Helicopter on Mars

Child's self-portrait as an astronaut on Mars

Dear Vikesh,

I so enjoyed your self-portrait of you as an astronaut on Mars. The classic moon-with-craters and the fiery sun in the sky are nice details, especially with the very creative size-scale you’ve chosen.

Have you been keeping up with the latest developments on Mars? I was thrilled to watch the recent helicopter flight. It must be very lonely on Mars, especially after such a long flight to get there, so I’m glad Perseverance now has a little buddy to help explore the red terrain.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Solar eclipse

Dear Grayson,

I chose your letter today because of your awesome drawing of a celestial body in space. Yesterday, North America had a full solar eclipse. Where I live, the moon was projected to cover 94% of the sun’s light at around 3:30 in the afternoon. Around that time, we would experience something approaching darkness. We knew it wouldn’t get as dark as places where there would be a full 100% eclipse, but 94% seemed close enough.

So, I made a pinhole camera, and we headed out to the Atlantic coast near Peggy’s Cove (which has a famous lighthouse, but that’s another story). Anyway, we waited for the big event, and carefully checked the moon’s progress using my homemade pinhole camera.

It was very exciting to see the moon cutting into the sun as predicted. It slowly creeped across, but we didn’t experience a change in light. After some time (it felt like ages), the shadow of the moon got smaller, and the sun came out again. We experienced nothing. NOTHING!

That doesn’t make for much of a story, does it? We came home deflated. I was able to watch the full eclipse that happened elsewhere on the news last night, but that is not at all the same. My only positive takeaway is to try to remember exactly how disappointed I felt about this once-in-a-lifetime event, and to use that feeling of disappointment in a new story I’ll someday write.

It’s not much. But it’s something. I guess. The next full solar eclipse will be in 2044.

Don’t miss it.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Author/illustrator

Dear Gold T.,

I think you have all the talent in the world to be an author/illustrator and handle both jobs for one book. You have excellent story ideas, plus, look at your drawings: the mask in 3-D, the Covid virus, the planet with the paw print (how clever!), and those unique star shapes. Wow!

I will keep an eye out for when your first book is published, and I will buy a copy. I hope you will sign it for me.

Best wishes and happy reading,

Jessica

Mars with rocket

Child's drawing of a rocket blasting across Mars

Dear Irene,

I absolutely love your drawing. The design is so bold, the lines so clean, the movement so dynamic! This would make an excellent T-shirt design, or the cover for a sci-fi novel, or the mission badge for the first-ever team going to Mars. I hope you are considering a career as a graphic designer when you grow up. Or an author/illustrator!

As to your question, which of my books do I like the best, I would have to say it is the one I am working on right now, which isn’t even published. I’m tackling a new set of revisions, but I’m having a blast. There’s a moon mission in this story, too. I love writing about Outer Space, where there’s no limit to imagination!

Happy reading,
Jessica

The Moon has water

Child's drawing of Earth and the Moon with an astronaut

Dear Evan,

I really appreciate the wonderful details you’ve added to your drawing, including Neil Armstrong’s footprints on the Moon’s dusty surface. Isn’t it fun to know that those footprints are still there, undisturbed, even though it has been over fifty years since the first astronauts landed?

I learned that water has been discovered on the Moon’s south pole. Imagine that! I wondered if it would taste exactly the same as here. So I googled it. It turns out that the water on Mars is predicted to be very salty. There is no word yet on the Moon, but chances are it wouldn’t be pure enough to drink. Chemicals from the Moon’s surface along with meteoroids that have slammed into it are likely mixed in with lunar H2O.

All that to say, there’s no place like home. Stay well, and happy reading.

Jessica

Extra bright Mars

Child's drawing of the planet Mars with a Canadian flag and a rocket.

Dear Henrik,

Thank you so much for your gorgeous drawing of Mars. I’m thinking about Mars today because tonight, Earth will move in its orbit to line up with Mars and the Sun, forming a straight line, with Earth in the middle.

As a result, Mars will look bigger, brighter and redder from Earth. Also, Mars won’t get this close to Earth again until 2035! Pretty special!

If it is a clear night where you live, and you happen to have a telescope, you might even see Mars’ polar icecaps. Mars will be rising from the east as the Sun sets.

Alas, it is pouring today where I live, which means that clouds will block my view. The only red I’m going to see are the sodden leaves clinging to the maple tree in my backyard.

There’s always next year.

Stay well, and happy reading,

Jessica