• JoAnne Saldanha

Letter writing and stories.

"Writing to someone, taking the time to craft each letter, to buy a stamp, to select an envelope, to travel to the post office—none of this goes unnoticed. A letter, before the content is even read, has already said, 'I care about you. You’re someone special.' And that is a message that all enjoy." —Wesley Baines, Beliefnet

Can you remember when you last wrote a letter and did just what the quote says? Go to a post office to buy stamps and slip that sliver of folded paper through the mouth of a post box? Actually, have you even noticed a postbox recently?

When I came across the quote above, I pulled out 2 books tucked away in my bookshelf...both bringing the nostalgic, heartwarming art of writing letters to the fore.

‘LETTERS TO KRISHA’ written by Parinita Shetty, illustrated by Sahitya Rani is a happy little tale narrated in a series of letters. When Krisha misses school because she has had an operation, her teacher gets her classmates to keep her up to date and connected with them by encouraging them to write letters. Each letter reveals a bit of her classmates personality and a wee bit of a surprise that they have strict instructions not to reveal.

Children will find the characters familiar...they made me think about my own classmates and the children I work with. The complainer, the compassionate one, the ‘latest news’ broadcaster, the self-centered one, the questioner, the best friend, the new girl and the one who feels overshadowed...revealed themselves through the letters.

This fun read can serve as a study of homophones, rekindle some letter writing and a fun exercise in which each letter could serve as a wonderful study of character.

Sahitya Rani's illustrations were nostalgic for me and gave me the feel of my old Bal Bharathi textbooks. Through the expressions she detailed on each character, she enhances the personality revealed by their letter. Bright and colourful, the illustrations add to the excitement and celebratory end.

The second book is featured in the next post.


LETTERS TO AMMI by Aftab Yusuf Shaikh, photographs by Adrija Ghosh and Soumitra Ranade is part of The City Series by Karadi Tales...yet it is so much more than just a tour around Delhi’s iconic landmarks.

Fatima, who is visiting her Uncle and Aunt in Delhi writes letters to her Ammi after visiting different monuments and locations in Delhi. With every letter, a story emerges...that of a young girl who relives her mothers life in her hometown...Delhi through conversations with her Uncle and Aunt, through the memories each monument and locations she visits hold. At each of them, she connects her mothers story with the story of the monument itself.

Although the book doesn't feature death, it touches on death, the emptiness, the grief and how those left behind try to make sense of it and cope. In this case letter writing proves to be cathartic.

The sepia toned pages with the burst of colour from a single Gulmohar flower on each spread, set the nostalgic tone for this book.

The pictures are stunning and I love Soumitra Ranade's images in the Varanasi book which is also part of this series. There are a few line drawings along with the image which I find unusual and unique.

One book fun, one poignant...both nostalgic with the lost art of letter writing.

Nothing can quite compare to the joy of receiving a newsy hand written letter or one of appreciation. Just hold on to that long forgotten feeling...maybe if we give some, we may get some in return?

Go on look for those red post boxes!!!


Both the books featured in this post are published by Karadi Tales.


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