Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Letter and a Challenge

My friend and former co-worker Ann (who is an artist/cartoonist) told me that if she likes someone's work, she sends them a letter to tell them so. It's a kind thing to do, and hey, you just never know who is going to write you back, which is the icing on the cake. I've since adopted that policy, and it is so true. Often I don't receive any answer, but it is surprising how many times I do. I've written favorite authors, newspaper columnists, musicians, former teachers, etc.

I've mentioned this guy's work a number of times on this blog. I highly recommend him. Check him out at the library. Put him on your kids' amazon wishlist. He is really, really good! Since we've been reading him so much, especially lately, I decided to write him a letter and tell him how much we enjoy his work.

Dear Mr. Aylesworth:

I received your book "Jim Aylesworth's Book of Bedtime Stories" close to six years ago as a baby shower gift when I was expecting my first daughter, Lucy. We have spent many, many happy times in the rocking chair together, reading "Two Terrible Frights" (my personal favorite), "Teddy Bear Tears," "Good-night Kiss" and of course, about that little mouse named Kevin.

My younger daughter, Elaine, who is now 2 1/2, until lately has not been particularly interested in books at all. She'd much rather be in motion. As a former literature teacher myself, my heart sank a little. What if I didn't have a book-lover on my hands here? :-) One day after an oddly parallel Two-Terrible-Frights experience in my own kitchen (and I definitely said "eeek!"), I thought I would pull the Book of Bedtime Stories off the shelf where it has been resting and see if Elaine would be interested. She sat, rapt, through the whole thing. Lucy came to join us in the rocking chair. "Ooh, read 'Hickory, Dickory, Dock' to her too, Mom!" So we did. Then the remainder of the book...she sat through it all. Now it is commonplace for her to settle down on my lap with our worn copy and demand, "Read 'bout the teddy bears and the bogey man in the closet!" We routinely read "Two Terrible Frights" in parts (and they correct me if I don't get one of the voices quite right!).

Just last week, Lucy brought home from her school library your rendition of Goldilocks & the Three Bears, and we've all been loving that (every night!) as well. Your books have provided so much enjoyment for our family!

Best wishes to you--


Today when I opened up my email, I had received this:

Hi, Alice!

It's so good of you to send these kind words! As an author and former teacher, they make me proud. I think you can imagine...


I send warm greetings to Lucy and Elaine, et al!



There you go! Neat, huh? So, I extend to you Ann's challenge. If you enjoy someone's work or someone has made an impact on your life, write to them and let them know. It's a good thing to do. And you never know what you'll get back!


Ann-Marie said...

How wonderful to hear back! He sounds like a delighful guy - and very thoughtful! Hmmm...I guess J.K. Rowling never received my letter. :-)

One of my most treasured possessions is a postcard from Dave Barry in response to a fan letter I wrote him when I was 15.

Oh, and I love reading you, too - so count this as my thank you note!

Melanie said...

That is very, very cool. So many times after I've read a book that I particularly enjoyed I've said to Scott - I'm going to write them a letter and tell them but somehow I always lose my nerve. So, I accept your challenge - and I'll keep you posted! :)