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Dear Mr Kilmer is a story of Richard Knight, a quiet and lonely Iowa farm lad of fifteen who seems to be a social misfit. He has a talent for writing poetry which he hides from everyone. Inspired by the poem Trees read out in English class, he writes a letter to the poet, Joyce Kilmer, who is enlisted in the army.Thus begins a happy exchange of letters and poems which help Richard overcome his loneliness, fears and struggles at home and school. Richard is greatly encouraged by Kilmer's positive comments and suggestions. Kilmer's influence helps Richard develop as a person and as a poet. Relationships with his peers go through trying time as the drama is played out against the backdrop of World War 1 raging in Europe.Inevitably, racial prejudice rears its ugly head in Turtle Lake Country, creating ripples of discontent, confusion, fear and ostracism in the town. Richard has problems communicating with his reserved and quiet father.Fortunately,he finds solace in the Schermers' home.After Kilmer's death, Richard's published poem in the local daily helps his father to overcome grief, and their relationship improves.
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