Monthly Archives: March 2018

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors wrap up – yes my dance for joy!


We made 102!  First time I have posted a video so not very good quality – but here is my dance for joy as promised!!!


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Thank  you so much for all the letters – I received over a hundred which is outstanding!

Thank you to all the authors who replied – it meant so much to the children.

I was especially delighted when Cathy Mahoney told me she was making a display of the letters (children and author’s) in her school library.

I found the whole thing heartwarming – which is while I will repeat it again next year.


if I missed your letter let me know!!


This was never a competition but I do like to spread the book love with a few giveaways!



I am sending few books to St Francis School Library including a copy of A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children. Thanks for all the hard work Cathy!

I am sending few books to Westmere School Library including a copy of A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children.  Thanks for all the hard work Jo!

Thanks to Toitoi, Elsa (Raumati School) will get a subscription to their very cool magazine.


I am sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to Kōwhai (6) at Newton School.

I am sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to Poppy (10) at Fendalton Open Air School.

I am sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to Isabella (10) at St Francis School.


Thank you so much everyone – lots of people read your letters both young and old.


I am posting our April challenge tomorrow and lots of things in between that and the next.




… time for a catnap after all that work! then an Easter egg ! and a hot cross bun !







# 102 A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Diane McCarthy (long-time fan) writes back to Joy Cowley

Thank you Joy.

I talked with Megan by cell last night. Megan accurately confirmed the plot and characters, and the misunderstandings between the parents and children that led to their actions to protect Shadrach. Megan’s highlight was the foal that was born afterwards! Megan now writes and performs indie music and teaches young emerging musicians at Naenae College. Still the writing about kiwi stories goes on!




A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Jo van Dam writes back to Sam, Lewys and Owen


Dear Sam,

Thank you very much for writing to me. I love the letter and I am so glad that you got the idea that you don’t have to big and tough and strong to be able to help someone else. Big or small, we can all make a difference! Thank you again. Lots of love, Jo


Dear Lewys,

Thank you so much for your great letter. I think you must have been about 6 when you were reading Doggy Ditties over and over! Very cool. You are an excellent librarian and you do know me well! Many thanks again (for writing to me and for being an excellent librarian). Lots of love, Jo


Dear Owen,

You really made me giggle!

Thank you for your letter,

you clearly have a knack…

at rhymes, there’s no-one better.

You choose the perfect words

that dance and prance and swoop,

they move around the page

and loop dee loop dee loop.

But the answer to your question,

is pretty simple pal….

I do not need an ‘E’

because I am a gal…..


Lots of love, Jo (without an ‘E’)

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Sharmal (10) writes to Yvonne Morrison



To Yvonne Morrison.

I really like your book ‘The Ugly Hatchling.’ As I was reading it I realised it was like the ‘The Ugly Duckling’ but with New Zealand birds. I like it because I like Kiwis, and Pukekos are my favourite birds.

From Sharmal

Westmere School

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Chaz & Adam write back to Kōwhai


Dear Kōwhai,

We loved reading your letter. Yes, Eve in the forest and book are the same 🙂 Gideon wanted to use the land for wealth and power, and that’s rarely a good reason to want anything. Writing was especially my favourite at school, so keep on writing!

From Chaz & Adam

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Aia (9) writes to Dawn McMillan





Dear Dawn Mcmillan

I love your books you put a smile on my face when I’m sad and keep me laughing. I first read your book ‘Why do dogs sniff bottoms?’ on a warm summery day in Tairua with my nanna. It made me laugh so much that I wanted to read it again and again and again. Thanks to you I now have an appreciation for books.

Yours sincerely


A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Joy Cowley writes back to Diane McCarthy (long-time fan)



Kia ora Diane, That is such a lovely letter. Thank you. Shadrach was inspired by Blossom, an elderly Clydesdale who lived at the head of Kenepuru Sound. Being severely arthritic, Blossom chose to stand on the road rather than her cold paddock, and our children had to push her off so that we could drive on. Old horses have a habit of farting as they walk, so there was usually an argument as to who would do the pushing. When Blossom died in her paddock, the kindly road man brought in his digger to bury her, and we all said goodbye to a fine draught horse. But it wasn’t really goodbye, because then she became Shadrach,

Warm regards to you and yours, Diane,