The flip side of reading is, of course, writing. Here, we write a lot of letters. My kids are forced to write (or dictate, as their abilities allow) thank you notes (3 sentence minimum!). They write occasional letters to grandparents and cousins. My younger daughter wrote a letter to Sasha and Malia Obama requesting a playdate (no response yet). They write letters I call constructive criticism to the government (we got a street paved and a pedestrian walk signal lengthened - by a whole 3 seconds! - and sympathy but no results for a complaint about off-leash dogs) and corporations. One of my proudest moments as a mother was when, upon seeing an uprooted bus map pole, my then 2-year-old shouted, "Let's write a letter!"
But best of all, we write letters to authors. Not as many as I'd like, to be honest - often out ambition exceeds our energy or time or quite simply, our interest flags. But we got confirmation from Amy Hest of our hunch that the subway station in Jamaica Louise James was indeed modeled on the 1 station at 86th Street, which is decorated with mosaics of neighborhood scenes done by local teens. And recently each of my daughters received a lovely letter back from Miriam Cohen, author of many children's books. My girls wrote to her about her Mimmy and Sophie books. They had been particularly intrigued by a blurb in the back that said the stories were partly true and they wanted to separate fact from fiction. Ms. Cohen graciously wrote back and let us in on some secrets about which parts were true and which were not.
Do you or your kids write to authors? Which ones? Have you heard back?