Junior Archive: Letters from Children’s Authors

Rediscovered replies to letters from world-renowned children's authors... Allan Ahlberg, Dick King-Smith and Jill Murphy

A letter of note from children's author

Ex-Junior writer Catherine Hudson recently rediscovered replies to letters she wrote, as a child, to world-renowned children’s authors. Here, we share the replies from Allan Ahlberg, Dick King-Smith and  Jill Murphy. Why not encourage your children to write with questions to their favourite authors? It makes a great alternative to digital entertainment, expands an inquisitive nature and can help with handwriting skills. Plus, receiving a reply via post is very exciting indeed.

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A letter from children’s author Allan Ahlberg

Allan Ahlberg and his wife, Janet, together created some of the world’s most popular children’s books. Recalling any one of their books, Peepo, Each Peach Pear Plum or The Jolly Postman, is bound to induce an overwhleming sense of nostalgia in any parent. The classic Peepo book features in our Top 100 Children’s Books list. And the Ahlberg’s reinterpretation of the tale of Goldilocks won the Junior Design Award 2013 for Best Classic Book.

Re-reading this entertaining letter from Allan makes us want to unearth our copy of The Jolly Postman and snuggle up by the fire for a guaranteed good read. In case you haven’t read Ahlberg’s, Heard it in the Playground, a collection of poetry and songs, The Longest Kiss Contest is a poem within it – hence the question about ‘kissing’ asked by our rather inquisitive writer, Catherine…

A letter of note from children's author, Allan Ahlberg
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A letter from children’s author, Dick King-Smith

Author of such literary modern classics as The Queen’s Nose, The Hodgeheg and, his first book, The Fox Busters, the works of the late Dick King-Smith OBE are firm favourites on many a child’s bookshelf. He is perhaps best known for his novel, The Sheep Pig, which was transformed for the silver screen as Babe.

Reading the letter he wrote in reply to our intrepid, young interviewer, he reveals that his dear wife was his biggest critic: “[She] helps me a lot by listening and telling me when I’m writing rubbish.”

Encouraging your children to write with questions to their favourite authors makes a great alternative to digital entertainment, expands an inquisitive nature and can help with handwriting skills. Plus, receiving a reply via post is very exciting indeed.

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A letter of note from children's author, Dick King-Smith
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A letter from children’s author, Jill Murphy

Who remembers reading The Worst Witch? A quick poll of our office revealed that this haphazard witch was a firm favourite on our bookshelves. Author Jill Murphy based the protagonist, Mildred around her own experiences at school and mentions, in her letter, how she always takes inspiration from things that have happened to her in real life.

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Jill Murphy has also written literary classics, The Last Noo Noo (a tale about getting rid of the dummy), Peace at Last, (voted as one of Junior readers’ favourite books of all time) and the fabulous series of books about the Large elephant family, including A Piece of Cake and A Quiet Night In.

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