please mr. postman…picture books celebrating the joy of letters-in-the-mailbox

Earlier this week I wrote about the peculiar kindness of a hand-written letter.

Today, I’ve got some picture books starring snail mail and links to some great titles featured in previous posts over the years.
Most of these books include actual letters to read. Some even have envelopes to open making them extra-juicy!

The first story on today’s list is about a very unusual piece of mail:

mailing may cover image

Mailing May, written by Michael O. Tunnell, illustrated by Ted Rand
published in 1997 by Greenwillow Books

This is a cherished old favorite of mine based on a true story which makes it soar ever so much higher!

In 1914, a very special parcel was sent via the US Postal Service — a five-year-old girl named Charlotte May! That little package was delivered from her parents to her grandmother, traveling 75 miles through the Idaho mountains in the mail car of a train, superintended by her mama’s cousin, the railway postal clerk.

mailing may illustration Ted Rand

May narrates her own tale of this charming postal expedition, accompanied by the lovely, warm watercolors of Ted Rand. The sweetness of yesteryear, for ages 4 and up.

special deliveries cover

Special Deliveries, by Alexandra Day and Cooper Edens, illustrated by Alexandra Day
published in 2001 by Harper Collins

From the woman who brought us the beloved books about Carl the dog comes this story of a family-run postal service delivering much more than just the mail.

Mama and her daughters, along with their extensive menagerie, have been looking for a job to help make ends meet, so they welcome the news that they’ll be the new postal carriers for the folks in their rural valley.

special deliveries Alexandera Day

Immediately the animals are enlisted in the most unusual postal corps you’ve ever seen! As the troop parcels out the mail, they realize some members of their community never get any letters, so they set about creating good cheer for them. What they receive in return is an explosion of good will.  Heavily-told through image only, this is a beautiful, ever-relevant story of love and community for ages 3 and up.

the thank you letter cover

The Thank You Letter, written and illustrated by Jane Cabrera
published in 2019 by Holiday House

Proving that letter-writing is not only a thing of the past, here’s a friendly, contemporary story of Grace, her jolly birthday party, and the plethora of thank you notes she writes afterward.

In fact, Grace gets on such a roll with writing thank you’s, she keeps going well beyond the obvious gift-givers, all of which inspires a surprising, delightful response.  Charming, for ages 3 and up.

the quiet place cover

The Quiet Place, written by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
published in 2012 by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers

This dear story is written completely as a series of letters from young Isabel, who has recently moved to the U.S. from her home in Mexico, to her beloved Aunt Lupita. In them, she reveals the slow, difficult process of settling into a new place.

the quiet place Stewart and Small

It’s 1957, and Isabel’s letters, sent over a period of four months, tell about all that she misses, all that is new, and about the quiet place she has created, a private hideaway for herself and her books when the tumult of adjustment to a new culture is just a bit too much. Illustrated with uncommon warmth by David Small, it’s a lovely, poignant portrait of the journey of a newcomer. Ages 5 and up.

herman's letter cover

Herman’s Letter, written and illustrated by Tom Percival
published in 2013 by Bloomsbury

Herman and Henry have been best buds for ever so long, but now, sadly,  Henry is moving away. They promise to write to one another and they do…

herman's letter Tom Percival

…but the letters Herman receives from Henry make him miserably jealous. It seems like Henry is happy as can be without him! When Herman finally receives assurance that he’s still loved and missed by his pal, he decides to deliver a letter in person. It’s quite a mishap-laden adventure, that comes with a very happy ending.  Lots of little letters to open and read are included in this treat of a friendship story! Ages 4 and up.

dear peter rabbit cover

Dear Peter Rabbit, written by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Leslie Tryon
published in 1994 by Atheneum

This is the first in a series featuring fairy tale characters corresponding with one another.

To begin with, Peter Rabbit receives an invitation to a house-warming party from the Little Pig who built his house of straw.  Meanwhile, letters are flying back and forth between Goldilocks and Baby Bear that reveal all kinds of goings-on in Fairytale Land, including previously-unsuspected family ties and gossip about a little girl dressed in red and seen talking to an actual wolf!

Gorgeous illustration work accompanies these clever letters, perfect for kids who know their fairy tales, ages 5 and up.

Find twenty more super books by clicking on any title to read my original review.

Dear Dragon, written by Josh Funk, illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Dear Professor Whale written by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake

Delivering Justice: W.W. Law and the Fight for Civil Rights, written by Jim Haskins, illustrated by Benny Andrews

Delivery, written and illustrated by Aaron Meshon

The Father Christmas Letters, written and illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Goldilocks Variations, written by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg

Harvey Hare’s Christmas, written and illustrated by Bernadette Watts

It Came in the Mail, written and illustrated by Ben Clanton

The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

A Letter for Bear, written and illustrated by David Lucas

Letters of Thanks: A Christmas Tale, written by Manghanita Kempadoo, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Letters to a Prisoner, by Jacques Goldstyn

Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip, written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds, written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc

Mystery Bottle, written and illustrated by Kristen Balouch

Snowshoe Thompson, written by Nancy Smiler Levinson, illustrated by Joan Sandin

Special Delivery, written by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, written by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe written by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake


Later this week I’ll have one final post in my postal push
featuring a few titles
showcasing crazy, mysterious, and artsy envelopes!
Funny, imaginative, and sure to get your creative juices flowing.
a few links to that rarest bird of all — fun stationery for kids!