La Lettre

Book Title La Lettre
Author(s) Theresa Marrama
Illustrator(s) bookcover_pro
Other Contributors Cécile Lainé & Françoise Piron
Published by Self published
Genre Realistic Fiction
Publication date 2019
#Ownvoices NO
From the author/publisher’s website
Level Intermediate Low

Total Word Count 3,300

Illustrations                    YES 
Glossary                          YES  
Guiding Questions       NO  
Context                            NO  
Other                                N/A

Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities
Black, Haitian-American 
White, American

Languages spoken

Sex and Genders
Female – main characters
Male – secondary characters


Social classes
Middle Class

Sexual Orientation



Family Structures

Body Type

From the author/publisher’s website 

Bette and Clara have been best friends for a long time. But, the last couple weeks have challenged their friendship since Clara started to pay more attention to Adam, the popular boy in school. It is a confusing and emotional time for Bette. But through it all, Bette begins to better understand her feelings. As she considers the last couple weeks, she comes to a revelation about her friendship with Clara. Bette’s world is about to change when she gets an unexpected letter from her best friend. Why has she been incredibly secretive and avoiding Clara like the plague? Will Bette decide to gather up the courage to talk to Clara? She knows that she may be risking everything to reveal her truth, but she knows that the truth will set her free. Will it be worth it?

To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?

The illustrations are black and white. 

The illustrator tried to show that Bette is in fact a person of color of Haitian and American descent by portraying her with natural curly hair which differs from her best friend who has straight and long hair.  However, both girls have the same white skin color. 

We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.

Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?


This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. 

Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Learning for Justice
Identity: Promote a healthy self-concept and exploration of identity
Diversity: Foster intergroup understanding

This review is based on the Kindle version. As a result, the page numbers are missing when directly quoting from the text.

La Lettre is a gay coming of age teen romance between two best friends, Bette and Clara.  What starts out as a strong friendship turns into something more. Bette is afraid to not only reveal her growing feelings to Clara, but she’s also afraid to tell her mother because she’s a very ‘’conservative’’ person.  This starts to change when Clara starts showing interest in a boy in her class. Bette is faced with a decision to hold her true feelings back or let them be known. La Lettre showcases teenage insecurities and what happens a lot of times in real life for teenagers who are dealing with their sexuality and how scary it can be to discover certain feelings and not know what to do or how to deal with them. 

For an Intermediate Low level of proficiency, the story would be challenging enough to encourage learners to acquire new vocabulary, but also intriguing enough to keep their attention throughout.  In addition to that, the illustrations really help to paint the picture of what is going on throughout the story and help to further understanding as well.

Although it provides a positive coming-out story, it is important to point out the nuances of coming-out stories. For some, coming out can lead to family rejection, while others find support and reassurance from their families and communities. 

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