How authors and illustrators can touch us… beyond their work

The few times I have reached out to authors that I like I have been surprised at how accommodating and communicative they are! Not that I have reason to think that wouldn’t be the case. I just wouldn’t think that responding on Twitter or via email to little ol’ me would on their radar… let alone a priority.

My daughter used to love the Nancy Tafuri books Have You Seen My Duckling? and Goodnight, My Duckling. We were curious about some of the animals included in some of the illustrations and reached out to her. She responded via email and gave us a list of the animals (with their scientific names!!) on each page.

Thank you so much for getting in touch with me about  Have You Seen My Duckling?

I am so happy your ‘Little One’ is enjoying my duck books!
I’m including a list of all the creatures from both books for your reference just in case another
question may arise…the crested bird is a Great Crested Grebe ~ (with artists liberty!)
Happy reading and enjoy your summer!
All my best,
Fluted Swallowtail,  (Papilio) – (through out)
Mallard with ducklings, (Anas platyrhynchos) – (through out)
Green Heron, – (Butorides virescens) 
Beaver, – (Castor fiber)
Painted Turtle,– (chrysemys picta) (through out)
Black Bullhead Catfish, – (Ameiurus melas)  
Large Mouth Bass, – (Micropterus salmoides)
Spotted Salamander, – (Ambystoma maculatum)
Crayfish, – (Procambarus clarkii)
Green Frog, – (Rana clamitans)
Stagnant Pond Snail, – (Lymnaea stagnalis)
(Beetle) Backswimmers, – (Notonectidae)
Great Crested Grebe with chicks, – (Podiceps cristatus)
Recently my daughter and I made the recipe for apple cake that Julie Paschkis includes in the back of her beautiful book Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love. We had so much fun and it was so delicious that I took a picture and sent it to her through social media. I told her that we followed her grandmother’s recipe just the way Alfonso did in the book, down to the 3 wishes.
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She promptly and kindly wrote back telling us she was so glad we made the cake and that she hopes all of our wishes come true. I was beaming and couldn’t wait to share what she said with my daughter.
Finally, several months ago I saw several people talking about Jackie Morris’  UK library card designs. I reached out just to tell her how fantastic I thought they were. After a few exchanges online she sent me a few of the cards in the mail FROM WALES and several post cards of her art work. It was a truly magical moment opening them up. Get ready for some pictures!
Here are the actual library cards:

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And these are some of the post cards:
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And it was all wrapped in this beautiful paper and tied with a string.
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It was like getting my letter from Hogwarts. Pure magic. And if you haven’t seen this video of Jackie Morris reading and talking about her beautiful book Tell Me A Dragon, you must see it! She gives some wonderful insight to the world she created and her voice is like the smoothest cream… or maybe the softest velvet.

They do what they do because they want people to love stories, words, pictures, and reading. I know I wouldn’t get the same response from every single author. But I have only contacted the ones that make a particular impression on me, leave me wanting more, or questioning. Perhaps it is this quality that reaches out to me from their work that makes me feel compelled to to make it a two way street… to thank them for sharing their talents with the world.

These experiences will definitely make me encourage the youth patrons I come into contact with to reach out to the authors that mean something to them. If I feel the magic of these moments, imagine what a must happen to a budding, young impressionistic mind when they are touched in this way. I will always do whatever I can to encourage that love.