Child's drawing of a roller coaster

Roller coaster

Dear Matthew,

Have you tried the roller coaster yet? Your drawing is dizzily accurate!

I went on one once with a friend whose parents drove us to the fair. It was a long, winding car ride during the high heat of summer, and I felt a bit sick even before we arrived at the fair. Plus, they fed us a boxed lunch on the way, which was grape juice (it was warm) and an egg salad sandwich (plenty of mayonnaise). I did not care for either, but I politely tried my best. By the time I got on the roller coaster, I was feeling green.

I did manage to go all the way around before I threw up. To this day, I can’t drink grape juice or eat an egg salad sandwich. Still, whenever I have to write about a character who is not feeling well, I can recall precisely that feeling so as to include accurate details.

Happy reading,


Child's drawing of a girl walking a dog on the lawn with the sun shining

Walking the dog

Dear Elyse,

You remind me very much of my sister who is a vet, and she rescues and trains animals all the time. She is very kind.

My dog pulls all her toys (there are many) out of her basket and works hard to evenly distribute them throughout the house. I want to train her to put her toys away when playtime is over, but she just doesn’t get it. Why should she put her toys away when she spends so much of her day making sure they are evenly distributed? Sometimes I think it might be easier if I just picked up her stuff myself. I should probably sign out and read a few training books from my library. And stop buying more toys.

Happy reading,


Child's drawing of an angel and a devil

Angels and devils

Dear Kassidy,

I selected your letter this week because Halloween is coming up and your drawing caught my attention. I hope that lots of children come to our door in terrific costumes like the ones you’ve drawn. Drawing your parent dressed like a giant is also brilliant!

Then I read your letter. You weren’t drawing costumes at all! You were illustrating a terrific story idea. I hope you do write it. It would make a truly spooky story, also good for Halloween!


Child's drawing of the Earth as seen from the Moon

Earth seen from the Moon

Dear Emilio,

I think you should write your astronaut cat story. It is sure to be a best seller, especially for readers who like cats and outer space. You’ve done a wonderful job showing what the view would look like from the Moon. Earth is wonderfully drawn as is our cat hero.

I did read that astronauts wouldn’t be able to see stars from the Moon because the Sun would block out their light. So that’s a bit sad to think about, because I love to see stars on clear nights. Still, your craters, the flag, the rocks and the lunar car are all fantastic. Well done, you!

Happy reading and writing,


Child's drawing of a unicorn


Dear Emma,

Your unicorn is darling with its fancy tail bow. How big are unicorns, anyway? Are they the size of a horse, or more like a pony? Or a donkey? Or a small goat?

Today’s weather was so glorious, I almost think I saw a unicorn while walking my dog in our local woods. I hope you write a story about one. I’m sure your story would make unicorns feel very real to skeptics like me. Your drawing almost has me convinced!

Happy reading,


Child's drawing of a cardinal


Hi Jackson,

Thanks so much for your drawing of a cardinal, one of my favorite Canadian birds. Their gorgeous orange colour is a real standout against the deep green forest, and I do enjoy the variety of their songs and whistles. One of their calls sounds to me like the cardinal is asking, “Would you eat, would you eat, would you eat peas, peas, peas?”

That’s how I memorize bird songs. I make up words that I think they’re singing. I learned this trick from other birders. When I’m out in the woods, and I hear the question about the peas, I know there’s a cardinal nearby.

Happy reading,


Big yellow Sun

Hi Judy,

I selected your letter for this week because of the blindingly hot yellow sun you’ve drawn, which is what it feels like right now in Nova Scotia. I just checked the temperature, and it is 31 degrees Celsius in the room of my house where I write. My window is open but only boiling air blows in.

I’m doing okay, but my puppy looks like she is melting in her fur coat. I give her little sponge baths and that seems to help. She also likes to chomp on ice cubes. I’ve been writing really early in the mornings, when it is cooler, and then finding shade to read a book in the afternoon. Are you doing the same?

Happy reading,


Summertime mysteries

Dear Savanna,

I’m so glad to hear that you’ve added my mystery novels to your summer reading list and that you are making good use of the library. Libraries are the best, next to museums and galleries I think. I’m also working through my summer reading list, mostly based on what friends have recommended. I like reading well-written books because I hope that reading them will help to make me a better writer.

Have a great summer and happy reading!



Child's drawing of a black-capped chickadee

Black-capped chickadee

Dear Lulu,

I also like black-capped chickadees very much. They are regulars at my bird feeder and they are big fans of the peanuts I leave out for them, even more than the seeds. Picky eaters! You’ve captured their striking head markings very nicely as well as their delicate feathers. Well done!

Happy birding,


Child's drawing of fantastic creatures

Pixies and demons

Dear Claire,

I will look for all your fantastic creatures this afternoon when I go for a walk with my dog Ivy in the woods. We walk everyday (unless it’s blowing rain) and although I haven’t come across a pixie yet, I’ll keep looking. Like you, I think the woods are magical, and whenever we spend time there, Ivy runs around like a speed demon. Perhaps that counts?

Happy reading,