What was your favorite book when you were a kid? Maybe, if you are like me, you have lots of favorites – and just thinking of them makes you smile doesn’t it?!?
One fabulous thing that I do for my kids (I know, I’m modest aren’t I? he-he) is keeping a collection of their favorite childhood books. BUT, not just any collection – I contact the authors and/or illustrators and arrange to have them sign copies of their books to my children. My kids think the books are very cool now – because having an author/illustrator sign a book especially to you IS cool!!!!! So I let them peruse them and enjoy some of the coolness now – but, I actually keep the autographed collections on a higher shelf in the library so they will stay in good shape for when my guys are adults with kids of their own and will REALLY appreciate how cool they are! (=
Today some fabulous books arrived for our collection! Daniel Kirk was gracious enough to autograph a set of Library Mouse books for each of my boys. And not only did he autograph them – he also drew a Mouse character in each one! The boys thought the books with the drawings were SO COOL (and I have to agree)!! Here are a couple photos.
I started this book tradition when I contacted Sandra Boynton to autograph “Pajama Time,” and “Snuggle Puppy” for Riley when he was a toddler. Some others I’ve gotten are “I’m Mighty,” and “I’m Dirty” by Kate and Jim Mcmullan; “How I Became a Pirate” and “Pirates Don’t Change Diapers” by Melinda Long and “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff. I’ve also gotten some Fancy Nancy books autographed by the fabulous illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser for my fancy little niece Maddie, and managed to track down Father Gander (who is now a professor) to get one of my friend’s an autographed childhood favorite for a baby shower present.
I have to say, getting the autograph from the author who published during my childhood was kind of difficult – but getting the autographs from my kids’ favorite authors was very easy!! For this reason I suggest you start your child’s autographed collection while their favorite authors are still active and easy to find on the internet! (=
Here’s how to start your child’s priceless collection of childhood favorites:
- Pick a few of your child’s favorite books – you probably have them memorized from cover to cover don’t you?
- Search for the Author/Illustrator website. On their website will be a listing of book signings they are doing, and if there happens to be a book signing in your area you can go this route to get the autographed book. BUT, the route I recommend going is to find the Contact Me link and send them an email. (I’ve noticed that when you mail the books you sometimes get fun drawings with the autographs like the ones Daniel Kirk did – but, when you go to a book signing they usually have a long line so there might not be time for these fun personal touches.)
- When you email the author/illustrator start by telling them which books your kid loves and explain to them that you are trying to gather a collection of autographed favorites for your kid. Ask them if they are willing to autograph some books if you mail them along with money for return postage. (Note: I think it’s very important and polite to include return postage for them.) Then ask them for the address to send the books to if they are willing to autograph them.
- Every author I have asked so far has responded rather quickly (love that fast email) that they are willing to do so! So, I buy new copies of the books I want autographed – because of course, my kids will still want their well-loved and worn copies out to read and I keep the autographed copies safe on a shelf. Then I package up the book(s) and BEFORE I seal the envelope/box I weigh the package so I know how much money to include for return postage.
Included in each package I send to an author/illustrator:
- Book(s) – each with a post it stuck to it saying who I want it signed to, and all wrapped together in bubble wrap
- Envelope with — a print out of the email they sent to me (so they have a reference as to who I am) with my return address printed neatly, a thank you note, and cash to pay for return shipping
- Mail your package off and wait for your FUN MAIL to arrive!! If you haven’t heard back in a few weeks, feel free to follow up (nicely!) via email. Remember they might even be busier than you are (which I know is hard to believe) and they are doing their best to get back to you. And if the author is on tour and your package takes longer than expected to arrive – it may just arrive with an extra goody…. (= Robin Preiss Glasser included an extra copy of her book “Tea For Ruby” that was autographed by her and the author, Sarah The Duchess of York, when she cut it close for a holiday present I’d been planning – it was definitely worth the wait! (=
I’ve had only good luck with every author/illustrator I’ve contacted and I wish you luck starting your priceless collection!