February’s recommended reads focuses on the topic of Pen Pals. When you find a book you would like to explore, click on the title and be taken directly to our catalog. Happy reading!

Children

Dear Dragon by Josh Funk
Blaise and George get paired up as pen pals and both are in for a big surprise when they meet one another in person! Dear Dragon, much like any book by Josh Funk, is super fun and silly- with a great rhyme sequence and a touch of heart.  

Can I Be Your Dog by Troy Cummings
Can I Be Your Dog is a charming story told in letters from a lonely dog who is desperate to find a family. Each letter is both silly and sad, with a happy ending that will make it all worthwhile.

Dear Dinosaur by Chae Strathie
After a school trip to the museum, Max writes a letter to his favorite dinosaur and, to his surprise, the T Rex writes back! Kids will love the silly nature of this book, and its fun pull-out letters!

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
The classic story of a child’s misused and misunderstood crayons will make you laugh, smile, and color just a little more gently.

XO, OX by Adam Rex
From Adam Rex, a silly story of unrequited love between a graceful and arrogant gazelle and a loveable ox. 

Dear Justice League by Michael Northrop
This is a fun graphic novel that imagines our favorite superheroes answering fan mail and kind of silly questions from kids!

The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
This adorable story about a mailman delivering and receiving mail from beloved characters in fairy tales. Charmingly, it includes inserts of the letters themselves!

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
What would cows say if they were able to communicate with their farmer? Turns out they have big thoughts and they are not shy about sharing them! Read all about their protest movement in Click, Clack, Moo!

If you Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall
By the Caldecott-winning author and illustrator Sophie Blackall, If You Come to Earth is a story based on the experiences of many children, from all over the world, she got to know in her travels. Endearing illustrations, light humor, and lots of heart bring a message of goodwill to her young audience. 

The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera
The Thank You Letter written and illustrated by Jane Cabrera is a cute story about a sweet girl who starts writing thank you letters for her birthday presents and ends up extending her gratitude way beyond her guest list!

Captain Rosalie by Timothēe de Fombelle
This is a wartime story of a little girl writing to her dad while he’s on the front line. She’s anxiously awaiting his return when she imagines her own secret mission to help the war effort. Isabelle Aresenault’s illustrations in muted colors with bright details bring emotion to sweet Rosalie’s story.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Zoe Washington has a lot on her plate with balancing her grades, her volunteer work, and her aim to participate in a cooking show for kids. When she finds a letter revealing a truth about her biological father that she wasn’t anticipating, she begins the tough work of getting to know him through letters.

Teen​

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
In this novel, Stephen Chbosky was able to articulate the mindset of a teenager tackling challenging life experiences within himself and others through a series of letters full of wry and heartfelt observations.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Prompted by firsthand experience with police mistreatment and tense discussions with peers, high school senior Justyce McAllister finds himself pondering the trials of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and begins a series of letters to the late civil rights icon. 

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
The sequel to Dear Martin follows the troubled character of Quan Banks through his most recent incarceration. In another series of letters, Quan writes to Justyce as a means of finding himself in a world that seems impossible to survive.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
In this adorable novel (also a Netflix movie!), Lara Jean attempts to get her feelings out about her crushes in letters she never intends to mail… but her sister has other plans. With her secret crushes exposed, she learns what could have come of them if she were to be brave! 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Set in WWII, Code Name Verity is an exploration of love in wartime, told in letters and a confession. A favorite for teens and adults who love historical fiction and a mystery that slowly unfolds as you learn about characters you won’t want to part with. 

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces is written as a series of diary entries written by Gabi Hernandez as she chronicles her senior year in high school, trials with friends and family, and finding her identity in a harsh world. 

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Maddy has SCID, a disease that makes her allergic to essentially everything, so her world is limited to her bedroom, her mother, and her nurse- until a new neighbor moves in and changes her life in ways she could never have imagined.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
The book that started the “Simonverse” by Becky Albertalli, a former teen psychologist, who used her work experience to create novels that represented and gave hope to teens she mentored. Simon is a loveable protagonist with a great support system that he comes to rely on as he navigates queer high school romance in a southern town.

Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich
A story based on the play by the same name, Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of Evan Hansen, who recently lost his best friend to suicide and spends the following months navigating an already complicated social life, made worse by some poor decisions.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika and Maritza Moulite
Sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite collaborated for this novel that catalogs a teenager’s volunteer service in Haiti through letters and diary entries as she learns far more about herself and her family than she had anticipated.

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka
As a writing assignment, Pennsylvania teen Caitlin began corresponding with her pen pal, Martin Ganda in Zimbabwe. Both Caitlin and Martin share their stories and letters in this book to tell how they became friends and maintained a friendship that spanned continents and years.

Adult

Where’d you Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This is a quirky story about the daughter of an eccentric shut-in trying to piece together her mother’s whereabouts using the sporadic mail from her unexpected disappearance.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Astronaut Mark Watney was part of the first group to land on Mars, when a dust storm strikes and forces his colleagues to leave him behind, thinking he didn’t survive. Left to his own devices and ingenuity on a foreign planet, he begins a journal to document his experiences.

Meet me at the Museum by Anne Youngson
A friendship develops in this novel in a series of letters exchanged between two history enthusiasts searching for their own pasts.

Fox 8 by George Saunders
Fox 8 is a short novella about a fox whose habitat is destroyed and is thus prompted to engage more closely with humans. Written as a series of letters from the fox, Saunders creates an unusual perspective to an all too common problem.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
An Oprah’s Book Club selection, An American Marriage is a story about systemic racism as told by one couple. Separated by life circumstances and connected by letters to one another, Celestial and Roy will stay in your thoughts for years to come.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Letters play a special role in this famed dystopian novel as language is banned and women are desperate to communicate to make sense of their reality.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
In 1956, a man writes a letter to his son accounting for the history he and his father witnessed firsthand. Gilead serves as a reminder of the value of documenting the human experience for future generations.

Dear Edward by Anne Napolitano
When a young boy is the sole survivor of a devastating plane crash, he is left to attempt to make sense of his world using his splintered memories and the few pieces of information he’s able to find. 

Dear Girls by Ali Wong
Written as Comedian Ali Wong’s letter to her daughters, this book is full of life lessons and insight, with a healthy smattering of humor.

Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce
Emmeline Lake took a job as an advice columnist that gave her an opportunity to help far beyond her calling in WWII London. Pearce writes an unexpectedly humorous and loveable protagonist you will be wishing to correspond with yourself!

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