Dear Aidan,

I did like visiting your school. I had a great time. It was very nice to be invited.

You’ve included some unusual details in your forest scene. Let’s see. There is a kite caught in a tree. There is an almost camoflaged tree fort. There are turtles burrowing deep beneath the forest floor. Someone is fishing off of the new moon. A storm is a-brewing. Someone appears to be watering the trees. Or, torching them. Not sure. And who is looking out the window??

I think this would make a marvelous opening scene for your next story.

Happy reading,
Jessica

 

How I feel when I am cold

Dear Jackson,

Thank you for writing to me. I do hope you are able to save enough money for the game you want to buy, and I’m so glad you are enjoying Martin Bridge.

I love this wrestler you’ve drawn. Very scary. He looks just like me when I get cold from being outside too long and I’m not wearing enough warm clothing. I mention this because I was working on my son’s boat tonight, painting on its new name. Even though it is May, the evening turned out to be very cold, bitterly cold, unbearably cold and the paint got all goopy. I wanted to scream in frustration.

I guess I’ll have to wait for warmer weather to finish the job.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Lost in the woods

Dear Hannah,

I so enjoyed your story idea and the scene of the woods near your home: the squirrel in the tree, the tire swing, the brook winding its way through the woods and, of course, the fish swimming upstream.

I just got back from a walk in our local wooded park with my puppy, Ivy. We try to go off-trail as much as possible, and take small footpaths through the woods. We cross over small brooks, and today I stood for a bit, waiting to hear the spring peepers (little frogs). They are not peeping yet; too early I guess. I bring a whistle with me just in case I get lost, because it is a very big park.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Reading to pets

 

Dear Kyra,

It is so nice to see that you’ve drawn a book on your livingroom couch and that the TV is off. Plus, it looks like there is something really interesting going on out your window that makes you want to go outside and play.

I like that you read to your dog. I just got a puppy, and once she understands a few words like “come”, “sit” and “drop it”, I’ll start to read to her, too. I bet she’ll like stories with animals in them.

Happy reading,

Jessica

 

Long car rides

Dear Chalise,

It took me a long time to get used to reading in the car when I was your age, because I often got motion sickness, which was no fun at all for me or anyone else in the car. Now I find that if I am sitting in the front passenger seat, I can most certainly read.

I love how you take advantage of others in the car by asking for the definition of words you don’t know. Sometimes I like to read to the driver. Do you do that, too?

Happy reading,

Jessica

Middle Age weaponry

Dear Abey,

Thank you so much for your drawing of the Middle Ages, complete with a King wearing sandals. I wonder what he is decreeing to his knights from his fancy throne? You’ve certainly included a variety of weapons. Look at how one of the knights dropped his sword into the ground, so close to your time capsule. Something big is about to happen, or perhaps already happened.

I hope you write a story to accompany this complex illustration. Well done!

Happy reading,

Jessica

 

Cemetery with blue moon

Dear Allie,

What a magical cemetery! I’ve never seen one quite so colourful. There’s so much going on for what is usually a quite place of contemplation. I love it! I particuarly like the creatures who have made their home here: a gray rat, an orange dog. The pond is a nice touch and the ground is lumpy, just like an old cemetery in my neighbourhood. You’ve drawn a perfect backdrop with plenty of details to write about. Well done!

I’m intrigued by your theory that the cracks in the old stones may have been caused by the animals you’ve drawn. You might be right. We just brought a new puppy home, and she seems bent on destroying everything in our house with her tiny but oh-so-sharp puppy teeth.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Family pictures

 

Dear Summer,

I am curious to know if you prefer photos printed on photo paper like you’ve drawn in your box or put into frames, or if you prefer to view them on a computer or a cell phone?

I have many albums of photos carefully labelled by the year that I took the photos before I bought a digital camera. Sadly, we never look at the older photos anymore because the albums take up so much space and are stored in a faraway trunk.  At some point, I must scan my favorite ones to add to my digital collection.

I do like family photographs the best, especially family travel photographs. Like your brother, my son looks like his grandfather very much. That was the inspiration for two characters in my new novel, which will be published this fall.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Rocket with the red cone

Dear Brian,

I see that you’ve added a cone to the tip of your rocket so that a parachute can inflate when the cone breaks away. That way, the rocket can return safely to the ground. It’s an important detail to include.  Good stories also include important details like the one you’ve drawn.

Isn’t it too bad that Martin’s rocket never had the chance to use a parachute, but rather exploded instead due to extra big fuel cells? Maybe you can write a story about rockets with a different ending.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Reading by the vent (#happyreading)

Dear Reader,

You’ve described your favorite place to read beautifully. I agree that it is nice to read by a window and to find a place that is cozy. My desk where I write is by a window so that I can see my backyard. I also sit right beside a hot water radiator so that I am cozy, too.

Are those empty hooks on the wall beside your window? I wonder why they are empty? Do you usually  hang coats there? A leash for your dog?  A skipping rope?  It is a interesting detail that raises many possibilities, and could be the start of a good story. All you have to do is fill in the blanks.

Happy reading,

Jessica