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

Child's drawing of scultping at a desk, bird's eye view.

Stuck at home

Dear Sadie,

I chose your letter because so many children are stuck at home right now with their families for days and days and days on end. Mostly this can be fun, but I know that sometimes they just want to have their own quiet space or simply go outside and play with friends. And some families live in separate homes, so there are children who haven’t seen one of their parents or a grandparent for a very long time, like you.

I really like how you show your dad that you love him, by taking clay and making a sculpture that looks like him. For the rest of us, maybe we could draw someone in our family doing their favorite thing, or write a story about them, and then share what we made with them. I bet that the family member you picked will keep the drawing or the story forever, long past this pandemic that we’re waiting out.

Stay well,

Jessica

Child's drawing of a red bird in the jungle

Red bird

Dear Danica,

Like you, red is my favorite colour. I especially like red shoes, red wine and red maple leaf flags. I do remember you because you asked a question during my presentation. Pro tip: ask a question at anyone’s presentation and you’ll always be remembered.

I also remember that I told you my favorite bird is a puffin. Is that why you guessed that my favorite colours are black, white and orange? Clever you!

Happy reading,

Jessica

Child's drawing of a starry sky featuring Mars and a Canadian flag

Mars

Dear Emma,

I love your dramatic starry sky – so aggressive! I can feel the weight of all that massive, empty space.

It is very considerate of you to think about what a privilege it would be to land on Mars, given that the rest of us won’t get the chance. Still, you shouldn’t feel too bad. There are plenty of artists, including writers, who will happily share their imagination about experiences that many of us will never have.

And that’s the next best thing, right?

Happy reading,

Jessica