During the summer of last year, I received a letter from Anna Branford. She said that she loved reading The Magic Onions and had been following our story for quite a few years. She said she felt a strong connection to our family and thanked me for sharing our lives with her. She explained that she was an Australian authoress of children’s books and had a strong feeling that Kitty, my then 8-year-old, would really enjoy reading one of her books… and could she send one to her. Yes, I replied gratefully.
A few weeks later, a package arrived for Kitty. She tore open the wrapping and was delighted to find inside; a book, a pretty little matchbox and a letter from Anna. Anna explained that the matchbox contained little treasures from the story and could Kitty the treasure that related to each chapter?
Kitty’s eyes twinkled with delight. She has always been a lover of little things and to think that each chapter had a treasure was truly enchanting to her. Until then, she had not yet desired to read a chapter book on her own… she preferred to read picture books and leave the chapter books for our bedtime reading with me reading aloud to her.
She opened the matchbox and poured over the sweet little creations inside… a gnome, a tiny cloths peg, a pretty little shell…
A golden cat, a snowflake, a jewel…
She read the title of the book… ‘Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot’. “Mom” she said… “I think I want to read this book and find where the treasures belong.”
She opened the book and on the first page was a note written especially to her! “To Kitty, who I bet is a brilliant plotter herself! Love from Anna”.”MOM!” Kitty gasped… “this book is about a girl just like me!”
And, thus began Kitty’s love of reading. She devoured Anna’s gorgeous book, reading chapter after chapter and matching the treasures from the matchbox as she followed the story. And Violet turned out to be just like Kitty too… a knitter, a vintage flea market lover, a finder of tiny treasures.
“Mom!” Kitty said when she had finished Anna’s book, “A whole new world has just opened up to me!”
And so it has!
Thank you Anna, for taking extra special care with your gift to Kitty. I have no doubt that the little matchbox of treasures you included was the spark that lit the fire that now burns all on it’s own. So thoughtful and so clever!
Your book is a treasure… a little girls first experience of what a joy reading can be.
I highly recommend the Violet Mackerel series… it’s delightful! Here is a link to Anna Branford’s website to read more about her and her books.
Blessings and magic to little readers everywhere,