Last night I noticed that the big long wooden shelf above my desk was about to collapse. That’s when I realized that about a third of it was jam packed with fat manila envelopes full of letters from kids, mostly written after I spoke at their schools. So before disaster could strike, I took them all down and started to read.
Lots of these letters are illustrated to the hilt (plenty of future competition since I’m an illustrator too). One class actually re-drew every single page in one of my books using their own interpretations. It must have taken forever. A fourth grade girl sent me a glamorous message with every single letter written in a different color, including silver. Several kids have sent me entire stories of their own, and others send long and eloquent and effusive and flattering letters that are good for the ego. I'm positive their teachers told them to be nice, but hey. The letters can also be short and punchy—I especially love the ones written in kindergarten and first grade. But all of them make me smile...or laugh out loud. Check it out. Here are some very brief excerpts.
I had a good time. I liked your book. Thank you for comeing. I was not here that day I whish I was.
[written back in 2004] We really like reading your books they are geater then all of the books I’ve readed Because it is most funny. But it is not geater then pokemon but I still like it.
The ting I liked best about your books are the pictures. I was wondering how do you paint your pictures without going out of the lines.
Thank you for letting us talk with you! Even though I cannot pronounce your name.
I love your books. I wish I had all of them. Truth is I do nat have any.
I wanted to order one of your books but my dad wouldn’t let me. Por me I really wanted one.
Flattery will get you everywhere
What I liked about the author was she had instyle clothes.
You are asame!!!!! I love Divie cakit [Davy Crockett] I love tall talls. Its fun when you put [on] the scoon scin cap.
I loved your presentation on Louis & Clark! I learned that William was a horible speller! He spelled water melon water million!
WADA BING! One day I will be just like You! But I will also be an Athleat!
I hope you visi Churchill Road a 100 times.
Thes wuz fune I likt It.
Der Ms. Schanzer, I rilly liked yor pichers! And wold Like to see more of yor books I wold like to talk to you on the phone with you.
From shows with costumes and sound effects
I love that song we singed. I had so much fun.…I also want to thank you for letting us be very very lowd. My favorite part was when everyone was yelling. Everyone was giggling!
You are a great arthr artis witier and cowwoman. I really liked when Isha, Lochar, and Jack said “Yeehaw!” I also liked when Amy, Nick, and Sarah said “Mooo.”
When I showed my mom the mustache she laughed.
My favorite part was when you talked Tennessee. Did you know blue is one of my favorite colors. I think you did wonderful. I think your pictures look great. When is your birthday? My birthday is December third.
My favorite part was when you talked like a girl from Tennesse. The mustaches were very very funny easpeacialy the yellow one.
Insights and ideas
At school our class has written children’s books. That was when I realized how hard it really is to write a book. [From one of the long eloquent letters]
When I grow up I might make books or be a vet I’m not sure about that yet.
If I were an author I would write about a little girl that was an orfin. I think that idea I gave you was a good idea. Write me back if yo use my idea.
The best part I liked was when the dog was siked about being eaten alive and his eyes bugged out.
Do you have a jet and a manshin?
Do you like pizza? Do you have a son? I have a little brother. Do you have a dog? I like pizza.
doesn’t your hand get tired once you write a lot?
What do you do at your house. My favorite to do is play on the piano and play babies.
How much years have you been an Artist and the writer. My first book was called My friends. My other book was called MD v.s Duke
I was wondering how she got the [Lewis and Clark] journals? And when she got them was it hard to read them because of Louis and clark’s bad spelling?
Your books are the best books in the world. Are you going to come again? We still remember every word you said. Why did you come up with history instead of non.fichion?
I liked your work because it was realistic and I want to be a part time artist. Where did you start painting and why do you like painting? Did it come in your harritage?
Well time is almost out. I Just want to say thank yo so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so much!!
And thank YOU so much too, letter writers!