How to Send a Hug by Hayley Rocco, illustrated by John Rocco

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary:  A girl tells readers that she is known for being good at giving hugs, but she can’t hug her grandmother, who lives far away.  Talking on the phone or via computer isn’t quite good enough, so the girl explains how she sends a hug through the mail.  After writing a letter with her favorite marker, she puts it in a special jacket (envelope), addresses it, and sticks the ticket for its trip (stamp) on the front.  The Hug Delivery Specialist (mail carrier) takes it to the post office, and the wait begins.  While she’s waiting for Grandma’s answer, she thinks of others around the world receiving hugs, whether they’re delivered by donkey, jeep, bicycle, or boat.  Finally, she gets a hug back from her grandmother, complete with fragrant rose petals from her garden. Includes an author’s note about her own experiences with mail as a child.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Considering the somewhat imperiled state of the USPS, there certainly seem to be plenty of picture books serving as love letters to it.  This would make a great companion to The Lost Package, Letters from Space, or Sincerely, Emerson.  It’s also a good mentor text for procedural writing.  I always love John Rocco’s illustrations, and his wife’s debut picture book is excellent as well.

Cons:  Parts of Grandma’s letter are obscured by the illustration.

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