Fan Mail Wednesday #22

Welcome to the triumphant return of Fan Mail Wednesday. I’ll do something different today, for here in my hands I hold a veritable sheaf of letters, all from awesome children from Tokeneke Elementary in Darien, Connecticut. I visited there a while back and had a great time.

When retyping letters, I’m often tempted to retype them exactly — with invented spellings and fantastical uses of punctuation. But then I feel like, no, that’s between us.

And away we go!

Cole asks:

I wanted to know how you say Mila.

Easy: My-la (not Me-la).

Shashank writes:

I wonder what your next book is going to be about?

Well, my friend, I often wonder that myself. Ack! Actually, I’m writing a story about a 5th-grader who is a class clown. His mishaps and adventures. I can’t talk about it until I get a lot more on the page. (Rule #37: Talking is the enemy of writing! That is: Don’t talk, just write.)

Annie asks:

What is your favorite book out of all the books you wrote?

Bystander, but it won’t be out until September, 2009. It’s set in a middle school and revolves around a bullying situation. I also love Six Innings, Wake Me In Spring, Along Came Spider, and a bunch (but not all) of the Jigsaw Jones books.

Kate writes:

Thank you for visiting Tokeneke School. Now I decided what to be when I grow up. I’m going to be a famous author.

Sounds like a plan. When you figure out the “famous” part, please let me know! But seriously, wow, your letter made me smile. I know you can do it if you try! You already have a head start. When I was your age, I wanted to be a pitcher for the New York Mets.


Thank you for sharing those amazing things about your life, and an author’s life. I was wondering if well maybe you put a new kid in like maybe a girl named Caitlin. Like you could write a new book called . . . A New Kid In My Class!!!

Not a bad idea. But do I have to split the money with you? As for this new kid, this Caitlin Something character . . . I’m guessing she’s fabulously, wonderfully terrific?

Caroline advises:

I think you should write some factual stories because I like factual stories and my classmates do, too.

We have that in common; I like nonfiction books, too. In the past I’ve written about Tasmanian devils, bugs, elephants, baseball cards, and professional athletes. All filled with actual factual stuff!

From Christian:

Your books are really funny. I can’t believe you got the broccoli in the milk idea from the radio. That was pretty funny what you named your turtle. I wanted to ask you how old was your turtle when he died.

Green Fingernail lived to the ripe old age of one. Sob.

The mighty Quinn writes:

What are your mom and dad’s names?

Ann and Al. The weird thing is, Al is my mom, and Ann is my dad. Okay, not really.

Lastly, from Nolan:

Thank you for visiting our school to learn about what an author does and how did you get the character of Jigsaw? and what is your birthday? and what is Jigsaw’s favorite food? and baseball is my favorite sport and I know you like baseball too and your books are really good you don’t look like a worm and my favorite series is Jigsaw Jones.

Whew, I was worried you were going to turn BLUE, Nolan! You’ve got to breathe! My birthday is 2/1/61. Jigsaw loves pizza and grape juice. And thanks about the worm comment — that was sweet. Thank you for noticing.

Okay, thanks for writing, Tokeneke!

If I did not respond to your individual letter here, please know that I enjoy reading every word of every letter. Keep reading books, any books at all!

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