A Kid's Review:

"Letters From Rapunzel is definitely my favorite book. I love how there's so much imagination in the book. I still wonder how the author thought of this. It is really touching too. I laughed and I cried a lot. I really felt that a preteen wrote this since 'Rapunzel' seems to think just like my friends and me. It was really funny how Rapunzel compared reality to fairy tales."

Why Fairy Tales?

IĎve always loved fairy tales, and as a child, read every one of Andrew Langís ďFairyĒ books. Later, I admired Donna Jo Napoliís re-tellings, especially Zel (a version of Rapunzel), and William J. Brookeís playful collections, including A Teller of Tales.

One of my first published short stories was an original fairy tale, ďA Tale of Quiet,Ē which appeared in Cricket magazine in May 2000. My favorite fairy tale is ďEast of the Sun, West of the Moon,Ē probably both because of its fabulous title, and because the girl gets to rescue the prince.

Why Letters?

Why did I write the book as mostly letters? Maybe because when I was growing up, I had a hard time talking about anything emotionally risky. So I wrote letters insteadóto my family, to my friends, and to the man who later became my husband.

I also enjoy reading collections of letters, and one of my favorites is Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. Many of the authors to whom she writes in the 60ís and 70ís were creating the very books that I was carrying home from the library as a child.

In the spring of 2004, I loaned Dear Genius to my mother, who had just finished reading it when I called to tell her that that Letters From Rapunzel had won the first annual Ursula Nordstrom Fiction Prize!

Iím very honored to be published by Ursula Nordstromís house, HarperCollins, and to advance her vision of ďGood books for bad children.Ē

Letters From Rapunzel

Letters From Rapunzel (HarperCollins, Feb. 2007)

2:02 a.m.

Dear Box #5667,

Let me get right to the point. Itís the middle of the night, I canít sleep, and YOU are the pea under my mattress.

This letterís about my dad, Aaron Brogan. I found a piece of a letter he was going to mail you, torn up and stuck down the side of his chair. Thatís how I got your address (part of it, anywayĖI couldnít find your name).

I couldnít make sense of most of the letter, since it was only a piece, but the part I could read said:

ďÖYou are the secret to my success as a poet and a human being. Writing these letters every day has helped me keep my heart open, to be willing to live, to keep the darknessÖĒ

The rest was torn off. I wish Iíd found it sooner. Maybe then I couldíve written you right away, and asked you how to save him. Because last week he fell victim to the Evil Spell again.

The last time this happened, he had to be away for three days. This time, heís already been gone a week. And now my mom says it could be another month! So if youíve been wondering why he hasnít written you, thatís why. But please, please, donít give up on him.

My mom says itís an illness, not an Evil Spell, but I know Iím right. Dads donít stop talking just because theyíre sick. Dads donít forget that their daughters are supposed to get off the bus at 3:05, and they donít sit in the house with the lights out and not answer the doorbell when it rings. Dads, at least my dad, are home every day to meet you and have popcorn and root beer.

I have to get to sleep now, before Mom gets home from work. Sheís usually not this late, but I guess there was a baby rush. Her recordís twelve babies in one night. I think thatís why Iím an only child.


P.S. Thatís not my real name. After all, I donít know YOUR real name yet. And yes, I know Rapunzel didnít have a pea under her mattress. Wrong story. Iíll explain tomorrow. Tomorrow Iíll have LOTS of time to write.

P.P.S. Tell me about you. How long have you been my dadís friend? Where did he meet you? Are you a poet too?

Drawing from my journal

Letters From Rapunzel first appeared as a scribbled book title idea in my journal of June 1997. Much later, in March 2001, as I tried to ease into the rough draft of my first novel, I pretended that Rapunzel was locked in her tower and writing to me. To my surprise, I found out she was not a fairy tale character, but a real girl. A girl with great gifts who didnít know how to use them. A girl who saw everyone in her life as part of a very imaginative story. A girl who desperately wanted to rescue her father, but didnít realize she needed to rescue herself first.

My Books

Stories are real
Military kids + improv
What would you write from YOUR tower?