I remember sending fan mail to children’s authors long ago when I was little. Only one wrote back…kind of. I can’t say that I blame Roald Dahl for my disappointment. He wasn’t among the living and his wife (I think it was?) kindly wrote to say that he would have enjoyed receiving my letter.
When my child wanted to send a letter to an author I cringed. Would that sweet little heart that I try so hard to protect be broken? On the other hand, who was I to stand in that letter’s way? After all, the world needs more happy letters.
Read on for my process for getting a successful letter out and a list of authors who we have successfully corresponded with!
- Don’t say “yes” right away. First check to make sure the author is still with us. If not, be honest as to why fan mail isn’t an option.
- Locate a website for the author if possible and see if there is a “contact me” option. Look in the back of the book to look for contact options.*
- Discuss contact options with your child and choose the best one available.
- Write the letter: Write a bullet point list of ideas for things to say (and whittle it down if needed). Draft a message (on paper). Write the final copy (on paper or in an email/contact form). Check that names are spelled correctly and that there are proper salutations.
- For mailed letters: address the envelope and double check the address. Stick a return address on there, stamp it, and go to the mailbox.
- For email, contact forms, etc: double check email addresses and have the small person hit “send”.
- Wait. A response may not take very long!
*Chris Grabenstein has a special activity in the back of at least one of his books for readers to complete before contacting him.
This “writing to children’s children’s authors” bit has become a child-driven, extended letter-writing exercise and part of our homeschooling curriculum. It’s fueled by some amazing writers who not only fill my child’s quiet time with impossibly creative adventures, but also respond with encouraging words.
Splendiferous authors who responded to fan mail
- Chris Grabenstein (Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library)
- Elizabeth Winthrop (The Castle in the Attic)
- Kate DiCamillo (Flora & Ulysses)
- Trudi Trueit (Secrets of a Lab Rat)
Well…I best get on looking up websites for more authors on our list: Ron Roy, Bruce Coville, James Howe, and of course the very spooky legend R.L. Stine.
Wishing you much success helping your little ones write to the people who inspire them to dream!