Don’t be afraid to contact your child’s favourite author

Does your child love reading and writing?

Do you encourage your children to write?

Do you know how to inspire and assist your child with their writing?

There really is so much more to writing than putting pen to paper. Writing requires thought, intention, planning and skill, and it is for these reasons that writers and artists have my full admiration.

As a teacher I had a Mary-Poppins bag full of ideas to inspire and prompt creative writing, but I don’t believe any trick can work as well as speaking to professional authors.

Don’t be afraid to contact authors and illustrators. Chances are they’ll be blushing with pride if you do.

Contacting authors and illustrators will:

  • Help your child develop a deeper level of respect for books (they’ll learn how long it takes to create a book and how much work is involved).
  • Possibly incite a love of reading for your child. They’ll be eagerly awaiting the release of every subsequent book once an author or illustrator has made contact with them.
  • Help you and your child compare and contrast different styles and techniques.
  • Help you and your child develop an insight into what happens behind the scenes of a book’s creation.
  • Help you and your child understand the writing process and what is required. For e.g. inspiration/stimuli, research, planning, purpose and intended audience.

How to make contact with authors and illustrators:

  • Search the internet for their website or blog (We’ve started a list). You may be able to leave a message there or find an email address
  • Send a letter to the publisher of their book
  • Attend their book launches or special author events, and ask them to sign your copy of their book.

Tania McCartney speaks at the launch of her book, Riley and the Dancing Lion. Photo by Red Instead

What do you say to them?

  • Ask questions about their book (e.g. the story, the characters etc.).
  • Ask questions to help you find out more about them as a person (e.g. their interests and likes).
  • Ask them about how and where they work, and how they learned to write or illustrate.
  • Tell them how much you love their books and stories.

Some examples:

CONTACTING AN AUTHOR MAKES YOU FEEL VERY WARM AND FUZZY:

We feel like we’ve been contacted by a superstar when an author or illustrator makes contact with us . I can almost guarantee that you and your children will be feeling on top of the world when you receive a special reply from your favourite author and illustrator too.

With what we do here at My Little Bookcase we’ve been lucky to correspond with a number of talented people. These responses have been some of our highlights:

  • We contacted Mem Fox when we began My Little Bookcase, and this is the message she sent us. We were feeling a little chuffed at the time.
  • After we emailed Chris Haughton to tell him how much we loved A Bit Lost he sent us a one of the special fair-trade Little Owls he had made through Mahaguthi ‘Craft with a Conscience’. Take a look at the toy here. I wish I could have bottled the look on my daughter’s face when she opened the package. Straight away, she began to re-tell the story of A Bit Lost. It was a priceless moment.
  • It’s also nice to hear from authors who have read our review of their work. When Jon Klassen contacted us with answers to our blog tour interview questions he also let us know that he found our review of his book insightful. That felt good.
  • We’ve got a date to meet Tania McCartney for coffee and cake when she visits Melbourne later this month. What starts with an email can sometimes result in a friendship.

So, what’s stopping you? Contact your favourite author today.

Don’t be afraid to contact your child’s favourite author

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  1. I was just discussing this with another author the other day. A lot of us don’t get as much fan mail as people think we do. Unless you’re talking about household names, many authors rarely hear from fans, but they do enjoy questions about their work.
    Now that I’ve opened the floodgates and sent a flood of emails to all my fellow authors, I’ll get on with my next novel ;-)

  2. What a great idea. Will have to do this… So hoping we get to catch Oliver Jeffers when he is in town.

    • We’re hoping so too. Starting with a local author though will possibly give you a better chance of a response. Although I hear Mr. Jeffers is pretty good at returning emails. Why not send him an email inviting him to Melbourne when he visits Oz and NZ?

  3. This is a great idea, I think I will encourage my oldest to write to some of his favourite authors. My whole life I often wanted to write to favourite authors but never had the confidence too. I love that they have blogs, Facebook pages and are on twitter these days. Makes them much more approachable! I have had some interesting conversations with authors in these ways. I love going to writers festivals and meeting authors and hearing them speak! So inspiring! My biggest blogging thrill to date was when Kate Forsyth commented on my review of her picture book I Am

    • It’s funny that we hesitate in contacting authors isn’t it? I’m glad you’ve finally started interacting with some.

  4. We’re reading Dr. Seuss in class this term so I will see if we can compile a class email to send in, though I didn’t see a link on his wewbsite? They would love to do it as I know they love his books! They have brought nearly all of them in!!!

  5. We’ve been trying to figure out a way of getting in touch with Graeme Base for a long while now, but haven’t found an address to send it to. Can you help, please?

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