Class: Mr. Sedelmeier's 7th Grade
Grade: Middle School
Subject: Language Arts
School/Institution: St. Nicholas Academy Louisville, KY

Seventh graders in my Language Arts class spent a few weeks this fall reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven. They did group work, reflected on the story and its lessons, and wrote a theme essay in which they chose which lesson from the book they found the most compelling.

Studying this novel in a Catholic school, where faith is often discussed, made for a comfortable union. Mitch Albom’s characters resonated with the students and will last with them longer than most titles read in class. When they learned that the sequel had just been released, many showed sincere interest and excitement in reading it outside of class … not always a frequent occurrence in middle school English classes.

Here are a few excerpts from some of the student papers …

Mitch Albom shows that not forgiving someone is like a virus that eats you up and fills you with hatred, but finally forgiving someone face to face cleanses you and makes you feel stronger and most of all free. – Colton Wilburn

People are afraid sometimes. That’s okay; everyone is afraid of something. I think the theme of the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom is don’t be afraid. I think this is the theme because if Eddie was afraid he would have never met his wife or found out the truth about his dad. He also wouldn’t had helped one special little girl … Don’t be afraid to talk to people you like. If you like a boy or girl in your class just tell them about it. The worst that can happen is they will just say they don’t feel the same about you. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t like you, there is plenty of fish in the sea. – Chris Bissinger

Forgiveness is a powerful gift. It is a theme that ran through the book. I learned that forgiveness not only needs to be given, but also accepted. It needs to be accepted from others and yourself. In order to move on in life without hatred in your heart, forgiveness must be there. – Devin Medley

We were all put on Earth for a purpose. We all have an impact on the people around us and we teach them our own lessons about life even if we don’t know it at the time. We all impact each other in different ways, but not one person in the world can say that they don’t have a lesson to share. – Sabina Rapp

So, St, Nicholas Academy thanks you, Mitch Albom, for writing a book that is both accessible and complex, universal yet personal. Out seventh graders ate it up like a new confectionery treat from a Ruby Pier vendor.