I chose your lovely letter today because of the trees you’ve drawn. I especially appreciate 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 love writing with nothing but the sounds of birdsong in the background. It helps me concentrate and at the same time, reminds me that I am part of the larger world.
Sadly, a giant maple tree in my backyard must now be taken down. Its limbs have been heavily damaged by the hurricanes we have been hit with, and now the tree poses a danger to the houses in my neighbourhood. It will be such a loss, almost like a beloved pet. We will take great care with the rest of the plants in our yard, and perhaps plant a new tree next to the stump for future generations to enjoy.
Your drawing gives me hope.
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 as we continue to struggle with the pandemic. Beautifully written words can be so powerful! That’s what excites me most about writing and sharing that experience during author school visits. I also like your drawing, because it reminds me of the daily news reports during the pandemic that featured our healthcare heroes in their protective suits.
Stay well and happy reading,
I chose your letter because so many children had been stuck at home during the pandemic. Mostly this was fun, but I know that sometimes they just wanted to have their own quiet space or simply go outside and play with friends. And some families live in separate homes, so there were children who hadn’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 favourite 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 I hope is nearly over. I will be so happy to get back into classrooms as a visiting author, to chat with students in person.
Red is one of my favourite colours. I especially like red shoes, red ladybugs and red maple leaf flags. I do remember you because you asked a question during my author visit to your class. Pro tip: ask a question at anyone’s presentation, and you’ll always be remembered. Authors love questions!
I also remember that I told you my favourite bird is a puffin. They are so funny to watch fly, and the sounds they make are hilarious. Google it! Is that why you guessed that my favourite colours are black, white and orange? Clever you!
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?
Your American robin is wonderful. They do like trees, but I’ve seen even more on the ground in search of worms and other bugs for their next meal.
How do robins hunt for worms? Worms must be hard to find, right? I read that robins mostly use their very good vision. They can spot the tiny end of a worm as it pokes out of the dirt. They can also see small changes in grass as worms move about just below the surface, which tells them that a worm is there. It would be like wiggling your toes under a blanket. To be sure, they tilt their head to better see with one eye. Then they strike.
They also have very good hearing. As worms wiggle about, they move soil so that small bits of dirt rub together. This makes noise that is way too faint for us to hear, but it’s easy-peasy for robins. I’ll be excited to see them come back this Spring. Look out, worms!