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Curly Grandma's Letters

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Delightful book by Anita Bryce is chockful of advice from Curly Grandma about writing to kids.

Delightful book by Anita Bryce is chockful of advice from Curly Grandma about writing to kids.

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The Bottom Line

Don't pick up this book unless you are prepared to be bitten by the letter-writing bug. If, however, you are seeking a way to strengthen bonds with your grandchildren, Curly Grandma's Letters is the book for you. You'll be instructed by reams of advice about writing letters to children, and you'll be inspired by the examples of Curly Grandma's letters.

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Pros

  • Lively and interesting
  • Filled with examples
  • Advice for all ages
  • Can be downloaded as an audio book
  • Lots of lists and diagrams

Cons

  • Not indexed

Description

  • Published by Tate Publishing
  • 172 pages
  • List price $19.99
  • Paperback

Guide Review

Yes, you can! Write letters to grandchildren, that is. It doesn't matter if they are still in the cradle or if they are half-grown and have never received a letter from you. Writing letters to children is a lost art that shouldn't be lost, and Curly Grandma is just the person to teach you how to revive it.

Anita Bryce, also known as Curly Grandma, has developed a method for corresponding with her grandchildren that begins with paper and pen, a hole puncher and some three-ring notebooks. A notebook goes to each child who is going to receive letters, and one stays with the grandparent. The grandparent writes and illustrates a letter--more about the illustrations later--and makes a copy. Both the original and the copy are hole-punched. Sticky reinforcements will keep the holes from tearing out. The copy goes in the grandparent's notebook. The original goes into a decorated envelope, along with everything the child will need to respond: stationery and a stamped envelope, pre-addressed for young kids.

That's the process. The pay-off is tons and tons of fun for the grandchildren--and benefits for grandparents as well. Bryce stresses that grandparents shouldn't expect rapid responses from grandchildren. The grandchildren will probably want to write back, but Bryce warns again turning the correspondence into a "scorecard." "The grandparent will write many more letters than the child," she notes. The idea behind giving the grandchildren notebooks is that they will have a place to save their letters. Like the return letters, that may not happen, but if the grandparent keeps a copy, it will be available if the grandchildren ever want to make their collections complete.

Grandparents will reap rewards even if they never get a return letter. Besides the mental exercise that comes with writing, sharing one's feelings is emotionally satisfying. Reminiscing about the past is a natural antidepressant. Laughter is also wonderful medicine, and Bryce strongly advises adding humor to letters.

Bryce shares many examples of her letters, and all of them are illustrated in a delightful style. For those who are not artistically inclined, she advises using stick figures, and she teaches how to add clothes and facial expressions to make even stick figures come to life. She suggests labeling your drawings in case the meaning isn't clear and including vivid adjectives in the label. For example, a summertime letter might include a sketch of the grandparent sweating with the label, "Steamy Grandma." Bryce also advises decorating the envelope, and she shares how to do this without interfering with the optical character readers used by the post office.

Getting a letter from Curly Grandma is usually a learning experience as well, because she likes to include unusual words, although she is careful to use illustrations or context clues to explain meanings.

There's much, much more in this book, such as hints for writing letters to children of specific ages and advice for sharing family history in letters. But if you're a grandparent, you have letters to write. If you're a long-distance grandparent, this book is a must-have. Read Anita's account of how letters helped her stay close to her grands. If you live near your grandchildren, letters are still a wonderful way to connect. If you still have doubts, pick up Bryce's book. I don't know of any investment that could pay off so richly, not in money, but in the grandparents' currency, love.

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