I came across the coolest children's 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. Considering my recent postcard adventures, this book really appealed to me when I saw it. I have a feeling you're going to want to peek inside, right? 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.
And far away in India, Kailash draws the world he sees around him. Two distinctly different places, no doubt each enormously exotic to the other.
Through their letters they share their lives and families and cultures with each other. Aren't these illustrations marvelous?
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. Children's books are great fun--I really need to take more time to look at them. I only wish I knew someone young I could share this with, but perhaps you know of someone? Do look for it at your local library or bookstore. I might just have to buy a copy for myself!
I'm not sure if I mentioned it here that I have tried my hand at mail art? It was a learning experience! I sent out five letters with decorated envelopes and will be getting four in return (one goes to the swap organizer). So far I've only gotten word that one has arrived, and I've received two. As I am busy reading away, and am actually now caught up on writing about books that I've finished (am nearing the end of two more however), I might share the envelopes I sent out. Watch for them later this week.
I'm a little tardy in mentioning this, but did you know this week (May 6-12) is National Postcard Week? Check out this fun video (via), to help get you in the mood! Make somebody's day and send them a postcard! I know I will.