Letters are great, but I especially love it when they include photographs.
Check out Bianca and Thomas from the wilds of New Jersey!
Their letters included a stamped, self-addressed return envelope, and I replied this way:
Dear Thomas & Bianca:
Thank you for the kind letters. I was especially glad to see that you included a photograph. I suppose if I was that good-lucking, I’d be handing out photos, too.
You’ll see that, as requested, I enclosed a signed bookplate. I’m sorry to say that I don’t actually have a supply of my own fancy bookplates to send out; I should probably get that done one of these days. I’ll have to add it to my “to do” list. I’m relieved that you “don’t mind one bit” if I have sloppy handwriting. Because it really is true: thank goodness I can type!
Thomas: No, I don’t do the illustrations. I’m a writer, the boss of the words. I think if you continue to improve as a reader, you might wish to try my book, Along Came Spider. It’s a little longer than Jigsaw, and the characters are older, but it shouldn’t be too very hard to read.
Bianca: Ack, no, I don’t live anywhere near the sea, even though the name of my town, Delmar, means “of the sea” in Spanish. However, in English I think it means “landlocked!” I have three children and they do read most –- but not all –- of my books.
I received a warm letter from your teacher, Ms. Kingsley. She sounds really, really nice. My parents are from Queens, NY, and so is Ms. Kingsley, so we kind of have that in common. And we both love Brooklyn, too. Oh, yeah, one last thing. She says you are GREAT KIDS and I believe her.
Keep up the good work. Keep reading, keep working hard in school.