formerly known as St. Stanislaus) in Lansdale, Pa, for my first two books, Hands That Break, Hands That Heal, and The Hole to China. And to see the contest evolve to include not just the top writers, but the most inspiring essays, is something I am quite proud of."
"It was truly one of those things I sincerely looked forward to every year. To have helped local families was gratifying, but to have my books stimulate young adults approaching that age of separating themselves from their parents, was quite humbling."
"The students essays are powerful reminders to me how important stories of underdogs, misfits and feel-good endings can be. I've kept every essay."