Pet clinic

Child's drawing of a pet clinic with three vets

Dear Claire,

I think there must be plenty of great story ideas that come from pet clinics. I recently took my dog Ivy for her booster shots, and let me tell you! She couldn’t wait for that chapter to be over. She spent the whole time cowering behind me, her stubby tail wedged between her legs. And what was really heartbreaking was that the vet was being so kind, getting down on the floor and cooing to Ivy, even offering really tasty treats.

Ivy wanted none of it. No gold sticker for Ivy. I’m certain I’ll use this scene in a future novel.

Stay well and happy reading,

Jessica

Extra bright Mars

Child's drawing of the planet Mars with a Canadian flag and a rocket.

Dear Henrik,

Thank you so much for your gorgeous drawing of Mars. I’m thinking about Mars today because tonight, Earth will move in its orbit to line up with Mars and the Sun, forming a straight line, with Earth in the middle.

As a result, Mars will look bigger, brighter and redder from Earth. Also, Mars won’t get this close to Earth again until 2035! Pretty special!

If it is a clear night where you live, and you happen to have a telescope, you might even see Mars’ polar icecaps. Mars will be rising from the east as the Sun sets.

Alas, it is pouring today where I live, which means that clouds will block my view. The only red I’m going to see are the sodden leaves clinging to the maple tree in my backyard.

There’s always next year.

Stay well, and happy reading,

Jessica

Crow

Child's drawing of a crow

Dear Jack,

I like crows, too. I see them all the time at the park when I walk my dog Ivy. There’s a whole murder of them who yell at her from their treetops as she trots down the path pretending to ignore them.

Here are a few interesting facts about crows. They have an excellent memory and can remember faces of people. They can problem-solve and use tools. For example, researchers dropped a small bucket of crow food at the bottom of a long tube and gave a hungry crow a wire. The crow actually bent the wire to hook the bucket handle and retrieve it! Crows weigh about the same as a soup can, and they can fly up to 65 kilometres per day. They have been known to adopt baby crows that have been orphaned. Lastly, they’ll eat anything. Literally, anything. They are not picky eaters.

If you hear caw-caw-caw, they are likely warning others of danger. Ivy doesn’t get away with anything when they’re on the lookout.

Happy reading and birdwatching,

Jessica

Basket

Child's drawing of a tree house with red escape slide, basket and rocking chair

Dear Olivia,

I like how you’ve meticulously labelled absolutely everything in your drawing, like a scientist or a museum curator. Also, you’ve really paid attention to details: the straws in the glasses of lemonade, the chocolate chips (or are they raisins?) in the cookies, the flowers in the window boxes and the heart-shaped doorknob. It’s quite wonderful. Authors love details!

I’m intrigued by the basket of wool you’ve included. Do you knit? I knit, and I have just finished a blue sweater. I found that having a craft or two on the go is a nice break from being at my desk, which can feel like all the time!

Happy reading,

Jessica

P.S. I’m pretty sure they’re chocolate chips. Also, I especially like your label “sky everywhere”. That would be a wonderful title for a novel! Very poetic!

Pandemic tree fort

Child's drawing for a tree fort

Dear Scarlett,

I know you drew this for me a few months ago, but I now find that your work beautifully captures what it was like living at home and quarantining during a pandemic.

For example, you have quite a few people crowded into a small home, but everyone, including the gigantic bunny, has found their own private space within it. Second, you’ve drawn arrows to show where to walk or move to maintain social distancing. Lastly, someone is dropping off a basket of food, maybe even baked goods, for the folks inside. Very kind.

That is what I plan to remember the most about the pandemic: the kindness of others. I’ll be forever grateful to organizations and people who have kept me safely occupied and in good health: healthcare professionals, librarians, writing organizations, public parks, government workers, my gym, and letters from my readers. I’ll be sure to include their acts of selflessness in future stories.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Desk-top telescope

Child's drawing of a bedroom with a 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