“The handwriting in the letter was as even as waves along the beach, row on row of neat curls and dots, perfect pebbles and shells on an ordered shore.”
A tree, a seed, a kind elderly friend, these things hold generations of stories.
The anticipation and gift of sending and receiving mail is a lost art. A letter arriving just for you is personal and exciting, a tiny bit of treasure. I’ve read many letters from children to their favorite authors. From E.B. White to a wonderful book that sits at my desk by C.S. Lewis to Maurice Sendak, and his famous letter that was so loved it was eaten by the child that received it. When I was invited to be part of a letter-writing campaign by BC Yukon Book Prizes and Historic Joy Kogawa House in honor of Julie Flett and Joy Kogawa – it’s an easy yes!
Flett and Kogawa were co-winners for the 2020 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.
Julie is a local artist in our book community, I have had the chance to meet her in person and talk about books and raising boys. Julie’s books are always special in illustrative work and in celebrating Native people with themes of family bonds, culture, and nature.
I was first introduced to Joy Kogawa through ‘Noami’s Tree’. A book that will break your heart and then put it back together. Joy’s story of ‘Naomi’s Tree’ is rich and deeply moving. The most magical part is, if you are a local in Vancouver, you can visit the house from the book. While the tree isn’t there it’s not exactly gone either, as seeds have a wonderful way of creating life and carrying on just like Joy’s story.
I hope you and your children will join us in celebrating these two incredible artists with a bit of magical author mail, if you send in a letter, the authors will write back!
I worked to put together templates that I thought would be enjoyable and fitting by age.
Letters written to Julie and Joy can be mailed to:
You can find the letter templates right here:
The Little Free Library outside the Historic Joy Kogawa House.