Mari Sandoz’s Letter to Her Students

February 26, 2018by Mary Duda0

Mari Susette Sandoz was a Nebraska novelist, biographer, lecturer, and teacher. She became one of the West’s foremost writers, and wrote extensively about pioneer life and the Plains Indians. Wikipedia

March 2, 2018 is Read Across America Day.  So in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and to promote children’s literacy I am sharing with you one of Mari Sandoz’s writings.

This is a letter she wrote to her students:


My dear Students,

If I could endow every young person in Nebraska and in the world with two things, and two things only, I should choose not beauty or fame or power or riches.  I should choose to endow you with courage and a love for reading.

With a fondness for reading you would have at your elbow, as often as you liked, all the strange and precious things of the world and never have to guard them against thieves and never have to dust them at all.

And with courage — ah, with courage you would find that all the obstacles of the world shrink away before you and are as nothing.

Take these two gifts then, if you will.  They are yours, not from me but from yourself.  And if you go out as a teacher, office worker, housewife or any other position, even writer, they will serve you well, particularly if you wish to be a writer will you need these two gifts ever with you.


Mari Sandoz

Courtesy of the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society of Nebraska