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Growing Reader

11 Picture Books That Teach Kids About Letter Writing

by Melissa Taylor

Epistolary children's books

Kids still need to know how to write a letter to someone, despite the rise of technology. After all, people send electronic letters all the time. Teach kids all about letter writing using these playful picture books whose stories contain many types of letters. They’ll model communication, the structure of a letter, and writing with voice. Then maybe, your students will be inspired to write a few letters of their own.

  • Can I Be Your Dog?

    by Troy Cummings

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    Children will fall in love with Arfy, a sweet, homeless dog who wants a forever home. Arfy sends persuasive letters to different people in the neighborhood that list his many adoptable abilities. For example, he’s potty trained, he can fetch, and he will bark at intruders. What’s not to love? But no one wants to adopt Afry. Until he gets a heart-warming offer from someone unexpected…

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  • Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale

    by Josh Funk, illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

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    For a school project, George becomes pen pals with Blaise. Their letters back and forth share typical news about their lives. Just like typical pen pals, right? In a fun twist that readers have known all along, George and Blaise meet at a picnic and are surprised to discover that George is a human and Blaise is a dragon.

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  • Ten Thank-You Letters

    by Daniel Kirk

    Pig is busy writing a letter to his grandma about the weather when Rabbit comes to visit. Rabbit exuberantly joins in on the letter-writing and begins busily writing one thank-you note after the other. Even though Pig wishes Rabbit wouldn’t be so noisy, Rabbit’s thank-you note to Pig reminds Pig to be thankful about their friendship.

  • Dear Dinosaur

    by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne

    Max has questions about dinosaurs so he writes a letter to the museum’s T. Rex. Surprisingly, T. Rex writes back. His arrogant yet surprisingly chatty letters to Max will crack you up. (“You don’t seem to be nearly as scared as you should be.”) Many of the letters are lift-the-flaps, making the reading experience extra fun.

  • The Day the Crayons Quit

    by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

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    Hilarious letters from individual coloring crayons express their many frustrations with Duncan’s crayon usage. Their concerns include (but are not limited to) being neglected, being used only to color certain objects, and being exhausted from overwork. What will Duncan do now that the crayons have explained their frustrations?

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  • XO, OX: A Love Story

    by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Campbell

    Older readers will appreciate the humor in this side-splitting exchange of letters between love-struck Ox and his crush, Gazelle, who does not return Ox’s affections. No matter what insults Gazelle writes back to Ox, Ox remains oblivious and devoted. Be sure to look closely at the illustrations’ details, especially at the end.

  • Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones

    by Gene Barretta

    Aunt Ant writes letters to Dear Deer describing all of the silliness she sees around her at her new home, the zoo. (“The MOOSE loves MOUSSE. / He ATE EIGHT bowls.”) Deer writes her aunt back sharing her own news. (“Do you KNOW about the HARE with NO HAIR?”) It’s a silly story that celebrates homophones, making them more understandable to kids.

  • Dear Teacher

    by Amy Husband

    Michael writes his teacher a series of excuse letters with wacky reasons why he will not be attending school: he’s been attacked by pirates, he’s treasure hunting in Egypt, and he’s been recruited by the secret service. His savvy teacher writes back, sharing her condolences on all the fun — including a zoo field trip and soccer — Michael will be missing at school. Will she convince Michael to change his mind?

  • I Wanna Iguana

    by Kren Kaufman Orloff, illustrated by David Catrow

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    In a series of letters, Alex tries to convince his mom to let him have an iguana. His mom replies with dry humor and classic parenting logic. Kids and parents both will love this funny story filled with exuberant illustrations.

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  • The Jolly Postman

    by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Janet Ahlberg

    In this book, the Jolly Postman delivers mail to familiar fairy tale characters. Readers open envelopes to read the actual letters he delivers, such as Goldilocks’s apology letter to the Three Bears, a lawyer’s letter warning The Big Bad Wolf that he’d better move out of Grandma’s cottage, and junk mail for the Wicked Witch.

  • A Letter to My Teacher

    by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

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    In this picture book, the narrator writes a letter to her second grade teacher to thank her for being a source of endless support and understanding when she was a student. She fondly recalls the patience with which her teacher approached her reading challenges and difficulty sitting still. The story serves as a sweet reminder to students that they can tackle the obstacles they face — and that their teacher is there to help.

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If you’re looking for more book picks, reading tips, and educator resources for your classroom or library, make sure to check out our Teach Brightly page!