Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Letters and Authors and Books

Remember mail?  Not texts or email or that bunch of recycling and bills you took out of the mailbox today, but actual correspondence.  Remember how exciting it was to receive a letter?  The last time I visited my alma mater, I made a special trip to visit my mailbox because it held such fond memories for me.  I have boxes of letters I've received stored in my closet.  I even have a binder of printed emails from the year a regular-letter-writing friend spent out of the country while in the military.

Now?  I get bupkis.  You probably do too.  Even my mom Skypes and emails.

My kids are growing up with Facebook, email, texting, and Skype, but they don't see many letters.  It doesn't mean they don't still want them.  Every day after school, my son asks "if there were any good mail or packages."  In his world, that means a magazine, LEGO catalog, or unexpected gift from the grandparents.  He also now receives a real letter, even if I have to pay for it.

Yes, I subscribe to a service that sends us letters.  But not just any letters--letters from authors.  We have participated for three months, and while the letters come addressed to my son, I think I'm more excited than he is.  Letters and authors and books, oh my!

The program is Letters for Kids, offered by The Rumpus.  All the subscription and pricing info is here:  An author writes a letter, The Rumpus copies it, includes a note from the person orchestrating the whole thing, and mails it to your child.  The envelope containing our first letter was covered in personalized pen doodles.  Here are examples of what we have received thus far:

Our introductory letter from YA (young adult for those not in the know) author and program coordinator Cecil Castellucci, with her return address.

Our first letter, from children's and YA author Natalie Standiford, with crayon doodles and a request for return mail.

Our second letter from Jane Yolen.  Yes, The Jane Yolen, author of over 300 books including our favorite How Do Dinosaurs... series. I about fell over with excitement.  In her letter, she says "what I love best about being an author is that I can do it at home, in my jammies."

Our third letter, from Derek the Ghost (aka Derek Taylor Kent), author of a new series called Scary School.  My aspiring artist and graphic novel lover loved receiving several drawings.

The program is geared toward children six and up, but as I've already confessed, I'm hooked.  The Rumpus has a similar program for adults called Letters in the Mail, and I just might have to subscribe to that one as well.  If no one will write me a letter, I'll just have to pay for it.  Sad but true.

If any of you already subscribe to Letters in the Mail, please let me know if you've been enjoying it.  Does anyone else subscribe to Letters for Kids?  If so, please share what other authors have been sending you mail.


  1. I do not denigrate this service - I totally support "real mail" - but I do prefer daughter-age-8 to write letters and see what happens.
    So far, the Bruins kick ass, and Melissa & Doug suck.

    1. I haven't yet pushed mine to write their own mail other than required thank you notes. Yours is a fantastic idea. We must find a reason to write a letter to somebody. Anybody, in fact. Perhaps even a letter to the editor of the local newspaper?

  2. p.s. In another lifetime I interviewed Beverly Cleary, and as she requested I sent the clip to her publisher.
    She wrote me a lovely note after reading it, which shocked me, and which I cherish.