In Beverly Cleary’s epistolary novel Dear Mr. Henshaw, a lonely young boy receives an assignment from his teacher that leads to self-discovery. Leigh Botts writes a letter to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw, and when the author writes back with questions of his own for Leigh, the child begins to explore his feelings regarding the important events in his life to date. He is deeply unhappy about his parents’ divorce, and has trouble dealing with his father. To make matters worse, Leigh has recently moved to a new town where he thinks of himself as nobody special. After Mr. Henshaw encourages him to record his thoughts and feelings in a journal, Leigh is slowly able to work out what he can, and cannot, change about life. Cleary’s novel is a sensitive treatment of a child’s struggle to form a positive self-image in the midst of complex family dynamics, and is recommended for readers ages ten and up.