When my eldest daughter was in second grade, she chose her favorite children’s author, Andy Griffiths, as the feature for her first biographical school project. She is an absolute raving fan of the series of graphic novel-style Treehouse books Griffiths developed in partnership with illustrator Terry Denton.
We had fun finding out as much as we could about Griffiths and his life as an author, and my then seven-year-old was absolutely thrilled when she found out that the real life Andy Griffiths had left a comment for her on an Instagram photo of her completed project poster. She was even more excited to meet her favorite author in person a few months later at the launch of the next book in his Treehouse series — and over the moon when he signed that very same poster. Two years later, it is still one of her most treasured possessions.
Communicating with an author (or illustrator) can be a fun way for your child to get really excited about books and reading. And thanks to the marvels of the Internet and social media, it usually isn't very difficult to do.
So how can your child go about connecting with his favorite author? Here are some ideas to try together:
1. Do Some Research
From Eric Carle to Mo Willems, most popular children's authors today have their own websites where they share information about their lives, their creative process, their books and more. On these sites, you and your child can discover interesting facts and answers to the most frequently asked questions, as well as details for making further contact or connecting on social media.
2. Write a Letter
Have your child write a letter to the author. You might suggest that he:
- Share a short introduction and explain why he is writing.
- Tell the author what he likes most about the books or characters.
- Include suggestions for future books.
- Ask any questions he has about the author or the books.
- Thank the author for sharing such wonderful stories and ideas.
Physical letters can be mailed — have your child address his letter to the author and send via the book publisher's address, if an alternative address can't be found on the author's website. He can also send his letter by email if an address is listed on the author's website.
3. Connect via Social Media
If your child's favorite author includes a link to a Facebook page or Instagram account on his or her website, try reaching out through social media. (Note, depending on your child's age, parental supervision is suggested.) Sharing a photo to the author's page or commenting on the news the author’s shared can be one way to elicit a quicker response, depending on how active the author is the account.
4. Attend a Book Signing or Reading
If you are fortunate enough to have your child's favorite author visit your local area for a book signing, reading or other event, it is a fantastic opportunity to attend with your child. Details of upcoming tours are often shared on the author's website. Meeting the face behind the books your child loves can help him develop a greater interest in and respect for the creative process of writing and illustrating. Plus, having a book signed or having a photo taken with the author/illustrator is sure to be a big thrill for a true fan!
Featured Photo Credit: © Portra/iStockphoto