Student Question

Who is Leigh Botts in Dear Mr. Henshaw?

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Leigh Botts is the name of the main character in Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. He is self described as being extremely average. In the book, Leigh rights to his favorite author (Henshaw) for a school project. Upon getting a reply written more with irritated silliness than care, his mother makes him write back out of courtesy. After getting Leigh's response letter, Henshaw softens towards the boy and a pen-pal relationship develops between Leigh and Mr. Henshaw.

    Through this relationship, Leigh Botts is able to talk about issues that are affecting his life ranging from his parents' divorce to someone stealing his lunch. Later, Mr. Henshaw tells Leigh to begin writing a journal of his thoughts and feelings. When he begins journaling, he still writes as though he is writing to Mr. Henshaw, starting each entry with "Dear (Pretend) Mr.  Henshaw." Despite the fact that Henshaw is no longer his pen-pal, Leigh's writing develops and he eventually wins a writing competition for his school. His reward is to have lunch with his favorite author. 

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