I came across the coolest book in my library recently. This little gem was headed for the juvenile stacks, and when I saw what it was about I had to check it out and bring it home for a closer look. Anyone who loves to write letters will appreciate the story of Elliot and Kailash in Same, Same but Different written and illustrated by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. I have a feeling you're going to want to peek inside, so let me share a few illustrations with you.
The endpapers have all the lovely stamps that grace the envelopes that fly back and forth across the ocean between Elliot in America and Kailash in India.
When you were in school, did your teacher ever match you with a child from somewhere far away? A penpal from another country you could send letters to and learn about their life and culture? I had just such a teacher, though I was older than Elliot. My first penpal lived in Ireland and we met via the mail (and later on in real life) when I was in high school. In Elliot's case, his art teacher sent a drawing that Elliot made of his world to another child far away.
Kailash sent a picture of his world back and the two boys become friends. Through their letters they share their lives and families and cultures with each other. Aren't these illustrations marvelous?
As each boy shares his life with the other, and though it seems there are many differences between the two cultures, they discover that in many ways their lives and worlds are much the same!
This is an utterly charming book, and anyone who has appreciated the delight of having a penpal and getting a card or letter in the mail from somewhere very far away would love this book. Do look for it at your local library or bookstore. I might just have to buy a copy for myself!
I forgot to mention, did you know this week, May 6-12, is National Postcard Week? Check out this fun video in honor of the mighty postcard (very amusing and well done!). I found it via one of my favorite letter writing blogs. I think I might just have to send out an extra postcard or two!