Letter writing can be utilized in lesson plans to chronicle or examine personal stories in history, make new friends, keep in touch with pen pals, explore communication before email and telephones, and to add variety to lessons. Teaching letter writing in February can also complement February as International Friendship Month through establishing communication with international pen pals. Listed below are guides to writing letters as well as fiction and nonfiction books featuring letters. For fiction, books with call numbers beginning with “SE” are picture books, while books with call numbers beginning with “S” are chapter books. To request books from Education Storage ask for a red storage request slip at the Reference or Circulation desks or pick one up by the computer in the S-Collection room.
Guides to Writing Letters
Don’t Slurp Your Soup: A First Guide to Letter Writing, E-mail Etiquette, and Other Everyday Matters. 2002.
This etiquette guide includes a section that teaches children the basics of how to format both casual and formal letters.
[Education S Collection S.395.1 G354d]
James, Elizabeth and Carol Barkin.
Sincerely Yours: How to Write Great Letters. 1993.
Discusses the general purposes of writing letters and outlines the elements of different types of personal and business letters. Includes information on state abbreviations, forms of address, and pen pals.
[Education Storage S.808.6 J232S]
Messages in the Mailbox: How to Write a Letter. 1991.
Discusses the different kinds of letters, the parts of a letter, and who can be a potential correspondent, and provides examples.
[Education Storage S.395.4 L517M]
Heading West: Life with the Pioneers: 21 Activities. 2009.
This curriculum book includes an activity for writing a pioneer letter to a friend “back home.”
[Education Curriculum TEXT. 978.02 CHIRPR2009]
Ghost Letters. 2008.
While exploring the area around his grandfather’s home Gil discovers a bottle that carries messages into the past, finds a genie in a letter, and three letters that were never delivered but would have changed the course of history.
[Education S Collection S. Al793g]
Extra Credit. 2009.
As letters flow back and forth–between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of Afghanistan, across cultural and religious divides–sixth-grader Abby, ten-year-old Amira, and eleven-year-old Sadeed begin to speak and listen to each other.
[Education S Collection S. C5912e]
The Sorta Sisters. 2007.
In Florida, Anna Casey lives with what she hopes is the last in a long line of foster mothers, and Mica Delano lives with her father on their small boat, and when the two of them begin corresponding, they discover they have a lot in common.
[Education S Collection S. F687so]
Voss: How I Come to America and Am Hero, Mostly. 2008.
Through a series of letters home, fifteen-year-old Vospop “Voss” Vsklzwczdztwczky shares his experiences as he is smuggled out of Slobovia in a crate of black-market cheese puffs, tries to find a job in an American city, and foils a sinister plot.
[Center for Children’s Books S. Iv36v]
Thea’s Tree. 2008.
Thea Teawinkle plants an odd, purple, bean-shaped seed in her backyard for her class science project, with astonishing results that even the experts she writes to–including a botanist, an arborist, a museum curator, and a symphony director–cannot offer any explanations for.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. J1322t]
Dear Juno. 1999.
Although Juno, a Korean American boy, cannot read the letter he receives from his grandmother in Seoul, he understands what it means from the photograph and dried flower that are enclosed and decides to send a similar letter back to her.
[Education Storage Q. S. P17d]
Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School. 2002.
Gertrude LaRue receives typewritten and paw-written letters from her dog Ike, entreating her to let him leave the Igor Brotweiler Canine Academy and come back home.
[Education S Collection Q. SE. T221d]
Peace, Locomotion. 2009.
Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as “Locomotion,” keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.
[Education S Collection S. W868p]
Hoping for Rain: The Dust Bowl Adventures of Patty and Earl Buckler. 2004.
Illustrated text, letters, and diary excerpts follow the fictional Buckler family during the Great Depression, as they leave Oklahoma, because of drought and dust storms, and move to California to find work and a better life.
[Education Storage S.978.09 C762h]
No Girls Allowed: Tales of Daring Women Dressed as Men for Love, Freedom and Adventure. 2008.
Based on legends, poems, letters and first-hand accounts, these seven biographical tales tell of women who disguised themselves as men. From ancient Egypt to the 19th century, this historically accurate graphic treatment transports readers to bygone eras.
[Education S Collection S.306.77 H8747n]
My New York. 2003.
A young New Yorker writes to her friend from the Midwest to tell about the things they will see in the city when Martin comes to visit her. Some foldout pages.
[Education S Collection S.974.7 J213m]
Kaywell, Joan (ed).
Dear Author: Letters of Hope. 2007.
Letters from celebrated authors respond to an array of tough and meaningful questions from their young fans, giving a glimpse into the hearts and souls of kids today and the writers who have changed their lives.
[Education S Collection S.028.5 D347]
Ask Dr. K Fisher about Dinosaurs. 2007.
This book uses letters to a fictional bird character named Dr. Fisher to teach children about dinosaurs.
[Education Storage S.567.9 L7706d]
Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. 2003.
This book uses slave narratives, letters, diaries, military orders, and other documents to chronicle the various stages leading to the emancipation of slaves in the United States.
[Education Storage S.973.7 M459d]