Choosing New Books Wisely: “Letters to Anyone and Everyone”

Postmodern Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, pushes against Japanese literary conventions. He encourages a wide reading of texts and says, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

Often times, strong cultural influences impact aesthetic taste, acculturation, and thinking. Therefore, when selecting books it is important to include books written by international authors. Letters to Anyone and Everyone was written by “one of Holland’s most renowned and loved authors . . . [whose books] are loved all through Europe” (Perry, 2010).

The beautiful whimsy of Tellegen and Ahlberg’s Letters to Anyone and Everyone (2010) demonstrates why this author and illustrator are beloved.  The book consists of twenty-three small stories, written as short letters by a group of animals and delivered by the wind from door to door.

Take a look at the first letter:

“Dear Snail,

May I invite you to dance with me on top of your house? Just a few steps? That’s what I want most of all.

I promise I’ll dance very delicately, so we won’t fall through your roof.

But of course, you can never be really sure.

The Elephant”

This quirky epistolary collection engages the imagination as it celebrates cake, friendship, letter writing, and life. Ahlberg’s small and precise drawings add to the poetic experience, bringing rich characters to life and inviting a close viewing of these imaginary communications.

I believe this is one of those books that will inspire thoughts not everyone else is thinking.

Recommended for Independent HCA Readers Grades 2+ and shared reading of HCA Readers Grades Kindergarten+.


Also recommended The Squirrel’s Birthday, and Other Parties (2009), Far Away across the Sea (2012), and A Great and Complicated Adventure (2013)

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