Excerpted from my daughter’s letter to an author. A school assignment she said “may or may not include exaggeration.” Given there is inescapable guilt involved in raising a child who travels between parents all of her life, it is nice to be reassured I did something right.
Dear Audrey Penn:
When I was 3 to the time I was 5 my mom would read the book The Kissing Hand to me every night [exaggeration]. Kissing my hand became a kind of ritual between us. She did it before preschool, play dates, lights out or anything we wouldn’t be together for.
Before my first day of kindergarten my mom read The Kissing Hand to me and kissed my hand. Throughout the day I would put my hand to my face and it helped me get through that nerve racking day, but I refused to wash my hands until I got home. I had to explain why I was touching my face with filthy hands to my new found friends who had sadly never read the book.
The first time I went to a stay away camp I wanted my mom to kiss my hand but because it wouldn’t last I made her put lipstick on and kiss a piece of paper. I always kept it in my pocket and under my pillow at night. I didn’t miss her the whole week and truthfully I missed my hamster more than my parents.
I was wondering if Chester is based on you or someone you know? Do you like how the illustrations fit with the story? I think it was a beautiful combination.
Thank you for writing a beautiful and powerful book that has helped kids on their endeavors of the first day of school, letting them know they are loved wherever they are in the world.