The Letter-Writing Cure

Dear Colorado Academy Community,

Happy New Year! The Library Department hopes that you enjoyed the holiday break with your family and friends—and in the company of many good books!

Some people find themselves feeling the doldrums in January and February. The weather is cold, the days are short, and we miss the moments of joy and connection we had with those we love during the holiday season.

There is an easy way to bring light to the dark days of winter for others and yourselves. Participate in Universal Letter Writing Week from January 8-14! Perhaps you have thank-you notes to write. Maybe you have not been able to visit a friend or family member since the pandemic began. Why not send some cheer with a letter? Make it a pen-to-paper, in-an-envelope-with-a-stamp kind of letter. It’s amazing how writing a note to someone special can make you feel just as good as receiving one!

I’m a lifelong letter writer. As a little girl, I would sit at my Great Aunt Carrie’s desk with my four-color click pen and Holly Hobbie notecards, struggling to spell the word sincerely! I’ve been writing letters ever since. However, there is always room for improvement, and that’s what I found last year when I received a wonderful gift—the book How to Write a Letter: Find the Words for Every Occasion by Chelsea Shukov and Jamie Grobecker. The title is accurate: this book really helps you say what you want to say!

If letter writing is not for you, how about reading an epistolary novel? Colorado Academy librarians have several favorites at our two library locations. Here are just a few:

For primary readers:

Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings. It’s a wonderful story of a letter-writing dog looking for its forever home.

For middle grade readers:

Extra Credit by the well-known author Andrew Clements. This title is about Abby, a girl from Illinois, who needs to earn some extra credit to pass sixth grade. Her assignment is to correspond with a student from a small school in Afghanistan. It’s a wonderful pen pal story with some surprises.

For teen readers:

Dear Martin: A Novel by Nic Stone. Justyce McAllister’s attempt at a good deed goes wrong, and he ends up in a disturbing run-in with police. After the incident, Justyce seeks healing in the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In letter after letter addressed to Dr. King, he poses many questions and sorts through complicated feelings.

And for even more inspiration, visit the Eric Carle Museum’s online exhibit, “Dear Reader: Picture Books and Letter Writing.”

Happy Writing! Happy Reading!