Pocket knife with blue handle

Dear CJ,

That’s a cool little pocket knife. A while back, we gave my son his granddad’s pocket knife. It had a leather handle but the blade was rusty, just like yours. Our son polished it up and it looks as good as new.

Do you whittle things with your pocket knife or do you keep it on hand in case you get tangled up in rope or something? We keep a sharp knife on hand when we are on our boat, just for safety, in case we have to quickly cut a line.

I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Keep safe and happy reading,

Jessica

An ode to green

Dear Cole,

I like green and I have green eyes, but I think red is my favorite colour (not for eyes, though).

I am fascinated that you drew yourself with a green shirt and hair, but not the tree or the grass behind you! You’ve left that to our imagination. Writers do that, too. They provide a few details, but leave plenty to the readers’ imagination. That way, readers can add their own details, and it makes the story more memorable.

By the way, I said, “Aww!” outloud when I zoomed in on your drawing and discovered that you drew three little chicks reaching out their beaks for their next meal. Perhaps it will be a green catepillars for lunch?

Happy reading,
Jessica

 

 

Rocket launch on astro turf

Dear Georgia,

You’ve really captured the exploding drama of a rocket launch. I love the part when the rocket ship seems to hover just inches from the pad after ignition before rising up, up, up into outer space.

Sometimes writing stories feels like that. You are able to write a sentence or two to launch your story, but then things get a bit stuck. The big challenge is to keep going until the story takes off on its own. That’s when writing is really fun and you come along for the ride to explore new worlds.

Happy reading,

Jessica

 

 

Chubby and Ginger

Dear Maddy,

Your cats are adorable. Does the heat bother them in the summer? I have a big puppy who has been flattening herself onto the hardwood floor and shoving her head under furniture to try to stay cool.

I am glad to learn that you have a photograph of your two cats. It is important to keep records, like photographs, of things you want to remember. When I visit schools, that is one of the tips I tell students. It makes it a lot easier to write stories when you grow up if you can look at records so that you can include interesting details about when you were little that you might have forgotten.

Give Chubby and Ginger a tummy rub for me.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Houseboat?

Dear Jocelyn,

I’m intrigued by your charming drawing. Perhaps this is a house surrounded by a sea of lovely blue grass that is blowing in the wind in great waves? Or perhaps it is a houseboat steaming along a wide river. Either way, I like it very much. Thanks so much for including me in it.

Like artwork, sometimes stories can have more than one meaning, depending on the reader’s point of view. It makes for a really lively discussion!

Happy reading,

Jessica

PS. My favorite colour is red.

Pirate tree house

 

Dear Logan,

I would love to join you in your tree house and drop water balloons! Woosh! Splat!

I recently finished writing a picture book about tree houses, and in my story, one of the ways to bring things up into the tree house is with a bucket on a rope, just like you’ve drawn.

My tree house doesn’t have a pirate flag, but I really like yours. I wish I had thought of that.

I hope you are enjoying your summer and that you are spending some time in your tree fort reading a few of your favorite books in between water balloon launches.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Young author

Dear Heather,

Your mom sent me your author drawing and biography, and I’m just so impressed with your work that I wanted to post it. I would read anything written by you. I’m sure that after your teeth come in and you grow up, you will become a best-selling author because of your clever observations.

Please tell your mom to keep sending me your best drawings. They bring me such joy! Also, if you ever have any questions about writing that you want to ask, you could send them my way and I will be happy to answer them.

Give your mom a big hug for me.

Happy reading,

Jessica

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Kite in the tree

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