Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Keen kids write authors

What better way to connect kids with reading and writing than dare them to write their favorite author? I salute teachers who assign kids to do so, and even moreso parents who help their children do so.  (If your child's favorite author doesn't have a website, the web or your local library can help you find the publisher's address.) Besides reinforcing their reading, it gives them a writing exercise they won't see as work.
I wonder how many authors write back. I always do, sometimes sending an autographed bookmark while I'm at it. My only curiosity is why so many adults have kids send snail-mail letters c/o the publisher, when it's so easy to email them via their websites.  (Especially since publishers can lose those letters, or take months to get them to authors.)
Anyway, here's a letter I received today, just to inspire parents to think about having their child write an author. I've replied already, of course! Thanks for writing me, Ryan T.
Pam Withers, co-founder, www.keenreaders.org (and young adult author, www.pamwithers.com)

Dear Mrs. Withers:
My name is Ryan T. I am a sixth grader at XXX Middle School. I am with a group of gifted and talented kids doing a report on an author.
When I heard we were going to do this project I got kind of excited. I discovered your books by a website that lets you look at books and authors. Once I found your books I immediately wanted to study you and know more about your books. I've almost finished your book Raging River. I think it's amazing! I love how you portray your character as an employee trying to get a promotion. I coudn't stop reading! I also just wanted to ask how did you come up with this amazing piece of literature? Did it just pop into your head one day while sitting at home? Did it take you a long time to try to figure out what happens to Peter and Jake? And if so how long did it take? Well enough questions. The most amazing thing I find in your books is that I find it very hard to put down! I could read it over and over again before I get even the slightest bit bored by it.
We are collecting autographed pictures of the authors and I was wondering if you could send one back it would mean a lot to me! Could you please write back? My teacher told me that sometimes the authors write back and I thought it would be really cool to get something back from you. If you do send me something I'll be sure to send you a picture of my completed project. I'm sure that by picking you I'll get an "A" for sure!
I wish you continued success in your career.
Your biggest and best fan,
Ryan T