Tag Archives: A festival of letters

Late arrival! A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Author, librarian, Desna Wallace writes back to Zian




Dear Zian

Thank you so much for your lovely letter. I’m so glad you enjoyed my book. Just keep writing something every day and I know one day I will see your name on a book.

All the best, Zian.

From Desna




Poetry Box April Challenge  is here



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!!  paulajoygreen@gmail.com


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: 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,





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




Kia ora Joy Cowley.

I am 67, and my daughter who is 33. We both love your book, Bow Down Shadrach.

When Megan was young, I had a job where I had to travel away from home, and visit teachers in schools. I visited bookshops in Nelson, Blenheim and Wellington. We read each new book together when I returned.

We liked this story best because it was about children being kind to an old horse. We loved it because it was set in the Marlborough Sounds where my father, Megan’s Grand Dad Jock, lived as a boy. You lived there too.

Thank you for writing real kiwi stories for kiwi kids. You can’t do better than that!


Nga mihi Diane McCarthy.

A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Author and librarian, Jo van Dam, writes to Kyle Mewburn




Dear Kyle,

Thank you for your creativity, diversity and quirkiness!

Thank you for providing my students (and me) with such a wide range of fabulous picture books. From thought-provoking stories to challenging tongue twisters, to laugh out loud funny….I love reading them to classes when they visit the library.

Thank you for writing a variety of series which offer a welcome change from mutants and zombies, and for writing great stand-alone chapter books, full of humour and drama.

Thank you for making my life as a librarian easier. I know I can recommend your titles to parents and children, with confidence. 

Best Regards,

Jo van Dam 


Westmere School




A festival of letters to NZ children’s authors: Kōwhai  (6) writes to Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris




Dear Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris,


I loved your book, Promised Land. 

I liked the ending, and the family. I liked when Jack carried Leo from the fire. Leo was my favourite. 

I liked that the forest was actually moving.

Writing is my favourite at school. Was writing your favourite at school?

I read at nighttime and at school. I don’t mean like practicing reading. I mean like actually reading, with a reading buddy. We read these chapter books. 

I liked when Leo got trapped up in that jail. 

Why did Gideon want the land? 

Is the Eve in the story of The Legend of Eve the same as the blue Eve?

I loved your story.

From Kōwhai 

Age 6

Newtown School