Child's drawing of a crow

Crow

Dear Jack,

I like crows, too. I see them all the time at the park when I walk my dog Ivy. There’s a whole murder of them who yell at her from their treetops as she trots down the path pretending to ignore them.

Here are a few interesting facts about crows. They have an excellent memory and can remember faces of people. They can problem solve and use tools. For example, researchers dropped a small bucket of crow food at the bottom of a long tube and gave a hungry crow a wire. The crow actually bent the wire to hook the bucket handle and retrieve it! Crows weigh about the same as a soup can, and they can fly up to 65 kilometers per day. They have been known to adopt baby crows that have been orphaned. Lastly, they’ll eat anything. Literally, anything. They are not picky eaters.

If you hear caw-caw-caw, they are likely warning others of danger. Ivy doesn’t get away with anything when they’re on the lookout.

Happy reading and birdwatching,

Jessica

Child's drawing of a tree house with red escape slide, basket and rocking chair

Basket

Dear Olivia,

I like how you’ve meticulously labelled absolutely everything in your drawing, like a scientist or a museum curator. Also, you’ve really paid attention to details: the straws in the glasses of lemonade, the chocolate chips (or are they raisins?) in the cookies, the flowers in the window boxes and the heart-shaped doorknob. It’s quite wonderful. Authors love details!

I’m intrigue by the basket of wool you’ve included. Do you knit? I knit and I have just finished a blue sweater. I found that having a craft or two on the go has provided me a welcomed escape during this pandemic.

Stay well, and happy reading,

Jessica

PS I’m pretty sure they’re chocolate chips.

Child's drawing for a tree fort

Pandemic tree fort

Dear Scarlett,

I know you drew this for me a few months ago, but I now find that your work beautifully captures what it’s been like living at home and quarantining during a pandemic.

For example, you have quite a few people crowded into a small home, but everyone, including the gigantic bunny, has found their own private space within it. Second, you’ve drawn arrows to show where to walk or move to keep up with social distancing. Lastly, someone is dropping off a basket of food, maybe even baked goods. Very kind.

Thank you so much for this timely drawing. I’d also like to take this moment to thank these organizations and people for their online work that has kept me safely occupied and in good health these past few months:

@hfxpublib

@twuc

@writerstrust

@scbwi

@authorsbooking

@GoodLifeFitness

@MrAndrewCotter

@sarahcpr

Happy reading,

Jessica

Child's drawing of cover of Jessica Scott Kerrin's novel called Clear Skies

Clear skies today

Dear Melissa,

You’ve done a wonderful job drawing the cover of my latest novel, Clear Skies, about a boy in the 1960s who wants to become an astronomer.

I have good news for you. I did retire from my day job, but it was only so that I could write full time and publish more novels. I have another friend who is retiring today from a career she poured her heart and soul into for over thirty (!) years. Now she’s about to enter a new chapter of her life. Fingers crossed, I think she’s finally going to have the time to write, too, which is great because she’s a good writer.

“Clear skies” is what telescope operators say to each other for good luck. They don’t want clouds or fog blocking their view of the starry universe. So, I’m wishing both you and her clear skies.

Happy reading,

Jessica

PS I hope her colleagues throw her an enormous party after this pandemic is over.

PPS I hope she doesn’t base her characters on the folks she worked with, because we all know that any resemblance of characters to persons living or dead is NEVER purely coincidental.

Child's drawing of a bedroom with a telescope

Desk-top telescope

Dear Reid,

Your words are too kind, but thank you for them. You made me smile.

The room you’ve drawn looks like a lot of fun, mostly because it has two of my favorite things: books (of course!) and a telescope.

Now, I’ve never owned my own telescope, but I’ve had a chance to look through others, and I marvel at the worlds that I can see so far away. I find it really hard to imagine what’s beyond the reach of a telescope. When you look through your telescope, does it give you deep thoughts, too?

I love to write about Space and about kids who enjoy Space and rockets as much as I do. I’m so glad you like Martin Bridge. You might like my new character named Arno Creelman who I wrote about in Clear Skies. He’s a big telescope fan.

Happy reading,
Jessica

Child's drawing of a bluejay

Bluejay spotted!

Dear Emma,

I’m so glad you spotted a bluejay. I have a few fun facts for you. Even though bluejays look blue to us, their feathers are actually brown. What happens is a trick of light. All of the colours of light pass through the feathers except for blue, and that’s what we see. Neat!

Bluejays are very smart. They are a member of the crow and raven family, and they know how to use tools to get food. Also, they are very good at waiting for opportunities to eat, such as carefully watching as people enjoy their picnic lunch and when they turn away, bluejays will swoop in for the steal.

Lastly, bluejays can imitate the sound of hawks. When they spot one looking for its next meal, they call out like a hawk to warn other birds that a hawk is nearby. That way, the birds around take heed so that they don’t become lunch.

Thank you so much for your birdwatching report. You’ve done a lovely job.

Stay well,

Jessica

Child's drawing of an all-weather tree fort

All-weather tree fort

Dear Sophie,

Your family-made tree fort is very special, indeed. I admire how strongly it has been built, using a tree along with some posts and footings to keep you and your guests safe. I’m sure it will stand up to every kind of weather. You must have had so much fun building it.

Does your dog rush around your tree fort because it is scared of lightning? My dog is fine with lightning. Just don’t bring out a vacuum, or a rake, or a garden hose. Those terrify her.

I hope you get to share your tree fort soon with friends and your granddad who helped you build it. You have a very special place to share.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Child's drawing of a treehouse shaped like a spaceship

Spaceship

Dear Aarin,

Thank you for your drawing of a tree house. It reminds me of a spaceship, which is what I feel like I’ve been living in during all these weeks of the pandemic. Perhaps “trapped” is a better word.

What I especially like is how you’ve filled your small space with imagination. You’re wearing a wonderful warrior uniform. You’re pals with a multi-colored unicorn. There’s a ghost lurking in the attic. And there seems to be complicated plumbing beneath your feet. What a lovely mix of fantasy, science-fiction, and a how-to manual. Well done, you!

Happy reading,

Jessica

Child's drawing of three trees with bluejays

Trees with bluejays

Dear Fenix,

I chose your lovely letter today because of the trees you’ve drawn. I especially love the bluejays tucked into the highest limbs. I have some of those visiting my small backyard from time to time. Their calls sound like a squeaky clothesline to me.

I miss my daily walk in the local woods with my dog. I would write new stories in the morning, and then go for a walk with her to think about what I’d written, and I always came home with some new ideas and a happy dog. Now I’m spending way too much time inside, looking at my computer screen. I can’t wait to get back into the woods. Your drawing gives me hope.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Child's drawing of astronaut in space suit on Mars

Suited up

Dear Jessica,

Thank you so much for your letter about what would be your first words if you landed on Mars. You wrote:

Nothing in this universe is impossible if you believe in yourself with all your heart.

I find your message so reassuring, especially because of our difficult situation worldwide. Beautifully written words can be so powerful! I also like your drawing, probably because it reminds me of the daily news reports that feature our healthcare heroes in their protective suits.

Stay well and happy reading,

Jessica