may i have the envelope, please? …jolly snail mail envelopes to inspire you!

We’ve been celebrating snail mail all week long on Orange Marmalade, considering what makes handwritten letters so great, and discovering loads of picture books featuring letters and snazzy envelopes.

Today I’ve got just a few titles you’ll find in the grown-up section of the library, but that are fun to share with kids to inspire major creativity with snail mail envelopes!
I’ve also pulled together a number of links
to folks selling fun stationery for kids.

letters to klaus cover

Letters to Klaus, by Klaus Fugge
published in 2013 by Andersen Press

Publisher Klaus Fugge is responsible for some brilliant entries in the canon of children’s literature, having commissioned art from Quentin Blake, Edward Ardizzone, David McKee, and many others. In fact, in 1999 he was awarded the Eleanor Farjeon award for outstanding contribution to children’s books.

letters to klaus Tony Ross illustration

Over the years, illustrators employed their fizzing imaginations to decorate the envelopes they sent to his offices, which he of course kept, framing many so that his office became a gallery of the stars.

letters to klaus Philippe Dupasquier illustration

There are 100 utterly delightful reproductions of these little masterpieces in this envelope-shaped book.

letters to klaus Axel Scheffler illustration

  Perusing them is a joy, and finding contributions from many of your favorite illustrators is like going on a treasure hunt. For ages 5 and up.

envelopes by harriet russell

Envelopes, by Harriet Russell
published in 2005 by Random House

Harriet Russell, a British artist, addressed envelopes with a plethora of challenges which required decoding by the postal service in order to deliver them.
Many of them she simply mailed to herself in order to keep track of how many were successfully solved.
I seriously admire the sporting nature of the Royal Mail workers who solved crosswords, dot-to-dots, mazes, and all manner of cryptic notations to get these to their proper destination.

envelope illustration by Harriet Russell

How many of you could have worked this one out?

envelope illustration3 by Harriet Russell

Some were more decorative than puzzling.

evelopes by harriet russell2

There’s plenty of inspiration in her book for out-of-the-box addressing which involves more puzzling skill than pictorial, if that’s your preference, though I cannot guarantee the U.S. postal crew will solve your riddles! A great possibility for slightly older kids, perhaps ages 10 and up.

51HxHdFJBrL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F. Neumeyer, edited by Peter F. Neumeyer
published in 2011 by Pomegranate Communications, Inc.

Author Peter Neumeyer and the extraordinary Edward Gorey collaborated on several children’s books which instigated a prolific spate of correspondence between the two of them. You can read their letters which range into philosophy and personal tidbits but contain a great deal of commentary on literature, children’s literature in particular, films, art, in this collection edited by Neumeyer.

FloatingWorlds_p97

Gorey illustrated the envelopes he sent and what a treasure they are. His macabre figures predominate, with the majority of those pictured bearing this little fellow…

floating worlds3

…a pet “stoej-gnpf” who appears in at least one of their “Donald” collaborations. There are quite a number of his idiosyncratic drawings which might inspire some wildly imaginative creatures on envelopes of your own.

floating worlds2

This is a dense volume only grown-ups will want to read, but the envelopes bear sharing with your kids.

A whole lot of people are experimenting with decorative envelopes these days.  If you just do a Google image search for “envelope art” or something similar, you can gather further inspiration.
One of the things I love about the envelopes in today’s books
is that they were done for the sake of one person rather than an Instagram audience.
One person is more than enough of a reason for beauty and delight.
If you don’t have a budding artistic genius in your household, never fear.  You might find any number of ways to jazz up your envelopes, from constructing them out of tattered books found at a thrift store…

homemade envelopes

…to going berserk with stickers.  Just think what juice and joy it will bring everyone who sees it along its journey!
******

Back in the dark ages when I was a child, there were many kid-centric options for stationery — letters that folded up into their own envelope with cute stickers for decorating and sealing them were some of my favorites.

vintage-current-inc-zoopers_1_3672fb751513ae8766c3cdeadf54514d

Yup. I had this exact set!

It’s much more difficult to locate kid-friendly stationery today, and for some reason the most prevalent products that come up when you search on the internet are personalized sets with a child’s name or monogram on them. I do not know why paper companies believe this is such a huge attraction for children.

After a great deal of snooping around, here are the best options I could find.

First, from Chronicle Books. They’ve got a lot of stationery and note cards on their site, not necessarily geared for kids but certainly good options for some children. My 4 favorites and their links:

bear hugs
forest life
moustachionery
great outdoors

Next, Etsy. I found several sites with cute letter-writing sets. I was especially glad to find some that would appeal to kids who aren’t into cute kittens and cupcakes, whether they are boys or girls!
A few favorites from Sea Urchin Studio: monsters, woodland, dinosaurs:

A couple choices for tweens from Beve Products:

If you are looking for cute bunnies and kittens, Cute Organizing has got you covered:

I love eeboo for their games and puzzles. Turns out they do kid stationery, too.

peace
meadow

Animal-themed stationery seems to be the easiest to find. It’s not necessarily marketed with kids in mind, but these all seemed like happy choices for young writers:
animal faces mochithings

I loved the translucent envelopes! Animal Faces by mochithings

animal fold a notes

animal fold-a-notes

dogs from Paper Source

cute little dogs from Paper Source

midori letter sets

letter writing sets by Midori

sea creatures

cool sea creatures from Papyrus

critters

whimsical critters by Donna Wilson

Finally, I looked for stationery with beloved characters but could find very little. There are a number of sets of Harry Potter themed stationery which you can easily find yourselves. Paper Source had this one set of Paddington stationery:

paddington

If you know of sources for delightful stationery well-suited to kids, please tell us in the comments!

I hope you’ve drawn some measure of inspiration this week and that at least a few more mail boxes will see some hand-written couriers of love, creativity, and kindness in 2020!