Want to teach your kids how to write a letter? Start by reading children’s books picture mentor texts filled with letter writing, and use them as examples!
Mentor texts like these children’s books provide excellent examples and ideas for teaching the format of letter writing as well as voice (tone) and organization.
Read the epistolary books on this list of children’s books that model letter writing for kids — and make letter writing fun! Kids will enjoy the stories and learn about writing letters.
Children’s Books to Teach Letter Writing to Kids
Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings
Arfy wants a forever home. So he sends letters to “The People at Yellow House” and “Butcher Lady” and “Fire Station No. 5” and many others detailing his many fine qualities. For example, he can fetch boots, he can keep the floor clean, he’s potty trained, and will bark if people steal stuff. But no one wants him. He’s lonely, discouraged, and sad. Until he gets a surprising letter from the mail carrier who wants to be his person!! YAY!!! Written in letter format, this is a sweet story that teachers can use to model both letter writing and persuasive writing.
Is This Your Class Pet? by Troy Cummings
Sequel to CAN I BE YOUR DOG?, our darling narrator named Arfy accidentally “fetches” a turtle that he thought was a rock. Now Arfy searches for the turtle’s home by writing letters and emails to the different people at the elementary school. Does the turtle belong to the librarian or the principal or maybe the lunchroom cooks? Clues hidden throughout will help readers predict where the turtle belongs. You’ll love everything about this story including the warmhearted, perfect ending!
The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera
After her birthday party, Grace writes thank you letters for her gifts. Then she continues her letters expanding to her dog and people all over town. The end shows all the sweet notes she gets in return.
Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett
A boy named Alex writes letters to get ideas on how to care for his dragon...letters to the Fire Brigade and World Animal Welfare, for example. How can he take care of a dragon? The story is cute. It’s about what to do with an unexpected dragon in your house — and the illustrations are delightful. But the selling point of the whole book is the five letters that kids can take out of the envelopes.
Letters From Maisy by Lucy Cousins
Maisy is exploring the world. As she visits different places, she sends letters to her friends. Reach into the envelopes to pull out the letters. She even sends gifts like the fan for Ella and the horse for Tallulah. Isn’t this ADORABLE? Use this book to prompt your own letter writing!
Yours in Books by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo
A charming story on the power of books and community told in letters (epistolary) between a grumpy owl and a gregarious, insightful bookselling Squirrel. Owl writes to Squirrel about Owl’s new NOISY neighbors. Squirrel sends Owl just the right books to help Owl enjoy the company of the visiting children. So instead of sending The Busy Owl’s Guide to Fodo That Will Not Entice Neighbor Children to Stop By Uninvited, Squirrel sends 50 Fanciful Biscuits and Cakes. Before you know it, grumpy Owl throws a large tea party for everyone.
The Night Monster by Sushree Mishra, illustrated by Sanket Pethkar
Letter writing to monsters? YES! Avi tells his sister, Swati, that he’s scared of a monster at night. Swati suggests that Avi write the monster a letter. To his surprise, the monster (who is actually the big sister) writes back. Back and forth (with some lift-the-flaps) Avi and the not-a-monster communicate. Avi soon realizes that the night is not a monster. In fact, he waits for the night to bring him sweet dreams.
Dear Dinosaur by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne
Max writes the museum’s T. Rex a letter — and he gets a slightly rude reply back. But don’t worry, Max isn’t daunted. He writes back the T. Rex with more questions. The two begin a pen pal dialogue of funny and entertaining letters, some of which you can lift or open a flap to read. Dear Dinosaur is highly entertaining and engaging.
Dear Teacher by Amy Husband
Michael explains in a series of letters to his new teacher all the reasons WHY he will not be attending school. And the reasons are hilariously unrealistic. But you gotta love that kind of imagination!
XO, OX A Love Story by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Camp
In a word: hilarious! Ox writes love letters to his crush, Gazelle but Gazelle can NOT imagine anything more horrifying than a smelly, large, stout, clumsy brained ox. As the letters are exchanged, you’ll see how persistent and forgiving Ox is even when insulted very eloquently by Gazelle. Try imagining yourself and imaginary friends or your own characters writing back and forth to each other.
PenPals Forever by CK Smouha and J Lindenberger
I love this darling story of unexpected pen pals — an elephant and a mouse — who become good friends through their letter writing. They even travel to visit each other in real life — and help each other with the difficulties they are having. Cartoon, pastel illustrations.
Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World by Pope Francis
Letters from children (whose names, ages and country are included) ask Pope Francis questions about all sorts of topics such as what makes him happy, why do people suffer, why do parents argue, how to find God . . . Pope Francis replies to each letter with love and thoughtfulness in a conversational, kid-friendly manner.
How to Send a Hug by Halye Rocdo, illustrated by John Rocco
Artie loves giving hugs, but her grandma is far away, so she decides to send a hug in the form of a letter. Super sweet with fabulous illustrations.
The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey illustrated by Garry Parsons
(ages 6 – 8)
Written in increasingly funny (and alarming) letters we learn that Uncle Morton left his pet dragon for Edward and his mom and sister to watch — with no directions!! The dragon poops in their shoes, eats their pet bunny, and causes all kinds of destruction which all are the subjects of Edward’s letters to his nowhere-to-be-found uncle. Finally, Edward hears from his uncle who suggests feeding the dragon chocolate. Will Edward’s mom lose her mind? And will the chocolate work?
Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind by Cynthia Grady
When Japanese American children are sent to internment camps with their families during World War II, a librarian gives the children’s leaving books and asks them to write her letters. This story tells about the children’s lives — from their thoughts on the books to what happened to them.